Friday, August 29, 2008

Word to Your Mother

I get the word of the day from Merriam Webster. I usually glaze over them but this one was particularly awesome. 10 points if you can name someone for whom this adjective describes.

bumptious \BUMP-shus\ adjective
: presumptuously, obtusely, and often noisily self-assertive : obtrusive

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Step One: Gift Registry

Not sure what to get the bride and groom? Check her engagement registry! But one piece of advice - be careful not to confuse the weddings.

That may be very useful for in the case of Tori Spelling, famed for having the network daddy Aaron and her role as Donna on Beverly Hills 90210. I mean its an honest mistake right?

I know I personally was oscillating between a Tiffany's serving platter Tiffany Weave pitcher in Irish Parian bone china.($85) and the Sterling Silver Governor tray($3200). Well I just went ahead and dialed up tiffany's wedding registry (totaling over $18,500) I was was found just a few items still available as of this morning! Whew!

Too bad it was for her first wedding with Charlie. I wonder if we can get a refund.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm..

Ever hear of Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head? Not just a costume for the 1984-esque film but a band name too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Get A Clue...Mr. Body is So Out!

I love the classic game of clue. Summer hours zipped by as the Richer Sleuths (that includes you Aly) would sit around speculating Ms. Scarlett's plot to kill Mr. Body with the wrench in the study while Col. Mustard slipped through the kitchen's secret entrence across the house.

But apparently that test of logic isn't flashy enough for this they released clue on steriods! Introducing Clue...Millennial Edition.

Some noteworthy changes: Ms. Scarlet is now Kasandra, Colonel Mustard is now Jack, Plum is now Victor a billionaire video game designer among others, "There’s no Revolver or Billiard Room this time… but could it have been Scarlet with the Barbell in the Spa? Open up the tabloid-style instructions to get the scoop on the updated rooms, weapons, and guests. A deck of Intrigue Cards adds suspense to your game with cards that can help you solve the crime faster… or result in a second victim! Narrow down which rumors are true and which are just hearsay—and get caught up in the scandal of the century!"

Guilty As Charged: WANMS Unite!

I receive periodic emails from one of the funniest writers I have ever met! As a former GW student who decided to finish her studies in England, Mandy has one of the most realistic set of lenses and I find myself rolling on the floor in fits of laughter.

I have encouraged her to blog for entries as priceless as this: (ps. I have TOTALLY done this on several occasions. Haven't you?)

Washingtonians Against Non-Moving Staircases:
The cardinal rule in the Washington metro area is that when you are on the escalators in the metro stations, you should stand on the right, walk on the left. if you stand on the left, you are either a tourist, or asking to be pushed down the stairs. we who live here are constantly griping about those who stand on the left. it's bad etiquette and it's annoying!
even at rush hour, this most cardinal of cardinal rules is obeyed. the right hand side of the escalator is a solid line of people who stand in place. the left hand side is a moving line as people walk up the escalator.

So yesterday on my way home from work, i disembarked the blue line and proceeded to the stairs. i kept to my right, took two steps down, and stopped. and then i realized i was on an actual set of STAIRS, not an escalator. on STAIRS, it is generally advisable to walk on BOTH sides.:)

Bowl This

Bowling…who doesn’t love a game where form is not necessary, just as long as a) the ball hits the pins at the end of the lane and b) you don’t fall on your ass chasing the ball down the lane.

But there is something to be said for drinking beer by the pitcher over Formica laminated tables and wearing funky shoes whereby the only thing separating you from foot fungus are your trusty sucks (if you remembered them) and the Lysol a teenager sprayed (hopefully) before you slid those suckers on.

Well a few years ago, someone had the brilliant idea (hey bob, I’ve got an idea) to try and glam this ritual up! Let’s make bowling posh! So no more beer for you ….lets charge $10 for a G & T and another $15 for chips and salsa. Then…..we’ll turn the lights down and make you dress in your uncomfortable but fabulous club gear. But you still have to wear the shoes….and this time no socks, because lets be honest….who can really fit those in their clutch.

That’s the idea behind Lucky Strike in Gallery Place. Wow! In addition to the unbelievably lousy service and lounge crowd lacking panache, I’ve gotta say…let’s keep this American pastime where it belongs…in the 1970’s throwback we like to call an ally! (complete with disco balls and beer bellies)

March of Brides

It's the annual pilgrimage of discounted couture...exclusively for brides. Ladies settle in as early as three am in the line that circles the block around Filene's Basement where they will try their fate, hoping to find the perfect designer gown for $99 dollars.

