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ArJewTino

“Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves." -- Marlene Dietrich

So long, Blogger, and thanks for all the fish

Monday, March 05, 2007
“But now we must pick up every piece
Of the life we used to love,
Just to keep ourselves,
At least, enough to carry on.”

-- Neutral Milk Hotel, “Holland, 1945”


The above lyrics might sound a bit too dramatic for some random blogger’s move from Blogger to Wordpress, but I love the song and have been looking for a reason to quote it.

In any case, I am moving to Arjewtino.com. Please update your bookmarks, links, and feeds. I will no longer be posting here.

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Robert DeNiro wouldn’t have tried to screw me

Thursday, March 01, 2007
I took a taxi cab home last night from Adams Morgan. I live in Takoma Park and asked the cabbie to drop me off at the Takoma Metro, located in DC just a few yards shy of the Maryland border. I knew the fare would be problematic after the cabbie, immediately after picking me up, told me I would save time if I took the Metro home.

Yeah, right, that makes sense.

Sure enough, the following conversation took place when we arrived at the Takoma Metro.

Cabbie: That’ll be $13.

Arjewtino: There’s no way that’s $13, I’ve taken a taxi here before and it was $8 or $9.

Cabbie: No, $13. I drove you to Maryland. This is Maryland.

Arjewtino: Where we’re at right now? This is DC.

Cabbie: No, this is Maryland, the border’s Eastern Ave.

Arjewtino: Eastern Ave is further north and the border starts at the church up the street. This is DC.

Cabbie: No, Maryland.

Arjewtino: Trust me, I live here, I know where Maryland is.

Cabbie: I drive you three zones, look at the map.

He took out a map that looked more complicated than a control tower approach diagram.

Arjewtino: How is anyone supposed to make sense of the zone map? No one knows what this means. Besides, looks to me like that’s two zones.

Cabbie: $13.

Arjewtino: You’re just pissed that I asked you to drive me to the Takoma Metro.

Cabbie: Ok, ok, $11.

Arjewtino: All right, I’ll give you $11 and walk into the 7-11 here and ask them if we’re in Maryland or DC. If he says Maryland, I’ll give you a tip.

Cabbie:

I walked into 7-11 and asked the employee if we were standing in a state or a non-voting rights District. He handed me an old receipt with the store’s address. Triumphantly, I walked out with the evidence to find the cabbie had driven away.

So how is anyone supposed to know where the zones start and end? Are we supposed to carry map printouts whenever we need a cab to take us across state line? Should I store the local taxi commission’s phone number in my cell for moments like this? What is one to do other than bitch about it on one’s blog?

Like most of life’s problems, this one was solved by the Internets.

According to this handy zone map, the drive from Adams Morgan to Takoma Metro crosses TWO zones, a fare of $8.80. Not finished there, I searched the DC city site and found a taxi fare calculator. It’s not working today (it’s more of an online abacus) so I can’t show you the calculation, but when I did it last night it determined that my fare should have cost $11.40.

No wonder taxi customers get confused.

I’m not going to go into how meters are better or that the zones are outdated because that’s up to a citizen’s panel to work out with the city. But I will suggest that the next time you go out and plan on taking a taxi home, you might want to take some documentation with you.

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The happiest of hours this Thursday

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Do you have a blog? Have you ever heard of a blog? Is there a blogger you read/stalk? Can you spell blog? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’re invited to this month’s Happy Hour this Thursday at 7pm at The Front Page.

I’ll be hosting along with KassyK, Virgle Kent, and Roosh, all upstanding individuals who will make you feel welcome, recommend a good drink, and may help you file your taxes.

If you’re thinking of reasons to come and just need a push, I’d like to point out the benefits of meeting me. First, I like to brainstorm idioms while drinking rum-and-cokes. Second, I’ll discuss passionately the etymology of the word “donut”. And, third, I’ll probably ask you how you pronounce “cauliflower”.

If my witty happy hour banter isn’t convincing you, let’s see if recent comments on the new Best DC Blog (the trouble-making Woody Woodpecker of the blogosphere) won’t sway you.


Thanks, Barry, your nugget of wisdom has really given me a lot to think about. I only wish all feedback was this illuminating.



Madeline seems to know a lot about my apprenticeship under Roosh, which makes me think she’s vying for one of his coveted summer internships. She’s obviously already got a leg up on the competition, thanks to her observations of other blogs. Too bad Roosh requires at least two (2) writing samples as part of the application.



Gender-assignment errors notwithstanding, this person is revealing that under his intricate rating system of DC blogs, I am currently overvalued. This is pure economics, people, and I appreciate So Not Over’s analysis, even if it does come in the form of a 4:31am online comment. This just shows how busy he must be during the day.



