Thursday, December 29, 2005

Of Course, If I Won the Lottery Then I Wouldn't Need the Job

My hour and a half commute is starting to wear on me. I'd like to live just a short walk from my office. Unfortunately real estate in that area has become very expensive. So, I've been buying lottery tickets in hopes of winning enough money to buy a house near my work.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Men Explained

I have frequently heard that boys mature slower than girls. I do not believe this is true. From what I have seen, boys mature to their full potential quickly and then stop. The only difference between men and boys is their size. To illustrate, I will share a scene I witnessed of The Boy's behavior when he was somewhere around 18 months old:

While I was working in the kitchen on a weekend afternoon, the boy was sitting in his toddler-sized chair, at his toddler-sized table enjoying a drink and a snack. He raised his sippy cup full of soy milk (the boy has a severe dairy allergy) to his lips and tiltling his head back he proceeded to drain it without pausing. He then threw the empty sippy cup aside belching loudly without shame before turning to consume his snack.

The only thing that would have made the scene perfect would have been if he had attempted to crush the empty sippy cup on his forehead before casting it aside.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Importance of Messaging

Last Thursday, as I was heading down M street returning to my office from a meeting, I passed a shivering, twentyish man holding a clip board. As I walked by he said, "would you like to help fight global warming?"

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Amtrak Bling Bling

Yesterday morning I rode Amtrak home from Baltimore. One of the staff on the train, a woman, was showing her pride in her employer with an impressive collection of Amtrak accessories. She was wearing a jewel (rhinestone?) encrusted Amtrak choker, a jewel encrusted Amtrak bracelet, a big Amtrak belt buckle, and jewel encrusted letter A earrings.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

International Food Festival

If you've been reading my blog than you know that I like to eat. I've been making the rounds of church bazaars and festivals this fall to try out different ethnic foods. This Sunday, Oct. 30, Foundry United Methodist Church is holding it's International Food Festival to benefit the child development center. The festival runs from 12:30 to 2:00 in the Fellowship Hall. The cost is $12.00 for all you can eat. Food is prepared by the parents of the children enrolled in the child development center who come several different cultures.

Foundry United Methodist Church is located on the corner of 16th and P streets in Northwest Washington, D.C.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

She would make an excellent chair of the Stewardship Committee

Today was pledge Sunday at church. While Rev. Snyder was preaching on the "Principles of Spiritual Giving" the woman sitting next to me, picked-up a pew bible and shared the following chapter and verse, saying "I don't know why they don't just read this during pledge drives":

Acts 4
32 Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles' feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph who was surnamed by the apostles Barnabas (which means, Son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field which belonged to him, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.

Acts 5
1 But a man named Anani'as with his wife Sapphi'ra sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife's knowledge he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles' feet. 3 But Peter said, "Anani'as, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God." 5 When Anani'as heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. 7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much." And she said, "Yes, for so much." 9 But Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Hark, the feet of those that have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and died.

P.S. 7/8/07 For the last year she's also been making an excellent girlfriend.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

They Always Believed Me

Among the jobs I've held in my checkered past is interviewer conducting phone surveys for a political and market research firm. Occasionally as I was reading the introduction over the phone to a randomly dialed subject, the person would ask me, "is this a recording?"

I always answered yes.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Humor for Word Nerds

Earlier this year, I drove by a sign in front of a restaurant in St. Johnsbury, Vermont that read, "Busses Welcome."

I had to resist the urge to stop in just to kiss the host on the cheeks.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Found Food

My father was into found food.

Every Spring when I was growing up in Vermont, he would go out in search of dandelion greens and fiddleheads. Then he'd try to get the rest of the family to eat them with him.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I Shouldn't Go Into Bookstores

On Thursday I took my lunch break to go book shopping. I was looking for a softcover Revised Standard Version Bible to replace the hardcover one that is falling apart and weighing down my briefcase. I carry the Bible in my briefcase to do devotional readings while riding the bus during my morning commute.

I headed first for the Borders on the corner of L and 18th streets. They had plenty of Bibles, but no RSV Bibles, much less in paperback. Next I went to the Olssens on 19th Street and found the same situation. From there I headed to the Books A Million on DuPont Circle. Again, no RSV Bibles. Finally I went to Kramer Books on Connecticut Avenue. They had just one Bible on their shelves, a hardcover King James Version.

Then I spotted a 600 page thick book called Philosophy In The Flesh. I had to have it. I bought it and headed back to work.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

My Big Fat Greek Food Festival

Last Sunday afternoon, some friends and I headed out after church for (pause for dramatic affect) another church, Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church on 16th Street in the District.

Saints Constantine and Helen was holding their annual Greek festival (this year's theme: It's chic to be Greek). There was a small bazaar inside where vendors were selling icons, Greek groceries, and jewelry. Tours of the nave were also available, but clearly the main attraction was the Greek food being served in the courtyard behind the church.

The food was served cafeteria style along an outside wall of the church. There was ample seating under a large canopy and, something that as a protestant I'm not accustomed to seeing at a church event, there was a bar serving beer, wine, and ouzo (I love ouzo).

Going through the cafeteria line, I selected roasted lamb, manestra (orzo in tomato sauce), and a Greek salad. The lamb was served wrapped in tin foil in which it seemed to have been cooked. It was just as succulent as I had hoped it would be. The manestra was was fine, but nothing special. I was also able to sample from my friends' plates sousoukakia (meatballs in tomato sauce), and fasolakia (string beans tomato sauce). Both were excellent. I regretted not ordering those instead of the lamb. Later I had a glass of ouzo. I added a splash of water to it and watched it turn milky white.

Later still, because I like to eat and we were making an afternoon of it, I tried two pastries, a galactobouriko, a custard between two layers of phyllo dough, and a baklava. Both were very good.

After lunch a member of the Saints Constantine and Helen congregation showed us the nave and let us peek into the sanctuary behind the iconostasis.

This seems to be festival season in Washington. The previous weekend I went to the Adams Morgan festival. I had some good food from the vendors there.

This Saturday, September 24, Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church on Alaska Avenue is having a bazaar. I may stop by to see if there is any good food.

Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Massachusetts and 36th streets is having its annual Fall festival from from Friday, September 30 through to Sunday, October 2. I may go to that on Friday.