The doors open at 8 am and the madness ensures, dresses ripped off racks to later be used as collateral in size wars and members of bridal teams attempts to trade.

But the reality is that only a handful of brides actually find their dress. Managers offer this advice for future brides looking for a deal, " sleep in, have a cup of coffee with your girlfriends and come to the store around 10 am, after the madness. The dresses are usually all still here, and you won't have to fight the caffeinated mayhem."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Copa Gets Their Grub On

It’s that time again….DC Restaurant week! And who would we be to miss this August (and January) celebration of cheep eats from DC’s top restaurants.

For this week’s gastronomical experience we finally made reservations for the oh-so posh and modern PS 7’s located just blocks form Gallery Place and steps from the Copa fav…Acadiana.

Often restaurants will provide a special pre-fix menu for Restaurant week and PS 7’s followed suit. As much as we try to mix our selections, Katie, Linds and I had almost identical orders this go-around.

I ordered for the appetizer Ale Poached mussels featuring Prince Edward Island mussels with rustic bread, rosemary, ale, and a mustard broth, which turned out to be as generous a buttery helping as the description.

But before the appetizers were simultaneously served, we had not one, but two helpings of the light rosemary and cottage cheese rolls.

By the time my perfectly sautéed sea scallops over golden Yukon potatoes arrived, we had fallen madly in love with our waiter, Maurice aka “Mo.” (“Why settle for less when you can always have Mo.”)

When making our wine selection (from a very short list of overpriced, disappointing offerings) he suggested, “the more you drink, the better I look; by the end of the night I’ll look like Denzel Washington.”

But as if to compensate for the wine list, my beignets (French churro) resting on a chocolate and raspberry jam garnished plate sent me into foodie heaven.

Overall – amazing meal, poor wine, great service, even for a 9pm reservation!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Putting their lives in danger to get the story is what literally catapulted Kimberly Dozier’s body and career into the limelight. While reporting a story in Baghdad about American soldiers working with Iraqi security forces, Dozier and her team and envoy were victims of a car bombing.

Having the opportunity to sit in on an interview between Dozier and my colleague Bill Thompson, I heard her tale first hand.

After reading her book however, I realized just how similar we are. She describes herself as a “workaholic news nerd.” Speaking of her two man team killed in the blast, “They’ve watched me climb my way from radio to affiliate to network TV. No matter what I think I am, to them I’m the former wannabe who is still trying too hard.”

She describes her dangerous work as “hard, dangerous, and often monotonous, the same sad story over and over. Even my own family thinks I’m nuts for spending so much time covering the war. I was first assigned to Iraq because no one else wanted it.”

Her book is an incredibly personal insight into the recovery period that many of our troops are undergoing. Once I started, I couldn't put it down, finishing the book in a few days. What I told Kimberly the second time I met her, was that it was so impressive that although she became the story, she continuously related it to the soldiers who haven't found the words yet to describe their recovery.

She told me many therapists are buying her book for their military patients. Their reactions more often then not are relief that someone else experienced it too.

While undergoing her recovery, doctors were pessimistic. “We don’t know if you’ll ever use that leg properly again.” But through pure defiance and gumption, she, “dubbed him, ‘sad sack’ and in that moment I hated him. His dire prediction made me angry and scared. It would be weeks – actually months- before I’d have any idea whether he was right or whether I could prove him wrong.” Sound like anyone else we know?

In true journalism fashion, “throughout my whole reporting career, I’ve despised the Pollyannas who try to spin me with an overly optimistic line. But just this once I could have used a man wearing those obnoxiously hued rose-colored glasses.”

She describes her co-worker, the way I describe my roommate linds and myself: “We were two independent ass hell women who took orders from on one and were getting more stubborn as we grew older.

I value truth above all else, and to find someone who is not afraid to tell you it the best quality a person can have. “Chris’s lens was a harsh, unforgiving mirror. ‘Your stand-ups are crap.’ I’d never felt uglier in my life. And seldom before or since have had I looked better on camera. He told me all the things that previous producers and managers were too polite to say. But Chris had to work with me every day and he doesn’t suffer fools. And he doesn’t, ‘like his name going on crap.’ So I was used to hearing harsh truths from a man who thinks Hugh Lauries House character is modeled after him…. When Chris left a day or so later, he left me with some things to think about. ‘ You have no business being here,’ he said. ‘Look, this is your second chance. This is the start of your second life. Don’t fuck it up.’”