Now this comment hurts. Everyone knows Argentineans are better than Guatemalans, even El Guapo. Seven Years Strong must be a jealous Brazilian.



The list to which Nana refers is this week’s contest on Best DC Blog for Worst DC Blog, a challenge for which I am still in the running (cross your fingers). And while, yes, I am indeed an asshole, I’m not sure how someone named after most people’s grandmother would know that. Very astute, Nana.

There you have it, readers, five more reasons to come to this Thursday’s happy hour and meet me and the rest of the DC blogging “scene”. These happy hours are always fun and, at the very least, you’ll get to see what an asshole I am.

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Chicago was right (the band, not the city)

Monday, February 26, 2007
"Everybody needs a little time away, I heard her say, from each other."
-- Chicago, It's Hard for Me to Say I'm Sorry


After a week off from blogging and blog-related activity, I'm happy to say I'm recharged and ready to bore you with more of my trivial observations and embarrassing moments.

Most talented bloggers, after taking so much time off, would reward his/her loyal readers with a well-written and entertaining recap. I, however, am neither as talented or energetic, so will instead summarize my past week-and-a-half through photos.

The Princess and I had brunch at Z and S's place last weekend and got to hang out with Rayban, a happy baby who's growing faster than the Hulk on steroids. I'm pretty sure he'd beat me in arm-wrestling if he ever took his hand out of his mouth long enough to challenge me.

"You wouldn't like me when I'm angry, Mommy."

Rayban's girlfriend, Mirabella, is a gorgeous baby who likes male attention but shuns it when she gets it. She flirts with Rayban by ignoring him and cries when he touches her. This leaves Rayban confused and helpless. I'm glad he's learning about women early.

Went to see the Awakening in Hains Point with The Princess, my best friend Blue, and his girlfriend BK Broiler. This sculpture is easily my favorite in the entire city even when it's so icy you have to be real careful walking...

...a lesson Blue learned much too late. "Oh no, this is going on your blog!" he cried as I snapped this picture. Yes, it will be, my clumsy friend.




It snowed, in case anyone didn't notice.

Went duckpin bowling with Blue and BK. Some of you may remember my hit-and-run incident last time I was there, but good fortune was still shining on me this time. I beat Blue in overall points (106 average to his 102) but the highlight of the night was betting on whose girlfriend would win the last game.

Naturally, we didn't tell them about the bet but when BK Broiler gutter-balled in the 10th frame, Blue fell out of his chair (like I said, he's pretty clumsy) and got a stern warning from management that he was being cut off after one beer. The Princess came through for me, beating BK 77 to 68 despite a sore ankle.


This past weekend, I went ice skating with a bunch of friends in Pentagon Row. I raced Brewies Chewies from one end of the rink to the other, causing him to fall, smack his head on a friend's ice skate, and ram into the wall. This left a cartoon-sized bump on his head and caused management to call 911. A fire truck and eight paramedics showed up and, to test whether he got a concussion, asked him what date it was. He was off by three days.

Me doing the "shamu" on the ice.

"After all that we've been through, I will make it up to you. I promise you. And after all that's been said and done, you're just a part of me I can't let go." -- Chicago, It's Hard for Me to Say I'm Sorry

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Bring back TV theme tunes

Friday, February 16, 2007
During lunch earlier this week, I brought up the greatness of the classic TV show Knight Rider. My much younger co-worker MJ, much to my vocal dismay, said she had never heard of it.

MJ: “Isn’t the movie coming out soon?”

Arjewtino: “Yes, so you HAVE heard of Knight Rider?”

MJ: “Yeah, it’s the one with Nicolas Cage, right?”

Arjewtino: “No, that’s Ghost Rider.”

MJ: “Ghost Rider? Isn’t that when someone else authors your book?”

After slapping my forehead and briefly considering the confusing effects of “ghost writer” as a homophone, I inevitably started to sing the theme tune to Knight Rider in my head. Then I tried to remember all the great 80s TV show theme tunes and wondered, “Where did the art of ‘theme-tuning’ sitcoms and dramas go?”

My best friend Blue and I, when we were younger, used to challenge each other to remember a TV show based on the humming of its song (yes, we were nerds). All the great tunes –- Doogie Howser, M.D., Perfect Strangers, Golden Girls, A-Team -– were easily remembered and others -– Empty Nest, Voyagers!, Sledge Hammer –- were a bit tougher to recall.

So why don’t modern TV shows create great theme tunes anymore? The answer is, as it usually is, money. By cutting down the introduction segment of a show, networks can run at least one more ad. By axing a theme song altogether, the network can cash in even more.