The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist on 17th and Shepherd streets is having a bazaar on October 1 and 2. I won't be able to go to that one as I will be out of town visiting The Boy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

From the Mouths of Babes

On a Sunday in March two years ago, when The Boy was just two and a half, he and I spent an afternoon together, just the two of us, while The Boy's Mother went to her office to get caught up on work.

We headed first to the Capital Children's Museum that used to be on 3rd street north east. When we got there, The Boy wanted to head first to the Japanese bullet train exhibit. He was excited just to sit in the train seat and watch the video of the bullet train. He pointed excitedly at each train that passed across the screen. From the bullet train exhibit we hit the Metro bus, the fire engine, and then the bubble exhibit.

After we'd hit the highlights of the Children's Museum, we stopped at Union Station to get a snack of french fries from McDonald's. The Boy was very insistent that I share his french fries with him. If my hand was empty he would offer me a fry and say "I share." Sometimes he would eat just one half of a french fry, and then offer me the other half. We were having a pleasant chat when I asked The Boy where he got all of his nice qualities from. "From Mommy," he replied.

We headed from there to The Boy's Mother's office. She took a break when we arrived to get something to eat. While we were sitting and talking, I thougth I would impress her by asking The Boy again, "where did you get all of your nice qualities from?"

The Boy looked straight at me and said to my surprise, "from you."

That wasn't the answer I was expecting, and while The Boy's Mother said that was sweet she hadn't been impressed the way I had hoped. I looked at him again and asked this time, "what did you get from Mommy?"

"I stubborn."

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Because Even Criminals Have Bed Times

Three weeks ago on Sunday evening the Absurdist was at a cookout at a home on Spring Place Northwest in D.C. At about 8:00 as we sat on the front porch enjoying bratwursts and beer, we witnessed a D.C. National Guard Humvee, towing high-powered lights, pull up to the triangle formed by the intersection of Spring Place and Perry Place where Spring takes a turn north.

Three soldiers emerged from the Humvee and erected the lights, which ran off a generator in the trailer at the base of the light pole. As they were setting up they were joined by two D.C. cops who drove up in a MPDC van. The lights were set up to illuminate the entry to the alley behind Perry Place.

As we watched this scene unfold, the discussion turned to speculation about the purpose of this operation. The consensus quickly reached was that this was an effort to discourage drug dealing at that spot, prompted by the community’s complaints to the police.

Once the light was erected and shining on the alleyway, the soldiers and police officers stood around chatting for the next two hours.

At 10:30, the National Guardsmen tore down the lights and drove away.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Grace Happens

The more I learn about Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, the more I admire the man and the more apparent it becomes that his legacy has shaped who I am. John Wesley was both a theologian and a social reformer. You could say that he not only talked the talk, but that he also walked the walk.

One of Wesley’s contributions to theology was the concept of prevenient grace. Now, I don’t know about you, but prevenient isn’t a word that I use every day. It turns out that it means coming before or preceding. Prevenient grace is the love of God that already exists for each of us no matter who we are or what we have done. When we open ourselves to the experience of prevenient grace we are not tempted to sin. Salvation is an experience in the here and now, not just the promise of everlasting life.

Wesley’s concept was in contrast to the teaching of the theologian John Calvin - predominant amongst Protestants at the time - that grace is applied selectively to those whom God has determined to save.

Someone has found a pithy bumper sticker phrase to explain prevenient grace. I’m sure you’ve seen these bumper stickers: the one’s that say “Grace Happens.”

If you think being a Christian is about living by rules, then you’re missing the point. Because grace happens, anyone of us can be saved. You are saved when you allow yourself to be loved by God. You are not saved by getting the theology right. You are not saved by believing in the correct doctrine. You are not saved by belonging to the right church – not even Foundry. You are not saved by reading your bible every day, going to church on Sundays, taking communion, and praying before meals. Although, all those things will help you to feel grace happening.

I am trying to put all the pieces of our religion into their proper perspective. There will always be questions which we cannot answer. God warned us of this in Isaiah 55, verses 8 and 9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

We cannot always know what God wants of us. Christians will always disagree, but we can rest assured that God’s love is there for us when we are ready to accept it. Ours is a faith that is experienced – and the experience is waiting for us.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Are You Sure There is a Shuttle to the Airport?

Last weekend I needed to fly to Manchester, New Hampshire and spend the night. I compared hotels and made a reservation at the cheapest one that offered a courtesy shuttle to and from the airport: the Econo Lodge.

When I arrived at Manchester Airport I walked out of the terminal and found the parking area for the hotel shuttles. I saw neither a shuttle for the Econo Lodge, nor a sign indicating where to wait. So I headed back into the terminal and used the hotel courtesy phone to call Econo Lodge. I was told that it would be a while before the shuttle arrived and to take a taxi and get a receipt to be reimbused by the hotel. That worked just fine for me.

The Econo Lodge is located in one of Manchester's many old mill buildings. When I checked-in I mentioned that I needed to be back at the airport by 8:30 and I asked about getting a shuttle. "No problem," I was told. I headed up to my room.

Econo Lodge fills a very important niche in the hotel industry. It offers reliably clean and comfortable rooms inexpensively. The Econo Lodge's that I have stayed in have been well worn hotels, but that is fine by me.

The continental breakfast the next morning offered coffee, orange juice, cold cereals (Cheerios and Corn Flakes), and plastic wrapped muffins and danishes. Photographs on the wall of the breakfast room revealed that the building had originally been a shoe factory.

Having eaten breakfast and packed I went to check out and asked when to expect the shuttle to the airport. "Eight o'clock" I was told. It was just quarter till. I bought a copy of the New Hampshire Sunday News (a mediocre newspaper with a conservative editorial line) and sat down to read until the shuttle arrived.

Eight o'clock came and went with no sign of the shuttle. I'm a patient person, I just figured it was late. At ten past I asked, "are you sure there is a shuttle coming?"

"The shuttle is running late. I have called a taxi. It is on its way."

Within minutes the taxi arrived and I was delivered to the airport on time. Obviously the hotel didn't reimburse me for the second cab ride.

I doubt very much that the Econo Lodge in Manchester offers a courtesy shuttle. Maybe they once did. I suspect that they do just as they did with me on the occassions that someone actually asks about it.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

However, Yankees Fan is Always an Insult

I have a friend from church who was born and raised in Arkansas. I grew-up in Vermont. When she wants to give me a hard time she calls me a Yankee.