Other great quotes revealing the true dedication and strong will of Kimberly:

“A few of my CBS colleagues had witnessed my two-decade-long struggle to secure a network TV job in the Middle East. I didn’t intend to let the bombing jettison all that hard work. And as I recovered in New Zealand, I could only reflect on how learning to walk normally again was just about as hard as getting this job had been in the first place.”

“Look around,” said veteran Post correspondent Thomas Lippman. “See these writers? They’re only a decade or so older than you, and they’re not going anywhere.” And the stack of resumes to fill their spots came from writers at the best newspapers in the country.”

“He told me I had to do something to distinguish myself. ‘Go back to school or go overseas,’ Lippman said. I wonder if he even remembers the conversation. I find it indelible because it changed my life. I decided to do everything he recommended: go back to school, get a degree in Islamic affairs, and then go overseas to become a foreign correspondent.”

“Professor David Newsom was once ambassador to Libya, Indonesia, and the Philippines and later served as undersecretary of state for President Jimmy Carter. He’d also been a top journalist, so he knew both sides. He told me, ‘you’d hate diplomacy. You could never keep your mouth shut.’”

“ ‘You want to use this grant to become a foreign correspondent, don’t you? That’s half truth and half beauty right?’ the woman who left the message said. ‘So we’re being true to the spirit of the grant.’ That’s how I ended up in Cairo Egypt with $10,000, two suitcases, no job, and not knowing a single word of Arabic.”

They also knew I needed a lot of improvement to become a top reporter, which I of course, didn’t realize. But as Lippman had predicted, I was a warm body in a place that’s tough to find able help, so I was snatched up.”

After a week or so in Baghdad, Paxson asked me when I wanted to leave, expecting me to say that most correspondents said: After a month.” Four weeks was the standard rotation. I said, “why leave.”

So I guess I’ve come full circle. From all that, I’ve learned a couple things which apply to business. First of all you don’t do this job for the ‘thank you.’ You do it because you think you’re doing the right thing. If you don’t take the risks of telling the unpopular stories or taking the hard route, you are letting the critics win, and you will let people down, which means you just have to get comfortable with risk – to your career and, in extreme cases, to your life.

I’ve realized that because my job is to hold up a mirror to show us our failings, as well as our triumphs, that my message will never be popular. But if I let the critics be my internal compass and keep quiet, I am failing the American people and that voice in my head and heart, which tells me to do what’s right. And last, on a personal note, surviving the psychological slog of reporting in Baghdad is great training for recovering from a car bomb.

Heroes Tour II: Christiane Amanpour

Taking those principles outside US boarders are Christiane Amanpour and Kimberly Dozier. Christiane, chief international correspondent for CNN.

She has access to high level officials but is a consummate reporter, asking the questions that demand to be asked.

Speaking during the Kalb Report at the Press Club last March, “I am committed to this profession because I feel it is a noble one… job is to ask the rigorous questions and show the pictures and to report the facts as we see them.”

Heroes Tour I: Helen Thomas

So this has shaped up to be quite a year! In just the past six months I have been able to meet several of my heroes. As glamorous as that sounds, on all occasions, I find myself completely speechless, with just a few phrases able to tumble off my tongue - including, a meek, “ hhhhhiiiii.” … “great book, “you’re my hero,” and while completely unmemorable to these women these are standout moments for me.

This year’s heroes tour include Helen Thomas, Christian Amanpour, Cokie Roberts, and Kimberly Dozier. Helen Thomas, the remarkable White House correspondent Thomas has covered every president since John F. Kennedy, was the first woman officer of the National Press Club, was the first woman member and president of the White House Correspondents Association, and the first woman member of the Gridiron Club. She has written four books; her latest is called Watchdogs of Democracy?: The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public.

Hardly standing five feet tall, she keeps state leaders in check (and a bit fearful!) While attending a speaking event in Bethesda, she commented on everything from Iraq, “We should get out of Iraq…yesterday. And bring in UN Peacekeepers,” to her role in the WH briefing room as being, “ a ring side seat for history.”

Winning her spot in hero-dom however was her commentary on serving the fourth estate, “ there is too much at stake to throw [the President] softballs.”

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What Happens on the Boat...Stays on the Boat

So many good stories from our little weekend cruise to Nassau but if you want the goods, you have to get the chez triplets on their third mojito. Jen, Katie, and Lindsey safely return from their Bahamian adventure and stopover in Miami. Their trip was full of muster drills, Gios, bright sandy beaches, and plenty of alcohol at the Schooner Bar. Lindsey will be making a DVD of their experience that will hopefully be complete by the end of the summer. (Hopefully) Here are just a few of the photos.

