Saturday, May 30, 2009

Oh, Its the Local Yellowpages!

Those big blue recycling carts sure are coming in handy. Unwanted stuff thrown on my driveway just gets flipped right in.

Today it was the yellowpages. Some guy in a truck came down the street, flipping unwanted yellowpages down one side of the street - turned around, came back again and did the other side of the street. I saw one of my neighbors stop the truck and flip the yellowpages back into the guy. Wish I had thought of that.

Instead, I get to break in my new recycling can.

I wonder if anyone uses these yellow pages any more. I dont. If I want to know a local merchant, I go to Yelp, or Google maps, or Yahoo. All of which come with reviews of other locals who have patronized those merchants, and what they thought. If I need a plumber, in the yellowpages all I get is ads - but with online Washington Checkbook or Angie's List I get the same information, plus ratings of how satisfied people are with the services. On the back of the Yellowpages is a big ad by local merchant Thirsty Bernies - well here's what your neighbors' say about Thirsty Bernies on Yelp.

For ten years, I have dumped the yellowpages right into recycling. This year, I have a nice blue cart.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Community News - Neighborhood Day - Scratch Day - Potomac Overlook Nature Center - Outdoor Lab - Arlington Sister City - Outdoor Moviews

Neighborhood Day

Think BBQ, moon bounces, book swaps and pulling ivy. Those are just some of the way’s Arlingtonians are celebrating Neighborhood Day on Saturday May 16.

“Neighborhood Day’s goal has always been to help Arlingtonians make connections with neighbors,” said County Board Chairman Barbara Favola. “Each of our neighborhoods is distinctive in its own ways and Neighborhood Day events showcase this individuality.”

Looking for a yard sale? Check out Waycroft-Woodlawn, Ashton Heights and Glencarlyn neighborhoods. Hungry? Try a pancake breakfast in Williamsburg, snacks at Chestnut Hill Park, and finish with a BBQ and Potluck in Arlington Heights. How about helping the environment? Pull invasive plants in Tuckahoe Park or Glencarlyn park. Teens will be getting fit at a soccer tournament in Barcroft while families will be hiking through Long Branch. Or go more urban with a book swap in Clarendon or the Rosslyn Neighborhood Day Party. The list goes on. Check it out at, search Neighborhood Day events.

There’s a new twist to Arlington’s Neighborhood Day. Take someone you meet on Neighborhood Day to the Taste of Arlington, Sunday, May 17 in Ballston. What better way to nurture a new friendship than with food, music and great conversation! Arlington County will be holding a World Café at Taste of Arlington this year. Similar to the very successful café’s held around the County’s Diversity Dialogues, the World Café at Taste of Arlington will be a great way for Arlingtonians to hold a meaningful conversation with someone new. Taste of Arlington is a great location to bring people together to connect, build bridges and have a really good time.

Students are invited to participate in SCRATCH DAY on Saturday, May 16th from 10 am to 1 pm at the Arlington Career Center. Whether or not you have taken a Scratch class, please come and learn about computer programming opportunities for elementary school students, show your games, and have fun with other computer kids in the area! If you wish, you may bring your own laptop, or just come to discuss and observe. The event is sponsored by the One Laptop Per Child Learning Club of DC (XO). The Arlington Career Center is located at 816 S. Walter Reed Dr., Arlington, Virginia, 22204 near Columbia Pike.

Parents will have an unparalleled opportunity to meet and discuss computer technology geared for children with the area's foremost educational technology professionals who specialize in children's computer literacy.

Join us on Sunday, May 17, 1:30-3:30 p.m. for the grand re-opening of
the Potomac Overlook Nature Center in Arlington, VA. The renovated
nature center features the "Energerium" - a new exhibit on energy in
living systems, including human systems. This exhibit examines nature
through the lens of energy, drawing attention to the central role that
energy plays in our lives. The afternoon will also feature tours of
the renovated facility and lots of fun activities for all ages,
including live music, a juggler, games, door prizes and more!

The Energerium offers visitors a fun and accessible way to learn
energy basics as well as ways they can help create sustainable energy
solutions at the individual, community and national levels. Potomac
Overlook will also present energy education programs featuring the
Energerium and hands-on activities (indoors and outdoors). The
program can be geared for audiences from 3rd grade through college.
Teachers and group leaders should call the naturalist staff at Potomac
Overlook at 703-528-5406 to set up a program.

