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

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



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.


(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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Ask a Late Night Shots member

Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Whenever I need prudent counsel, I turn to the only people in DC who matter: Late Night Shots members. These sages of insight, these tour guides of good judgment, are the Sherpas of our time – only more privileged and with deeper pockets.

For those who don’t know, Late Night Shots is an exclusive social network whose members – most of who I assume are Republican, wannabe-Ivy League, Yankees fans who TOTALLY love their fraternities/sororities – must be invited by an existing member. Collectively, they have been a controversial group, angering Wonkette for their general douchebaggery and drawing Why I Hate DC’s ire for their stance on Take Back the Night.

But, every so often, LNSers show strokes of Solomonic reasoning that go beyond their smug self-satisfaction and lifelong sense of entitlement. They share nuggets of wisdom gathered by a lifetime of struggle (e.g., didn’t get a Lexus for 16th birthday) and personal growth (e.g., accepted to Georgetown thanks to daddy’s connections).

Here are a few questions I had recently. I turned to the LNS Forums for guidance:

Is it ok to keep old love letters and photos from ex-girlfriends?

“Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with a few love letters, maybe some old nail clippings, locks of pubic hair, nothing wrong with that at all.” -- Bob Wiley

“I hang on to all pictures and store them in a box in my closet. That is where they will remain until the day comes when my kid decides to talk sh-t to his old man. Then I’ll bring out the box and show him how awesome I was and tell him stories of my conquests.” -- man law

My girlfriend and I trust each other but share our computers. How do you balance trust with one’s right to privacy?

I don’t use my gf’s computer for that very reason. I trust her to not cheat on me, but I would never trust her to not snoop, and I couldn’t blame her if she did. With that said, if she ever touches my computer, she gets her hands chopped off.” -- bummer

How do I know if I’m drinking too much?

“My life would be horrible without drinking. None of my friends tell me to stop because they are all telling me to drink more. I haven’t ever missed work, but I have definitely thrown up at it.” -- 1

“When I was dating, I (somewhat successfully) tried to keep up the appearance that I wasn’t a raging alcoholic…My advice–don’t be afraid to go through two bottles of wine at dinner” -- Ken Noisewater

“I would rather drink myself into a coma at some dive bar, piss myself, possibly upchuck on my own loins and wake up while it’s still light out and do it again.” -- The Taquito Bandito

How should we handle the Middle East crisis?

“We should do a Berlin airlift of pornography over the Middle East. They should be exposed to the pleasure of banging it out, and seeing T&A in the streets, and at 'Good Guys Rhiyadd'. -- Curtis Lemay

“Why did Jesus put all our oil over there anyway?” -- Aggressive Nutmegger

Thanks, LNS. I look forward to your advice in the future.

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Refashioning the workplace: six style choices on the comeback trail

Monday, February 05, 2007
My new co-worker is a human affront to office fashion.

He mismatches his clothes, likes to wear every garment he owns AT THE SAME TIME, and has managed to scare off frightened interns. I’m not sure if it’s his pinstripe suit/plaid shirt combo, or perhaps his blue bowtie and blue/green argyle vest mishmash, but Burberry (named after his briefcase) is quickly popularizing old vestiges of workplace fashion best left in the graveyard of sartorial past.

I’m no clothing aficionado myself, as evidenced by my awesomely awful $18 thrift store coat, which The Princess would burn in a heartbeat. But Burberry’s wardrobe-challenged style has made me wonder if we shouldn’t bring back at least SOME of these once-common fashion relics.

Below are my top six pieces of men’s clothing I think could – and should -- make a comeback.

1. Tie clips. These things look sharp. Nothing says, “I work in a wind tunnel so I better fasten my tie to my shirt” more than this archaic piece. Tie clips can also be engraved with your fraternity letters, an obvious plus.