It seems she thinks that is an insult.

Yankee is a word that’s meaning, both who it applies to and the denotation, differs by geography. Outside the U.S. it is used to apply to Americans generally. It is just as often as not used derisively. In the American South, it means anyone from the North and it is always an insult.

For New Englanders, Yankee is used self-referentially and denotes self-reliance and thriftiness. It is sometimes used jokingly to describe older men who hoard things for some possible future usefulness or who go to ridiculous lengths to avoid spending a small amount of money (these traits are actually very common in New England and they are considered charming and amusing).

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Mixed Messages

One of the new Circulator buses passed by me on Seventh Street at Pennsylvania earlier this evening while I was walking to Screen on the Green. The sign on the bus was alternating between "Try Transit" and "Not In Service."

Monday, July 18, 2005

Meat on Sticks

After spending a good hour or so playing at our favorite playground, it was supper time and The Boy and I both had appetites. I listed some options in town for The Boy to choose from, a place to get sandwiches, a place to get hamburgers, or Chinese food. To my surprise and delight, because it was what I was hankering for, he chose Chinese food.

We went to China Star, a store-front restaurant offering over the counter service for eating-in or carrying-out. I read the appetizers off the menu to The Boy so he could choose what he wanted. He selected chicken fingers. I looked over the menu for something else and ordered sweet and sour pork.

When our food arrived I was disappointed to discover that despite one being an appetizer and the other an entree, chicken fingers and sweet and sour pork were very similar dishes. The chicken fingers were long cuts of chicken breast heavily battered and fried with a bowl of bright red sweet and sour sauce on the side for dipping. The sweet and sour pork was small cubes of pork heavily battered and fried and served in a plate of bright red sweet and sour sauce.

The Boy reminded me that we had ordered food for carry-out from China Star last year, but that we had beef teriyaki, which he called, “meat on sticks."

The next evening, after watching the Independence Day parade, I asked the boy again where he wanted to eat supper, and again he chose Chinese food, so we went back to the China Star. This time we ordered meat on sticks, chicken noodle soup, and mixed Chinese vegetables.

The meat on sticks reminded me of an incident from years earlier, in better times, of eating Chinese food with The Boy’s Mother. We had met in college and befriended each other. She had a boyfriend from home, but after they broke-up our mutual attraction became evident to each of us. We made plans to get together over Christmas break our sophomore year in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, halfway between our homes.

We had lunch that day at a Chinese restaurant called Dragon Island, which offered a buffet – as a college student I thought a Chinese buffet would make for a good first date. The Boy’s Mother much later confided in me, that she had never had Chinese food before, so she didn’t know what she would like from the options on the buffet. She followed my lead by selecting from the buffet the same things that I did. I remember when we were eating that she didn’t eat much of her food and she seemed perplexed as to how to go about eating the meat on sticks, attempting first to bite off the meat from the pointy end of the stick, then reconsidering before she stabbed herself.

China Star restaurant is located at 11-15 Main Street in Montpelier, Vermont. It is open seven days per week serving lunch and dinner.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


This photograph shows West Yorkshire police onTempest Road in the Beeston neighborhood of Leeds. The Absurdist and the boy's mother lived on Tempest Road in happier times in 1998 and 1999 when the Absurdist was a post-graduate student at the University of Leeds.

West Yorkshire Police raided two homes in the Beeston neighborhood earlier this week as part of the investigation into the bombings on July 7 in London. Two of the suicide bombers were from Beeston. A third was from nearby Holbeck.

The Absurdist and the boy's mother probably walked by these young men on the sidewalk or watched them play cricket in Cross Flatts Park.

Leeds is a tough city. A place where men drink and fight to pass the time. I witnessed several fist fights on busy city sidewalks and once saw a brawl break-out in a McDonald's.

Beeston was looked down-upon by people in Leeds. It was a densely populated, working-class neighborhood on the edge of the city. It was a mix of older English men and women, junkies, Sikhs and Muslims - with their roots in Kashmir, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The Muslims and Sikhs were the targets of people's derision. Paki's was the slur used in Leeds.

The boy's mother and I made many friends there, the boy's mother in particular. While I was busy with my studies, she was volunteering in the community. She was the guest of honor at several "leaving-dos" when we left.

Despite what the rest of the city may have thought of the immigrant population in Beeston, the different communities in the neighborhood got along. Strong ties have been built amongst them. The Methodist Church where we worshipped was working with the immigrant community to develop an adult day care for elderly immigrants. The boy's mother and I once ate dinner at the Kashmiri Muslim Welfare Association.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Old Schoolyard

The main attraction of the playground at Union Elementary School is the long, green slide built onto the side of a hill. I took the boy there recently for a little recreation. This is the same playground where the Absurdist was routinely picked last for kickball as a child.

It’s long been one of the boy’s favorite playgrounds (long for a four-year-old, that is). He particularly enjoys the long slide. Even as a toddler at 20 months old he would repeatedly run up the steps to go down the twenty-five foot run alone.

On this trip I explained to him that when I was a student at Union Elementary School the big, green slide had not been built yet, but we would slide down the hill in the snow on our butts. No doubt the school built the slide to stop that from happening.

The playground to the side of the school also features a large component play structure by Miracle Recreation Equipment that features three slides including a corkscrew.

Only two items of equipment on the playground date to the Absurdist’s childhood, the swing-sets and a set of parallel bars. Both were once orange but are now green.

There is also a small younger children’s playground behind the school.

Union Elementary School is located at 1 Park Avenue in Montpelier, Vermont.To reach Union Elementary School take Exit 8 off Interstate-89. Continue straight through the first three traffic lights (Route 2). At the third traffic light, turn into the left lane. At the fourth traffic light, turn left onto the bridge (Main Street). You will pass Shaw's Supermarket on the left and Sarducci's Restaurant on the right. Continue straight past City Hall on the right. At the traffic light, turn into the right lane and continue straight past the City Center (a large brick building housing BEN & JERRY'S ICE CREAM). Turn right at the 4-corners onto School Street (you will see churches and the Kellogg Hubbard Library). Continue straight and you will see Union Elementary School ahead of you in a brick building. It is located on the corner of School and Park Streets.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Holy Boldness

Like many people in Washington, I work in politics. I also have a one track mind, so when I was asked to deliver the homily for this evening, the only thing I could think to speak about was politics and faith.