Potomac Overlook Regional Park is located at the end of Marcey Road,
off of Military Road, in north Arlington, VA. Call 703-528-5406 for
directions and other information.


Arlington Outdoor Education Association's Outdoor Lab Activities
Thinking about a fun, free, spring day in the country? The Outdoor Lab is hosting an Open House Saturday, May 16 from 2:00-6:00 p.m. Visit the Outdoor Lab in Fauquier County for a chance to relax, fish, hike, explore the animal lab, admire the new spring foliage, investigate a stream, breathe fresh country air, roast hot dogs and cook s'mores! For directions and more information, visit Call 703-228-7650 if the weather is questionable.

The Outdoor Lab is also gearing up for its 4th annual fundraiser at Whitlow's on Wilson on June 7 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. The evening will include hors d'oevres, a cash bar, silent auction, door prizes and live jazz by Arlington's own Zack Cross Trio. Ticket donations: $30/person, $50/couple. Have a great time while raising money for the Outdoor Lab programs! For more information, contact the WMS Liaison to the Outdoor Lab, Laura Leussing,

Arlington Sister Cities Association Announces Host Family Opportunities
Arlington Sister Cities seeks host families for two students:
a. Academic Year High School Exchange (August - June 2009-10): Fabian Propers is a 16 year old from Aachen, Germany who will spend his junior year at an Arlington High School. He is a swimmer and youth swimming coach and he also likes snow-boarding, cycling and going to the movies. He was a participant in the youth exchange with Aachen and also an exchange to France. After high school, he would like to take a year to travel and then study mechanical engineering.
b. Short term internship: Fatima Kusters is a young adult from Aachen who will be interning with the Arlington Convention and Visitor’s Center from August 8 - September 10. She hopes to enrich her experience interning here by staying with an Arlington family.

For more information on these opportunities, please contact Jennifer Wright,, 703-270-9065.

Outdoor Movies on Monday Nights Starting May 4
Join the Crystal City BID for 21 weeks of Superheros! On Monday nights from May 4, 2009-September 21, 2009, Crystal City will be protected by Batman, Spiderman, Superman, and many others. Each night will also have special giveaways, sponsors, and other activities. For more go to:


Maksed Bandit Update

It is said that criminals always return to the scene of the crime. This guy I think is making a permanent home at the scene of the crime. He looked at me in complete disbelief as I tried to pull up my driveway - "You're not really going to chase me away from this good meal in your trash can, are you?"

Needless to say, he seems to have complete disregard for the presence of the family dogs.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Monkey County Thinks Rlington Got it Rite

I grew up in Monkey County, I knew Monkey County, Monkey County was a friend of mine. Monkey County, you are no Rlington County!
I grew in Monkey County. I use to refer to it as the death-burbs. As a teenager, there was little to do and no way of gettin' there - unless you or a friend had wheels. An exciting friday evening was driving to Monkey Mall to catch a flick in the *brand new* movie theaters and food court. Ug - life as a suburban mall rat. I could take a bus, but they came infrequently and were unreliable. The subway coming into Bethesda did little for me as a kid - there werent no real way of getting to it - and it did not take you anywhere else in Monkey county.

What really amazed me is how surprised and horrified parents would act when some extremely bored kid got drunk and wrapped daddy's car around a telephone pole. duh.

Later I landed in Rlington. Rlington is everything Monkey County wasnt. Or maybe a lot has changed, I dont think so. There is so much to do in Rlington County. And programs for teenagers are excellent. Sports. Community Centers. Local Parks. Ballston Iceplex. Roller Skating at TJ on Saturday nites. Ultimate Frisbee. The Skate Park... on and on (just no youth travel hockey team).

The public transportation system in Rlington followed a completely different path than Monkey County. The Rosslyn - Ballston corridor involves five metro stops which are essentially walking distance from each other. You can take the subway from one side of the County (Ballston) to the other (Crystal City / Airport) - only suburb where that is true. Buses run evern 12 minutes near my house - and I can get just about anywhere else in the county, or to the city, on public transportation. Bike paths are excellent. I have always marveled at how Rlington managed to come to such excellent urban planning.