Theme tunes used to set up a TV show for the viewers, like in Gilligan’s Island or Brady Bunch (which thankfully explained the shows’ complex plots). Nowadays, TV viewers are more savvy and less in need of elucidation. This concurrently allows networks to reap more advertising dollars, but at the expense of creating fun yet vapid songs.

Never again will people hear, “Well, the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum…” and instantly think of a show like Diff’rent Strokes, or get “Making your way in the world today takes everything you got” stuck in their heads and think of Cheers all day long. Seriously, can anyone think of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and NOT start humming, “Now this is a story all about how my life got flip turned upside-down…”

There is a musical hole left in today’s TV shows. Viewers are starving to sing along to a theme tune, and CSI’s The Who songs as well as Law & Order’s “dum-dum” just aren’t cutting it.

If only we could once again sing the intro to Perfect Strangers, like I often do in the shower:

“Sometimes the world looks perfect,
Nothing to rearrange.
Sometimes you get a feeling
Like you need some kind of change.
No matter what the odds are this time,
Nothing's going to stand in my way.
This flame in my heart,
And a long lost friend
Gives every dark street a light at the end.

Standing tall, on the wings of my dream.
Rise and fall, on the wings of my dream.

The rain and thunder
The wind and haze
I'm bound for better days.
It's my life and my dream,
Nothing's going to stop me now.”

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Listening to an IPod finally pays off

Thursday, February 15, 2007
The Washington Post recently took a stab at the Pulitzer Prize by asking DC residents on the street what they were listening to on their IPods. One of the interviewees was Baby Bien, an oft-mentioned “blog character” here. He made it into the paper’s Sunday Source and has graciously allowed to me to post his picture and identity here, thereby revealing himself to the Webosphere.

As a former newspaper reporter, I got used to seeing my name in print, a fact which, despite many journalists’ assertions to the contrary, IS an ego trip. But though the Post has interviewed me a couple of times, once while I was talking with Hizzoner Tony Williams at a Starbucks in Dupont Circle, I have never had my picture in the paper. This is probably a good thing since the ramifications of such exposure would only over inflate my ego to unbearable proportions.

Congrats, Baby Bien, on your newfound fame. I think you should sign up for Date Lab now.

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What happens in Vegas, goes on my blog

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
After a weekend trip to Las Vegas for my friend’s bachelor party, I now believe two things:

(1) There IS a god.

and

(2) He hates me.

Between losing at nearly every game I played, fighting with the bachelor’s friends, and getting told off by strippers, I’m convinced god no longer wants me to go to Vegas. And he wasn’t subtle.

Here is a list of other things in Vegas that hate me:

1. Roulette. Every time I walked by a roulette wheel, at every casino I visited, the electronic display showed a 23. Sometimes more than once, and one time four times in a row. With 23 being The Princess’ birthday and me being superstitious about numbers, I decided that this was the number on which to bet my hard-earned cash. But when I sat down at a wheel, every number BUT 23 came up. I got up and walked to a different wheel, and 23 STILL didn’t come up. I went back to the original wheel, and 23 had come up twice while I was gone. 35-to-1 odds, and every person playing roulette EXCEPT me won. Damn you, 23, you’re dead to me.

2. Strippers. Telling a stripper that, no, you wouldn’t like a lap dance but thank you for the offer is like telling your Jewish mom you don’t want kids. Expect a lot of resentment and cursing.

3. The bachelor’s friends. GoPats once told me the key to a successful bachelor party is being with good people. But it’s kind of hard to have fun in Vegas when your friend’s friends are all dirtbags. One guy, Justin, decided it would be fun to stay up all night playing blackjack. He lost thousands of dollars ($1,800 in back-to-back hands with the dealer getting 21), picked up a couple of hookers, and got kicked out of his room by his roommate. Another one, Murphy, picked a fight with me during an expensive steak dinner ($467 for six people) over how much we should each pay. We nearly “took it outside” before cooling down for the bachelor’s sake.

4. Drunk girls. While walking back to my room at 3am one night, I had to pass three inebriated girls stumbling down the hallway. One of them said, “Let this gentleman walk by.” I turned and joked, “Gentleman? I’m only 31”, only to have them say in unison, “You’re old!”

5. My money. Never before has my money been so eager to leave me. $100 in craps? Gone in 10 minutes. $200 in Blackjack? So long, sucker. My money left my bank account, my wallet, and into the casino’s proverbial hands so quickly, you’d think I slept with its sister. I’ll be eating a lot of Ramen the next few weeks and begging my money to come back to me.

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