Now, don’t worry; I’m not going to make a plea for Christians to vote for candidates with progressive values. I’ve heard that plea from many others in recent months as I am sure all of you have too. You don’t need to hear it from me.

We have all heard that the nation has become polarized between a secular left on one side and a religious right on the other – in last fall’s election roughly three quarters of evangelical Protestants voted for one candidate while the same rate of Americans with no religious affiliation voted for the other. I don’t know about you, but I don’t belong in either of those groups. The truth is, small as they may be, there are also a religious left and a religious center.

I want to raise a concern that I haven’t heard anyone else address. My concern is not the impact that religion has on the outcome of elections, rather, my concern is about the impact that politics is having on religion in our society. Specifically, I have two concerns: One that the religious center is declining as the place where Americans of all political affiliations can find common ground and two that the non-religious – and those whose faith is not secure – will think that Christianity is an inherently political movement – concerned primarily with the accumulation of power – and that those people will be driven away from our churches rather than being drawn into them.

When I was growing-up in the Methodist church it never occurred to me that there was an inherent connection between religion and party identification. I believed at the time – and I still do believe it was true – that there were both Republicans and Democrats in my church. That is the way it should be. Society needs a place where we can find common ground on values - a place where we can talk about values outside of a political context.

The public discussion should be about how best to address society’s needs. Instead we seem to be moving into an ideological debate. Unfortunately, when we talk about the emergent split, a message is sent about religion that is inherently divisive. The message implicit in the way we talk about religion and politics in society today is that religion divides us. It doesn't have to be that way.

The emergent split of our society along religious and political lines isn’t good for our society and it isn’t good for our churches. This split was engineered for political purposes. It will take determination to reverse the trend.

The good news is that our Methodist tradition offers guidance as to how to respond to this situation. The answer is holy boldness – a favorite phrase of John Wesley’s – we know he used it in at least three of his sermons. Holy Boldness is being a Christian with integrity no matter what the challenges or circumstances. Holy boldness can be understood in terms of walking the walk and talking the talk.

Usually people are criticized for talking the talk without living the life they claim to live – the walking part of the analogy. In the Methodist churches where I have worshipped over the years I have often heard encouragements to do more to walk the walk – always good advice, but in my experience, we do O.K. at walking the walk. We don’t do so much talking the talk. We need to do more

My experience has been that there is a tendency not to speak openly about faith outside of church in our community of Methodists. I think other communities display this tendency, especially other mainline Christians. While I am sure this tendency is born in part out of genuine humility, it has also contributed to making the left and center of Christianity invisible. We need to raise our profile to show wider society that Christianity is more than just the religious right. We need to show that there is a vibrant religious center where people with different political identities and objectives can find common ground.

Learning holy boldness – in both words and deeds – has not come naturally to me. Indeed, I have far to go. I grew-up in a community that treated religion has a private matter. I am learning to be comfortable speaking-up, but I do believe it is important to do so. I do believe that holy boldness includes talking the talk, and that may be our most important contribution to the world right now.

In closing, from now on when I am confronted - either by those from the secular left, who believe that Christians do not truly love humanity, or by those from the religious right, who believe that progressives do not have faith, or even by those in the middle who feel they cannot reconcile their faith with their politics, I will speak up – with holy boldness – and say: “I am a believer. I feel the love of Jesus Christ and a love for humanity and it motivates and informs my actions in the world.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Monday, June 06, 2005

I Can Feel His Beady Little Eyes Staring At Me

The first night The Boy's Mother and I brought him home from the hospital we put him to sleep in a co-sleeper, a kind of bassinet open on one side that was cinched-up to the side of the bed on her side. The Boy was still awake when we put him down to sleep, but he was wrapped tightly in a blanket and was content. We shut-off the light and climbed into bed. Exhausted, I rolled over to go to sleep.

After a couple minutes, The Boy's Mother said, "I can feel his beady little eyes staring at me."

I chuckled. She persisted: "Really. Turn the light on. He's just staring at me."

Being the kind of husband who indulged his wife, I did turn the light on.

Sure enough, the boy was calmly lying there, eyes wide open, staring at his mother.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

You Can Get Knocked-Down Too, You Know

My mother tells this story about her and my father: One day, during her first pregnancy - with my sister - she and Dad were walking along. When they reached the corner Dad stopped, but she continued walking accross the street without looking. Since there was a car coming, Dad grabbed her and pulled her back to the curb, and said "you can get knocked-down too, you know."

Thursday, May 05, 2005

More! More!

When The Boy, his mother and I still lived together our mail was delivered through a mail slot in the front door. The boy was near the door one evening (for reasons that neither make much sense and are too long to go into now, our mail was delivered in the evening - sometimes very late in the evening when it was delivered at all) as the mail started to arrive through the mail slot a few envelopes at a time. The boy put out his hands to catch the mail and shouted: "More! More!"

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Where's my food?

About two years ago my mother, my sister, The Boy, and I went out to dinner at Mr. Chen's on Connecticut Avenue in Woodley Park. We were seated and handed menus. Before the waitress had returned to take our orders, the boy immediately looked around and asked "where's my food?"

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Why would I covet my neighbor's ass?

Exodus 17 - "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's."

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Some Chicks Don't Dig Me

An e-mail from a coworker:

Wow. So what you're saying is that you lied to me? First you weren't going and now you are? Right. You come here and cause a wage gap andthen you LIE?

All of you men are the same: screw up salaries and then lie to us. Whatever. Forget it. I'm gonna become a lez.

Oh wait. I am.

Monday, April 25, 2005


One evening last summer I was driving on Military Road through Rock Creek Park when I stopped at a red light behind another car. A D.C. police car pulled up along side of the car in front of me.

When the light changed the police car's lights went on and it pulled out behind the first car. Once across the intersection he slowed down so that I had to come to a complete stop. I'd have pulled out to go around him, I thought he was pulling over the car in front of me, but a white Cutlass had stopped along side of me blocking me in. With the guard rail on my left there was no place to go.