Well it looks like Monkey County got religion. This Greater Greater Washington post For Montgomery's future, look to Arlington talks about how Monkey County has bought a clue about having a coordidor of subway stops that the community can grow around. Even then, a lot of the comments to that post complain about how it will lengthen trip times. True, but that is because the transportation system assumes you are taking a long trip outta there - instead of assume that the subway system can be a great way of getting around Monkey County.


Strawberry Festival this weekend

Mention Strawberries and only one thing should come to mind:
Ahh, but the strawberries that's... that's where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with... geometric logic... that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox DID exist, and I'd have produced that key if they hadn't of pulled the Caine out of action. I, I, I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow officers...

- Captain Queeg, Caine Mutiny
Paranoid schizophrenia mixed with strawberries; what could be better :-)

Strawberry Festival

On Saturday, June 6th, Bethel Church in Arlington is holding its annual Strawberry Festival. We hope you'll drop by ~ and bring your neighbors and friends ~ to enjoy hot dogs with all the fixings, cool side salads, soda and a traditional “Bethel Strawberry Special.” We’ll also have plenty of other home-made desserts for sale at our Bake Sale Table, and lots of games available to entertain the kids.

A portion of the proceeds from the festival will go to the Arlington branch of the American Red Cross.

We'd appreciate it very much if you would post the attached Strawberry Festival flier for your association members to see, or pass it along to them via email. Also attached is a short write-up for your association newsletter.

Bethel Church is located at 4347 Arlington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203. We're on the Northeast corner of Arlington Blvd & George Mason Dr. Free parking is available in the Red Cross parking lot next door (access to lot off Trenton or Arlington Blvd). Church driveways are reserved for those with special needs. Bethel Church is handicap accessible.

For more information about the event, please call Bethel’s main office at (703) 528-0937, or feel free to call or email me.

Thank you for helping us get the word out about our Strawberry Festival - and we hope to see you there!

Mary Schantz, Bethel Church Outreach Committee


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Followup on Lost Dog Hounds

A Washington Post article on the Lost Dog Hounds. Lost Dog was engaged in a fund raiser to cover the costs of the medical car for the dogs. Apparently the support has been overwhelming and Lost Dog has, I think, raised $13,000!

The article does provide some background on the begged question of why the hunting club did not take care of their own dogs. Cant say I was overly persuaded by the hunting clubs response.

Tip of the hat to Kevin Palmer who reportedly allowed the dogs to escape the fire by tearing a whole in the fence.+

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cant We All Just Get Along - Sharing the Road

Arlington wants us all to get along - share the way.

So I note that the sign to the right says peds always have the right of way on the sidewalk and that bikers must yield. Well, okay. So where is the "on the bike path, the bicycles have the right of way" ?????

Actually, between pedestrians and bikes in Arlington, I almost never have had a problem. The bike paths in Arlington are excellent and I think the peds who use them are usually aware of the etiquette.

Dont get me started on having to navigate through herds of wandering teenage, spring break, tourists on the Mall though. Oye. I see a lot of bikers just avoiding the Mall during spring break time.

But! Can they do one of these for cars?? I had a guy run me off the Road on Lee Hwy a few weeks back. I was crossing Lee Hwy at about Vernon. I had Lights. Hi Vis Jacket. Reflectors.

He turns the corner on Old Domin, up Lee Hwy, guns at me, and then honks when wizzing buy. Too bad for him, the light in front of him was red. When I caught up to him, he stammeringly said "I didnt see you!"

Yeah, right.

In the same way the police set up speed traps, it would be great for the Arlington police, on days when you know there is going to be good bike traffic, to position themselves out of site at problem intersections - and ticket for aggressive driving. There is a LOT of it.


Postal Food Drives, Bah Bug and Hum!!

One of my favorite holiday shows is Olive the Other Reindeer. The villain in the show is the Post Man who complains about all the extra weight he has to carry during the holiday seasons. Christmas, he says, "Bah Bug and Hum!"

Well that's what came to mind when I read that Saturday May 9th is the annual Letter Carriers Food drive - giving all that extra weight to the poor postal people to schlep! In Arlington, the food will apparently go to the Arlington Food Assistance Center. From the AFAC blog
Letter Carrier’s Food Drive - This major foo d drive is Saturday, May 9, 2009. To volunteer, send a note to We need your help that day. Please also spread the word in your neighborhood about this drive!
The demand for food assistance is up, and there are lots of food drive activities. Lend a hand; Lend a Can (of beans or pears or pasta)....