2. Suspenders. Who wants to bother with trying to slide your belt through every single pants loop? Try doing it in the morning when you’re rushing out the door. Belts also invite dorky cell phone clips and make matching the exact hue to your shoes a near impossible task. Suspenders, however, allow you to get as fat as you’d like without having to throw away your pants.

3. Ascots. My friend Luddite likes to wear these cravats whenever he’s feeling foppish. Luddite is NOT an English duke or Fred from Scooby-Doo, but if this 35-year-old long-haired metalhead thinks they’re hip, who am I to disagree?

4. Monocles. I have a slight stigmatism that requires me to wear eyeglasses when I drive, despite my left eye’s perfect vision. A perfect solution would be to wear this singular corrective lens AND look good doing so. The Monopoly guy and Mr. Peanut are big fans, and it garnered a following in the stylish lesbian circles of the mid-20th century.

5. Pocketwatches. In a society so taken over by modern technology that people only tell time on their cell phones or digital wristwatches, these timepieces are a perfect way to tell the world, “I know the difference between the big hand and little hand AND I remind you of your grandpa.” Extra plus: I’m pretty sure pocketwatches have the power to allow you to time travel like in Voyagers!, that 80s TV show I loved as a kid.

6. Work-issued ID badge. How do yuppies know WHO you are or WHAT you can do for them in DC unless they see WHERE you work? Or THAT you work? Unless you start pinning your resume to your lapel pin, the best option is wearing your work-issued ID tags out on the town. On your belt, around your neck, it doesn’t matter; just don’t take them off when you leave the office, smart guy. Don’t hold to this rule just during work week happy hours, either. Saturday nights are perfect for demonstrating your fashion expertise.

This is just the start, people. If we can incorporate these wardrobe choices into the workplace, there’s no telling where we might go. Top hats, petticoats, canes? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Lincoln wants to know if I “Got Jesus”

Friday, February 02, 2007
After buying a bag of Guatemalan coffee at Starbucks yesterday (I now have good standing in our work coffee club), the barista gave me back my change, which included this five dollar bill. Though I’m sure no one will see the artist in a gallery anytime soon, he/she made me laugh with the “Got Jesus” balloon.
The writing on the right (sorry, it got cut off while scanning) referenced “Philipians [sic] 4:19”. Philippians? I knew it had to be a Bible citation but I had never heard of that book. Must be New Testament stuff, I thought, or as the Jews call it, “Fiction”.

(To me, it’s all fiction, so I’m an equal opportunity Bible skeptic.)

I looked up Phillipians 4:19 online and found the following line: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

I flipped the bill over to find the artist hadn’t stopped at Lincoln when defacing my Federal Reserve Note. “TRUST GOD”, he had written in big block letters, letting it hover above the Lincoln Memorial. And to the side: “give to the poor!”

I think I’ll give this bill to the guy who plays his trumpet by the L’Enfant Plaza Metro. I don’t believe in god, Jeebus, fate, or monetary chain letters, but when our first gay president tells me to do something, I like to think that I listen.

I am such a vagina

Thursday, February 01, 2007
As I’ve aged, I have learned to edit my speech. But every so often, I’ll have a brain fart and my mouth will independently articulate what I was thinking.

Yesterday, during an all-hands staff meeting, I was joking with some co-workers that I had decided to start my own branch in our organization and that I was naming myself the manager. In a conference room full of colleagues, the following conversation took place.

Arjewtino: I’m starting my own branch. I’m the manager. Anyone who wants to join me must apply.

Co-worker #1: What are you going to call your branch?

Arjewtino: I don’t know yet. Something about tech writing.

Co-worker #1: How about the Technical Writing Information Team?

Arjewtino: TWIT?

-- laughter among staff ensues--

Co-worker #2: I got a better one.

Arjewtino: What is it?

Co-worker #2: Technical Writing Assessment Team.

-- this is where I probably should have said it in my head first --

Arjewtino: TWAT?

I shouldn’t be allowed to speak.