It was at that moment that my car was illuminated from behind and I realized that there was a second police car back there. We sat there like that just long enough for me to imagine that I would be told to get out of the car and lie face down on the wet asphalt, when the hispanic looking driver of the Cutlass, wearing a football jersey, waved his arm out the window in a forward motion. With a police car in front of me and a police car behind me and hardly enough room between the Cutlass and the car in front to squeeze my car through, I just sat still rather than take a suggestion from a curious bystander.

This seemed to irritate the Cutlass driver who next pulled a police badge out of his jersey and yelled something incomprehensible. Taking the cue that I was about to get into trouble for not being a wanted criminal, I pulled forward and made my way through the space between the Cutlass and the front police car and then went along my way towards home.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A Prairie Home Companion

Last week while the boy was staying with me, my uncle flew-in for a visit. I told the boy that my uncle was visiting from Minnesota, and the boy replied: "Minnesota. I know that show on the radio. I listen to it every Saturday at 7:00."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Anti-Atkins Diet

Regular readers will recall that I recently asked the question "So, what does he eat?" about the boy's diet. I have discovered the answer: he only eats high carbohydrate foods. Since Tuesday morning he's eaten oatmeal, Cheerios, hummous, and french fries. He has refused every offer of meat or green vegetables. He did eat a quantity of pistachios yesterday and some very spicy fried tofu that his father made. Perhaps this is how he is fueling his current growth spurt; he's become a tall, lanky kid. I'm imagining a future NBA player here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Cafe Luna

Cafe Luna is part of a business empire that also include Skewers and Luna Books. It is a quirkily decorated basement level restaurant with a small patio dining area out front. The walls feature paintings and photographs for sale by local artists. I've been there after church or in the evening for one of there half-priced nights on many occassions.

I frequently have an omelette at Cafe Luna. I enjoy omelettes and I've always had good ones there. This past Sunday afternoon I had the omelette special: an omelette with spinach, feta, red bell pepers, and mushrooms. The omelette tasted good despite being overcooked. An omelette should be yellow and it should glisten. Mine had been browned. It came with a thick cut of 7 grain toast and homefries, both of which I also enjoyed. I washed it down with two cups of coffee for which I only paid $1.50.

Cafe Luna offers half-priced pizzas on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, and half-priced pasta on Mondays, and half-priced bottles of wine on Tuesdays. Cafe Luna is located at 1633 P Street next to Steadman Park. It is open seven days per week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Le Bon Cafe

After a little counter-demonstration yesterday afternoon, I headed off for lunch with an intern from my office. We were on Capitol Hill and she suggested Le Bon Cafe on Second street, S.E., a place she discovered while taking breaks from doing research at the Library of Congress.

Le Bon Cafe is a charming little cafe with small, round, marble-top tables, and a simple menu on a chalkboard: soups, sandwhiches, salads, coffees and pastries. I ordered a mushroom and vegetable soup with a half sandwhich: mozzarella, basil, tomato, and pesto. The intern ordered a tuna sandwich that came with a small serving of boiled and seasoned red potatoes.

I sampled her red potatos, they were good, but I declined her offer to try the tuna fish sandwhich. I don't like the taste of canned tuna fish. My soup was a savory puree of mushrooms and broth. My sandwhich was very good; the pesto and basil are strong complementary flavors. I also tasted kosher salt in the sandwhich. My only disapointment is that I was expecting it to be on a ciabatta as described on the menu. Instead it was prepared with, tasty but unexpected, pre-sliced, whole-grain bread.

Le Bon Cafe is located at 210 Second Street, S.E. in Washington, D.C. It is open seven days per week for breakfast and lunch.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

City Cafe

On Saturday afternoon, a good friend and I enjoyed lunch together at City Cafe in Baltimore's Mount Vernon neighborhood. City Cafe is a restaurant and bar in an historical art deco era building complete with the original black and white checkered floor.

Although it was early afternoon, my lunch companion was more in the mood for breakfast. She ordered an omelet with homefries and a Bloody Mary. I went for lunch: a hamburger with french fries and a pint of Yuengling Lager.

All the food was good. I sampled both her omelet and her Bloody Mary. As omelet's go, it was true to form. She highly reccomended the Bloody Mary's at City Cafe. Before I took a sip, she warned me that it was both "chunky and hot." Indeed it was. The dominant flavor was horseradish. The addition of which I assume accounted for the chunks.

I had my hamburger medium rare, which I have only recently come to enjoy. Growing-up, my family eschewed beef for health concerns and I have really only recently learned to enjoy it. For many years I insisted on having it cooked well. I mistrusted the appearence of undercooked meat. As I've recently discovered, cooking beef well cooks out the flavor.

The hamburger came with string fries. I've noticed that most restaurants that serve well-made food will nonetheless serve frozen french fries. I probably wouldn't have ever thought this was strange, but back in December I discovered just how good french fries can be when I ate at DC Coast. I don't know what posessed me to order french fries at DC Coast, but I'm glad I did. They were the best french fries I've ever had. DC Coasts french fries are hand-cut in their kitchen, and they are far-and-away better than any that I've ever had that came out of a bag. I'd love to know how they prepare them so I can make my own.

The pricing at City Cafe struck me as odd. At $9.95 her omelet cost more than my $8.95 hamburger. Otherwise City Cafe serves good food in a pleasant upscale, casual environment.

We ate our meals leisurely, enjoyed good conversation, and we each had a second drink (lagers for both of us on the second round) before heading off to the American Visionary Art Museum.

City Cafe is located at 1001 Cathedral Steet in Baltimore. It is open seven days per week and serves brunch, lunch, and dinner.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Saturday, April 02, 2005

I think you have to be OCD to paint

Looking at a mural at the American Visionary Art Museum that from a distance looked like waves of color, but upon closer inspection was composed of several thousand miniature figures with detailed faces, I commented, "I think you have to be OCD to paint."

"Mm hmm. Yeah."

"Do you paint?"


Friday, April 01, 2005

I don't know whether I'm coming or going

Last night while boarding my second bus on the trip home, I swiped my SmarTrip card, then said to the driver in all seriousness "good morning."

Friday, March 25, 2005

Phoning it in

I call The Boy every evening before I leave work so we can check in with each other and say goodnight. Last weekend The Boy's Mother suggested that I read books to him over the phone. Deciding that was a good idea, I went to the library and took out my old childhood favorites (I'm a big Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak fan) and I've read to him every night this week.