The Tweedles

After you start to spend a considerable amount of time start to look like each other.

On this particular day, the members of a certain unnamed news organization arrived on the scene donning.....uniforms?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Doppelgänger Saga Continues!

We're now friends on the FB! If you all remember the Jon Greenberg's the missing link!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Look familiar?

While Michael Phelps continues to smash through world swimming records at the Olympics in Bejing, I have to ask, haven't we seen this pure hottness before? I submit for evidence, Exhibit A:

"Dancing Queen?" Seriously?

Sometimes it's refreshing to hear a question off-the-beaten track, like "which is your favorite song." Both presidential candidates answers are below.

But I've gotta ask, can we elect someone who's favorite song is "Dancing Queen?" Seriously?

Barack Obama:
  • Fugees - "Ready or Not"
  • Marvin Gaye - "What's Going On"
  • Bruce Springsteen - "I'm on Fire"
  • The Rolling Stones - "Gimme Shelter"
  • Nina Simone - "Sinnerman"
  • Kanye West - "Touch the Sky"
  • Frank Sinatra - "You'd Be So Easy to Love"
  • Aretha Franklin - "Think"
  • U2 - "City of Blinding Lights"
  • - "Yes I Can"

John McCain:
  • ABBA - "Dancing Queen"
  • Roy Orbison - "Blue Bayou"
  • ABBA - "Take a Chance on Me"
  • Merle Haggard - "If We Make it Through December"
  • Dooley Wilson - "As Time Goes By"
  • The Beach Boys - "Good Vibrations"
  • Louis Armstrong - "What a Wonderful World"
  • Frank Sinatra - "I've Got You Under My Skin"
  • Neil Diamond - "Sweet Caroline"
  • The Platters - "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"


The girls and I hit up the Adventure Travel Expo and boy did it have a few surprises.

In addition to the booths highlighting just about every travel destination in the world, they had quite a few demos. A group of scuba schools set up a scuba pool where you can strap on a scuba tank and go swimming right in the middle of the convention center! Next door, the Caribbean vendors were jamming out to their  mini-dance fest complete with costumes. Not going to lie, we were pretty interested in the West Virginian white water rafting booth.

But the pièce de résistance was the West Virginian zip line. Although not as long as the ones we did in Costa Rica, this was a pretty great set-up.

After hitting  up just about every booth, including the Africa photo shoots, Angela, Katie and I hit the crazy line. Weeeeee!

Mr. A to Z

Jason Mraz in the house! While he may be from Va, he is a San Diego staple (he was discovered at our very own Java Joes!)

While I hail from America's finest city, I am now a Va resident! Here's Jason performing here at our studios in DC.

With all the people that we meet coming through the studios, this one was one to write home about. He's sooooo laid back, a refreshing reminder of home!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New York Kind Of Style

The spin doctors are at it again, but these were just too good not to post!

This Just In....

So Tommy and I finally made it over to the relocated, redesigned NEWSeum!

Originally housed at Freedom Park in Roslyn, this homage to the fourth estate has reopened on the mall with it's museum brethren.

Aside from exhibiting history altering headlines and taped first drafts of history, the multi-storied building houses some amazing tangible chunks of time, like a full section of the Berlin Wall. The exhibit that blew me away was the 9-11 display. The museum has one of the radio towers from the trade center's roof.

It sucked the air right out of my lungs as I remember standing next to that same tower while it was posted in its original location. I was in eight grade in New York on our middle school trip to the east coast. My two friends and I had snuck up to the roof to observe the city from it's highest point.

We snapped a couple of 35mm, before hustling back downstairs to blend back into our tour group before our absence was noticed. Now that tower stands indoors, crippled, with a satallite of the worlds headlines posted to the wall from the day it came crashing down.

While I was having my oxygen depleated moment of realization, I looked on as a young teacher tried explaining to her rambunctious field trippers what that tower meant. She was up for the challenge, but the explanation fell hallow on the group, who couldn't have been more than 2 years old at the time.

Fear not, there was fun to be had as well! We both tried our hand at reading the teleprompter too! I reported from the Supreme Court and was just as laughable in April as I was in eighth grade!

Romancing the Stone

In town to release her new book, Send Yourself Roses, Bill Thompson and I made an impromptu visit to the screen siren Kathleen Turner at Border's Books last May. Bill even got an interview for his website!

