Saturday, January 17, 2009

The View Just Blocks from the White House: If You Haven't Yet, You Probably Won't

Seth Godin asked the other day "when newspapers are gone, what will you miss?"

I'll won't miss the out-of-touchness of the "old" media.

Case in point: yesterday, The New York Times ran a slew of articles on Washington, D.C. in honor, one could say, of the upcoming Inauguration/Revolution, which carried news that was weeks if not months old and tips that were covered on Web sites starting in November 2008.

If you waited until yesterday to investigate the possibilities of being in D.C. this weekend and counted on the Times to guide you, you'd still be sitting at home, wherever you are.

In "Take Patience and Good Shoes" we're told "The 240,000 tickets for the hourlong swearing-in ceremony are long gone" and "Pretty much all of Washington’s 29,000 hotel rooms are booked, not to mention hotels in suburban Maryland and Virginia and even parts of West Virginia."

Thanks for the update, but we knew that weeks ago.

The profile of D.C.'s 9:30 Club - "The District Will Rock: Line Up Early" - was not early enough. A quick trip to the club's Web site yesterday showed that "one of the best nightclubs in the world" (according to the Times) has not a ticket left for everything but one event. And they don't even talk about that event - Saturday night's gigantic gay dance party known as "Blowoff."

So, you'll have to come back some other time to "this place where Bob Dylan, a favorite of the incoming president, has been known to play unannounced shows, where Bob Mould of Hüsker Dü fame occasionally spins records, the kind of joint that will warm up the night before the inauguration with a double bill of, get this, the Beastie Boys and Sheryl Crow."

And finally, The Times sneaks its snooty provinciality into "Plenty of Options for Washington’s Hungry Visitors" noting first that "There are many reasons to make a special trip to the nation’s capital...But, truth be told, restaurants are not exactly on top of the why-to-visit list."

The article then lists a few places to eat. It doesn't mention whether or not reservations are still available, or even whether or not the restaurants will operating at full capacity. Employees all over town who have to work are juggling schedules and some are setting up cots in establishments as the public transportation system will be taxed and roadblocks start on Saturday.

Granted, it's tough to go from the "print" mindset, where you have one chance to get things right, you have limited space and time to make your points, and you treat a publication as an event, to the online world, where change is by-the-moment and anyone can post information as soon as they get it.

But we've been getting our Inaugural info, ever since that night in November when Obama was announced as the next president, from the sites The Times lists at the end of "Take Patience and Good Shoes."

Sorry NYTimes, but you're Days Late as you and the established fourth estate find yourself Dollars Short.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Obamarama - The View Just Blocks from the White House

In my neighborhood just blocks from the White House, the mood is much as it always is. The crowds haven't converged on Dupont Circle (yet), and almost everyone rushes about - because it's freakin' cold outside. Online, however, there's all kinds of stuff going on:

How lame are Inaugural Balls? Roxanne Roberts eviscerates them in her entertaining Washington Post article on tips for surviving the parties. It makes hunting wolverines in Alaska sound like more fun.

This map shows you'll need a ticket to merely stand at a location (the grey areas) where Obama will be the size of an atom. I stood in the grey area for Clinton's second inaugural and was too far away to see anything. Living in DC gives one ample opportunities to achieve Presidential Proximity other than a cold day in January. Places where I've been only feet away from (or in the same room with) a past President: Georgetown Park Mall on Christmas Eve (Clinton), Foundry United Methodist Church (Clinton again), the White House tennis court (Bush senior), the Kennedy Center Honors (Bush-who-is-leaving-and-not-a-moment-too-soon).

What would you do if you were given a ticket to the Inaugural Parade? asks the Freakonomics blog. I'd give it to a student who's traveled hours on end from far away, and then I'd watch the event on television. The parade is just not that exciting.

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson's invocation at the Sunday night Lincoln Memorial event should not be interpreted as "a direct reaction to the Warren criticism," says an Obama source. Americablog responds "Making sure that we all know that this move should in no way be interpreted to suggest that Obama feels our pain is just incredibly dumb."

Where's the free National Symphony concert for those of us who are hopelessly out-of-touch with popular music?

Your Inauguration forecast: Cold.

If you have to be attend (but are ticketless), the key to survival is: seek out the furthest Jumbotron.

Even the President-Elect says You Don't Have to Be There:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Barack Around the Clock

Interesting things I've found through blogs and other places, some about the Inauguration, and some not.

Crash the Inauguration is an interesting idea, but follow their outfit suggestions for watching the parade while standing on Pennsylvania Avenue and you will freeze to death.

The President-Elect ate at Ben's Chili Bowl yesterday with D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. Am I the only person around who thinks the Chili Bowl is overrated? That Fuddrucker's is just as good, for what it is? I'd rather chow down on L'Auriol Plaza's chips and fire-roasted tomato salsa.

Don't Ask Don't Tell could be repealed, reports AmericaBlog.

Nine Broadway shows close in one night, and Hugh "Gaping Void" MacLeod tells us why, in eleven words (and none of them are economy).

If you're sick of the pettiness, bullying*, and stupidity of most television contests, check out the infectious energy, humble sportsmanship, and incredible athleticism of America's Best Dance Crew, which starts its third season Wednesday night at 10pm on MTV.

The Top 50 movie special effects shots are found at Den of Geek! I agree wholeheartedly with numbers 42, 36, 33, 32, 26, 20, and 10. What's missing? All of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and "The transport shuttle crashes, stranding the survivors on the planet" scene from Aliens (while it's obviously back projected, the scale of the shuttle as it careens toward Our Heroes is frightening. Unfortunately, I could not find it online.)

Brazen Careerist deconstructs Tim Ferriss while showing the positive alternatives to his "self-centered, conniving, ethically challenged, cheating," and "fraud[ulent]" ways.

Nowadays, anyone can ski on YouTube (even me, for the first time in 25 years.)
*On a recent episode of Top Chef, Colicchio said to the losing team something along the lines of "if it was up to me, I'd send you all home." Someone from the team should have said "it's not in your power to send us all home, and that kind of bullying statement is way out of line."