Last night when I called, The Boy's Mother answered the phone and said that The Boy really seems to enjoy listening to me read to him. On speakerphone I heard the boy chime in, "Yeah, it works for me!"

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I don't have a daughter named Amy.

Home alone one day early in my marriage, I answered the phone to a woman's voice on the line who said, without any introduction or salutation: "your wife is having an affair with a man named Tony who works at the Landmark restaurant. If you don't believe me, ask your daughter Amy. She saw them together."


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

It's just as well that I'm already divorced

I have an office with a door that has a double coat hook on the back. Eternal Sunshine works in a cubicle outside my office. She has nowhere to hang her coat. So, she's been hanging it on the back of my door next to my jacket.

On Monday evening as I was preparing to leave work, I grabbed my wool jacket off the hook. As I was putting it on, I noticed that it smelled strongly of a woman's perfume.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Hmm, Turkey

I need to find out how Kosta cooks his turkey.

Reading my own blog had given me a hankering for souvlaki from Greek Deli (see "Souvlaki"). Unfortunately, I arrived after the lunch rush and they were out of lamb. I was offered a souvlaki made with roast turkey (I'm a little unclear on the finer points of Souvlaki - I'm not sure a pita sandwhich can be souvlaki without lamb). All too often turkey is cooked dry. I've tried with some success to roast a moist and flavorful turkey, but the turkey in my souvlaki that day was dripping and tasty. I got over my disapointment about the lamb real fast.

This time there was no doughy taste to the pita.

Is this starting to read like a Greek Deli fan blog?

Oh, well.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

So, what does he eat?

As you may recall, The Boy recently informed me that he does not eat vegetables (see "Kids say the darndest things"). Now his mother informs me that he has stopped eating meat too.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Pat the Butter

Around about the time The Boy was 18 months old he developed a taste for butter (actually it was dairy free margerine - The Boy is deathly allergic to dairy products - but we always called it butter). One day I was buttering toast for the two of us and he was standing next to me at the counter on a stool. He stuck out his hand and said, "put some here!" He was very upset when I said no.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


My plan to review restaurants has been stymied by my habit of eating at only a few places. On Friday I was back at Greek Deli.

Kosta has a flair for the dramatic and a hearty sense of humor. With a line of people patiently waiting their turns for service, Kosta yelled out sternly: "There is plenty of food for everyone! No fighting!" Then he looked out to his customers and smiled, before getting back to serving-up lunches.

I can't seem to get enough of Kosta's succulent lamb, but I decided to try having it a different way this time. I ordered the souvlaki. Kosta's souvlaki is a simple yet tasty interpretation of the Greek standard: a pita spread with tzakiki wrapped around a piece of stewed lamb with lettuce and chunks of ripe tomato and cucumber. The juices from the lamb dripped out as I was eating, making a mess all over my hands. My only disapointment was with two bites toward the middle that tasted doughy. Perhaps the pita was undercooked.

See also Naan and Beyond.

File under Great food; no atmosphere

Monday, February 28, 2005

That's what I do here!

It snowed today.

Snow in the Washington metropolitan area is treated as if it is the first of the ten plagues. At a prediction of snowfall everyone runs to the grocery store to stock-up on milk, eggs, and bread. School is cancelled and everyone plans on having the day off from work.

It snowed intermittently throughout the day and started to accumulate late in the afternoon. So, of course, all the area schools were closed all day. Becuase of the school closings and becuase she had work that had to be finished today, my colleague, Feminist Islamist, arrived at work this morning with her 2 year-old and her 6 year-old.

The problem with having your kids at work is that you have to find ways to keep the kids amused so that you can get some work done. This was a constant struggle today for Feminist Islamist. I actually overheard the following snippet of a conversation:

The 6 year-old said, "you have work to do?"

"Yes, I have work to do! That's what I do here! That's why it's called work!"

Friday, February 25, 2005

Naan and Beyond

Apart from good food, Naan and Beyond has a couple things going for it: a great name and a thin, bald, south Asian man with gold hoop earings who yells every order back to the kitchen (do all good take-outs have someone who yells? see "Greek Deli").

Three of us from work went there for lunch today, heading down L Street to the 1600 block. I ordered a Caeser's salad with tandoori lamb tikka. As Caeser's salads go it was true to form: bite-sized cuts of hearts of romaine lettuce with parmesan cheese tossed in dressing. The chunks of lamb, however, were a little drier than I would have liked.

My colleagues, let's call them Feminist Islamist and Eternal Sunshine (she was the "complainer of the bunch" in "Greek Deli" but she complained about her moniker so I've given her a more positive one here), both ordered the chicken tikka sandwhich, tandoor cooked chicken with chopped cabbage wrapped in naan flat bread. Both reccomended it. Feminist Islamist said it is her favorite meal from Naan and Beyond. She also reccomended the paneer tikka sandwhich and the samosas, particularly the chicken samosas. She always makes sure to get a cup of mango sauce whatever her order.

Naan and Beyond has a few tables inside and a few more outside during good weather. The service is strictly over the counter.

Naan and Beyond is located at 1710 L Street NW in Washington, D.C. next door to Ascot Lounge.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Sledding at your own risk

One of the joys of fatherhood for me has been sharing childhood play with the boy. I spent a recent weekend with him and with the cold weather and some fresh snow we did a lot of sledding.

I don't remember the last time I went sledding. It might have been in high school. It's quite a rush, so I wonder why I haven't been in years.

Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro Vermont has a ski slope with a ski tow. In fact, it is the site of the world's first ski tow, powered off the rear axel of a Model T, or so my father often told me. This is the town where he grew-up. The original ski tow has been replaced with something a little more sophisticated.

One sign as you approach the softball field at the base of the slope informs you that the hill is not groomed for sledding and that you go sledding at your own risk. Another sign tells you that sledders should stay to the left of the line of potted pine trees. It was midday Saturday and there was just one skier out and a mother and her son sledding.

The hill offers a nice long gentle slope that drops off suddenly for a short steeper one before leveling out onto the softball field. The boy preferred to start at the top of the steep slope. I kept encouraging starting further up. Our first run we went down in our seperate orange plastic toboggans. After that we stacked the sleds and went down together. "I always want to go with you, daddy." "And you always can."

We took several runs and had a great time. Then we poked holes in the ice on the softball field for a while to find the grass hidden beneath the ice, before heading off to find lunch.