She is incredibly self-assured, flamboyant and gracious! I can only hope to have such a hold over the crowd as she has when I am fifty!

Monday, August 11, 2008

How Appropriate!

Which Starbucks Drink are you?

I am the "Quad Venti Americano"!

You are a bold, brassy individual who can be slightly intimidating to others. You don't mess around in any area of your life, and your coffee is no exception. When Starbucks introduces the Dark Roast I.V. drip, you'll be first in line. You have no time to mess around with milk, sugar or saccharine flavor syrups - you need your fix and lots of it, NOW!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Reporting Live

How appropriate! Coinciding with the Wahine Report's 100th post is my second report for the BBC! Speaking to the Paris Hilton video reaction to McCain's ad, I am reporting for BBC Radio, Wales out of the nation's capital.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thats Our Simone

A little melodrama for the midweek, we decided to see what the press was buzzing about (see article below.) Our Simone and her stage mates were fabulous, funny, and most importantly, entertaining.

One suggestion for any theater goers, this is not a liner story so take a quick peek at the plot before making your way to the ticket booth. The 4 of us finally cut through the confusion by act 2.

By Nelson Pressley
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, July 16, 2008; Page C12

Seasoned theatergoers can be forgiven for flinching when they hear the title "The Skin of Our Teeth." Start with actors as prehistoric beasts in a weirdly timeless Ice Age and a key character rebelling against the script, then switch to moral failings in Atlantic City and thunderous plunderings from the Bible -- it can be a bit much if ill-handled.

Yet Rorschach Theatre is making a vigorous case for Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer-winning 1942 play in a visually astute, sneakily immediate production at Georgetown University. It's as if director Rahaleh Nassri and her cast see no difficulties, only opportunities as the ramshackle story grapples with the never-ending plight of mankind.

The opening act (of three) calls for high melodrama that veers toward camp, and Jjana Valentiner and Wyckham Avery are ready, backs of hands to their foreheads. Valentiner is Sabina, vampy, flighty maid to the Antrobus family (and the one who keeps snapping out of character at the zaniness and insensitivity of it all). Avery is the dutiful Mrs. Antrobus, and they're both home waiting for Mr. Antrobus to help them figure out what to do about this Ice Age that's descending upon, um, New Jersey.

The writing is cartoonish and chaotic, but Nassri -- who admirably directed Tony Kushner's challenging "A Bright Room Called Day" for Rorschach in 2006 -- coolly controls the heightened style. The actors are winning and even funny, and the Antrobuses' suburban house is rendered as a white scrim upon which large shadows play as people (and creatures) come and go.

Oh, and those spiky white things towering to the side of Robbie Hayes's set: They look rather glacial. But they also look as though they're rigged to suggest another purpose. (Think oil.)

You stop guessing and go with the unexpected flow as the epochs change and Nassri finds good uses for such anachronisms as a juggling Elvis and a lively sample of the 1980s pop tune "Tainted Love." The established conflicts repeat in Act 2: Mr. Antrobus's eye roves toward Sabina, the Antrobuses' son Henry has a penchant for violence -- he answers to "Cain" -- and another crisis is in the wind. This time, it's a storm being monitored with threat levels that will seem all too familiar to post-9/11 audiences.

Not that Nassri makes that link explicit, though the red-white-and-blue palette that dominates much of the act is hard to miss. But the tone keeps shifting, slowly sobering up, so the play seems to march naturally toward something that by Act 3 looks a lot like our own wartime era and isn't a laughing matter at all.

The actors take to this arc, with Valentiner and Avery doing especially dizzy and then pointed work as the women who cope with the crises that keep coming their way. Scott McCormick is a good vainglorious Mr. Antrobus, inventor of the wheel and the alphabet, and Cesar A. Guadamuz handles both the sprightly and psychotic sides of Henry with a fiery eye.

The company seems at home in the plush surroundings of Georgetown's Gonda Theater (a radical change from Rorschach's origins in found spaces) and also with the aesthetic stretch that is "The Skin of Our Teeth." Rorschach has tackled vintage material before, but its main interest is contemporary works; the impressively busy troupe also has a new Jason Grote play running at Georgetown and is readying an original four-part serial to begin this week.

They've blown the dust off this one. As Nassri's gang renders it, Wilder's drama feels like the granddaddy of the edgy material Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has been doing for years, finding loopy ways to goof off and then land hard.