Living Memorial Park is located on Guilford Street in Brattleboro Vermont. From Interstate 91 take Exit 2 and turn onto Western Avenue (route 9) away from Brattleboro. Turn left onto Guilford Street at the covered bridge (Creamery Bridge). Living Memorial Park is on the right.

See also "Kids say the darndest things."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Kids say the darndest things

About a year and a half ago when the boy was just two, we were in the grocery store together and I suggested he select a box of crackers for his snacks. He chose Ritz crackers. Thinking that I should guide him towards something a little more healthy, I suggested a box of whole wheat Ritz crackers. "How about these instead?" Now, on this box were pictures of crackers with various toppings, amongst them cheese, small pieces of deli meat, and broccoli florets. The boy points at the box and shouts, "No! That one has broccoli in it!"

Coincidentally, the boy recently declared to me at dinner one evening, "I don't eat vegetables."

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Do the baked goods suddenly get fresh again at 6?

Au Bon Pain's baked goods go on sale at 50% off every day at 4:00. Several months ago I developed the habit of visiting Au Bon Pain right after work to buy a couple cookies or a pastry. One day, running late I arrived just after 6:00. The clerk rang-up my purchase. When I saw that I had been charged full price, I asked: "Isn't everything marked down after 4:00?"

"Yes" the clerk replied, "but it is now after 6."

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Greek Deli

One of my intentions for this blog is to write food reviews. My goal is to seek out those rare gems and true bargains among restaurants. Those places where it's all about the food and not about the presentation: take-outs, self-service, fast-food joints, and diners. In essence, places with great food but no atmosphere.

I'd like to pursue this as a quest for the archtypal bargain restaurant. The problem is I'm pretty sure that I've already found it: Greek Deli on 19th Street Northwest between L and M.

I've been eating from Greek Deli for a few years now. Shortly after starting my current job four months ago I began raving about it to my coworkers. Finally, I convinced one of them to go with me. Now she is as hooked as I am. Today four of us headed over there, and brought back lunch for ourselves and one other.

We headed off from the office at noon down L toward 19th. Sure enough the line, as it is every day, was out the door and all the way to the street. The line moves quickly. The wait from the street is probably just fifteen minutes.

Greek Deli is strictly take out. It is a small and cramped place, tucked between Nooshi (formerly Oodles Noodles) and Nooshi take-out. There is just enough room inside for the line and people to pass by on their way out. The food has all been prepared ahead, except for the pita sandwhiches, and it is served to order into styrofoam containers. Once inside, you discover that the line moves quickly because Kosta, the owner and chef is barking "next, next" as he serves-up the orders. A member of his staff operates the cash register.

Back at the office we all dug-in. I'd ordered a Greek salad with lamb on top. If succulent ever described cooked meat, it describes the lamb from Greek Deli. The salad was fresh: lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and peppers topped with plenty of feta cheese. One of my colleagues had also ordered the salad and lamb: "the lamb juices and the salad dressing get mixed-up and it's all yummy."

The third in our group had ordered the lamb platter, which came with orzo, fava beans, a salad and bread. She had also ordered a side of hummous. She reported that everything was good, but what really seemed to make an impression on her was that hummous: "I've never had such good hummus. It had a lemony taste to it."

Another colleague had a chicken pita. The chicken, she said, tasted of olive oil and zatar spices. The complainer of the bunch, she said the chicken pieces were cut a little big and that there was lots of cilantro on the sandwhich. "Usually cilantro on any dish kills the dish for me."

The final member of our group had ordered the Moussaka platter. She said her lunch was "phenomenal." Like me she ate the whole thing. She "took the bread and sopped-up all the oil."

Greek Deli is located at 1120 19th St., NW in Washington, D.C. It is open for breakfast and lunch.

See also "Did you hear the one about the restaurant on the moon?"

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Re: i will have insane sex with the smartest man on this thing - 23

An e-mail in response to a women seeking men posting on Craigslist:

I must like answering questionnaires. I can’t seem to help myself, or maybe it’s because you mentioned insane sex. Here are my answers to your questions:

1- what is a stock? what is a bond? how come there is a recession when there is one? (don't laugh because i KNOW everyone else doesnt know this shit either)

Stocks are shares in the ownership of a corporation. They entitle the owner to a share of the profits. Bonds are promissory notes issued by a government entity or a corporation to raise capital. A recession occurs when the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is shrinking rather than growing. Put another way, a recession occurs when the total value of all goods and services in the country is getting smaller. By the way, there is commonly confusion about the meaning of growth in the stock market. Just because the value of the stock market is growing does not mean the size of the economy is growing. I am not an economist.

2- if you have a map and we have a destination and a car, can you get there? how sure are you of this? whatif it doesn't only involve I-95?

Yes, and I’m absolutely certain. (I keep a lot of maps around. I have a bad habit of memorizing the locations of damn near everything.)

3- are my friends ever cuter than me?

Of course not dear.

4- is there ever a wrong time to have sex?

I haven’t found one yet, but I’m willing to try.

5- TEN books you can recommend off the top of your head to other people

1. Bowling Alone, by Robert Putnam
2. The Mystery of Capital, by Hernando de Soto
3. The Open Society and Its Enemies, by Karl Popper
4. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
5. Imagined Communities, by Benedict Anderson
6. The Legitimation of Power, by David Beetham
7. the mother tongue: english and how it got that way, by Bill Bryson
8. Aiding Democracy Abroad, by Thomas Carothers
9. Catch 22, by Joseph Heller
10. 1984, by George Orwell

6- TEN things that are important world issues

1. War (their causes, not so much how to win them)
2. Poverty
3. Sustainable economic development
4. Human rights
5. Dictatorship
6. International trafficking in human beings (women, children, anyone really)
7. The election of George W. Bush
8. The spread of democracy
10. Terrorism

7- TEN reasons to explain really anything, actually

I’ve found that I don’t ever need a reason to explain really anything, actually.

8- what do all the acronyms stand for? yes all ofthem! in the world! not just scuba because i know that one from three's company too.

All of them? OK, here goes:

AAPC Accounting and Auditing Policy Committee
ABMC American Battle Monuments Commission
ACC Air Combat Command
ACDA United States Arms Control and DisarmamentAgency
ACF Administration for Children and Families
ACHP Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
ACQWeb Office of the Under Secretary of Defense forAcquisition and Technology
ACSL Alternate Crops and Systems Lab
ACYF Administration for Children, Youth, and Families
ADA Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Text ofADA legislation)
ADB Asian Development Bank
ADC Program Against Digital Counterfeiting ofCurrency
ADD Administration on Developmental Disabilities
ADF African Development Foundation
AFDB African Development Bank
AFDC Aid to Families with Dependent Children
AFIS American Forces Information Service
AFRC Air Force Reserve Command
AFRL Air Force Research Laboratory
AFROTC Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps
AFRTS Armed Forces Radio and Television Service
AFS Air Facility Sub-System
AFSC Armed Forces Staff College (replaced by JFSC)
AFSPC Air Force Space Command
AGRICOLA Agricultural OnLine Access
AHCPR Agency for Health Care Policy and Research(changed to AHRQ)
AHPCRC Army High Performance Computing ResearchCenter
AHRQ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
AHS American Housing Survey
AID Agency for International Development
AIRS Aerometric Information Retrieval System (changedto AFS)
AMES Ames LaboratoryAMS Agricultural Marketing Service
Amtrak National Railroad Passenger Corporation
ANA Administration for Native Americans
ANG Air National Guard
ANL Argonne National Laboratory
AOA Administration on Aging
APHIS Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
ARB Administrative Review Board
ARBA Army Review Boards Agency
ARC Appalachian Regional Commission
ARL Army Research Laboratory
ARNet Acquisition Reform Network
ARPA Advanced Research Projects Agency
ARS Agricultural Research Service
ATF Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
ATSDR Agency for Toxic Substances and DiseaseRegistry
BARC Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
BEA Bureau of Economic Analysis
BEP Bureau of Engraving and Printing
BEST Biomonitoring of Environmental Status and Trends
BFRL Building and Fire Research Laboratory
BHPr Bureau of Health Professions
BIA Bureau of Indian Affairs
BIC Business Information Center
BIMAS BioInformatics Molecular Analysis Section
BIS Bureau of Industry and Security
BJA Bureau of Justice Assistance
BJS Bureau of Justice Statistics
BLM Bureau of Land Management
BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics
BMDO Ballistic Missile Defense Organization
BNA Bureau of National Affairs
BOP Federal Bureau of Prisons
BOR Bureau of Reclamation
BPA Bonneville Power Administration
BPD Bureau of the Public Debt
BPHC Bureau of Primary Health Care
BRB Benefits Review Board
BRD Biological Resource Division
BRFSS Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
BSC Business Service Centers
BTS Bureau of Transportation Statistics
BVA Board of Veterans Appeals
BXA Bureau of Export Administration (changed to BIS)
CAGE Commercial and Government Entity
CBD Commerce Business Daily (Changed to FBO)
CBER Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research
CBIAC Chemical and Biological Defense InformationAnalysis Center
CBO Congressional Budget Office
CCC Commodity Credit Corporation
CCB Child Care Bureau
CCR Commission on Civil Rights
CDBG Community Development Block Grants
CDC Centers for Disease Control
CDER Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
CDFI Community Development Financial Institutions
CDRH Center for Devices and Radiological Health
CEA Council of Economic Advisers
CEDR Comprehensive Epidemiologic Data Resource
CEN Bureau of the Census
CEOS Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section
CEPPO Chemical Emergency Preparedness and PreventionOffice
CEPS Center for Earth and Planetary Studies
CEQ Council on Environmental Quality
CERCLIS Comprehensive Environmental Response,Compensation, & Liability Information System
CETEC Topographic Engineering Center
CFDA Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
CFOC Chief Financial Officers Council
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CFSAN National Center for Food Safety and AppliedNutrition
CFTC Commodity Futures Trading Commission
CHAMPVA Civilian Health and Medical Program of theDepartment of Veterans Affairs
CHID Combined Health Information Database
CIA Central Intelligence Agency
CIAO Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office
CIC Consumer Information Center
CID U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command
CIPRIS Coordinated Interagency Partnership RegulatingInternational Students (Changed to SEVIS)
CIS Cancer Information Service
CIT Center for Information Technology
CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
CMHS Center for Mental Health Services
CMS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
CMV Center for Minority Veterans
CNO Chief of Naval Operations
CNPP Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
CNS Corporation for National Service
Conrail Consolidated Rail Corporation
CONSER Cooperative Online Serials
COP Coastal Ocean Program
COPS Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
CPI Consumer Price Index
CPMS Defense Civilian Personnel Management Service
CPO Corrections Program Office (Merged with BJA)
CPSC Consumer Product Safety Commission
CRC Civil Rights Center
CRISP Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects
CRP Conservation Reserve Program
CRS Congressional Research Service; CommunityRelations Service
CSAP Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
CSAT Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
CSB Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board
CSE Office of Child Support Enforcement
CSI Center for the Study of Intelligence
CSR Center for Scientific Review
CSREES Cooperative State Research, Education, andExtension Service
CTEP Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program
CUAP College and University Affiliations Program
CWC Chemical Weapons Convention
DA Department of the Army
DARPA Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
DAU Defense Acquisition University
DCAA Defense Contract Audit Agency
DCRT Division of Computer Research and Technology(replaced by CIT)
DDC Defense Distribution Center
DEA Drug Enforcement Administration
DeCA Defense Commissary Agency
DESA Department of Economic and Social Affairs
DESC Defense Energy Support Center
DFAS Defense Finance and Accounting Service
DHS Department of Homeland Security
DIA Defense Intelligence Agency
DINFOS Defense Information School
DISA Defense Information Systems Agency
DLA Defense Logistics Agency
DLAPS Defense Logistics Agency Publishing System
DLIS Defense Logistics Information Service
DLSA Defense Legal Services Agency
DMA Defense Mapping Agency (replaced by NIMA)
DMDC Defense Manpower Data Center
DMS Defense Mapping School (changed to NGS)
DNFSB Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board
DNSC Defense National Stockpile Center
DOC Department of CommerceDOD Department of Defense
DODEA Department of Defense Education Activity
DoDISS DoD Index of Specifications and Standards
DoDSSP Single Stock Point for Specifications andStandards
DOE Department of Energy
DOI Department of the Interior
DOJ Department of JusticeDOL Department of Labor
DORRA DLA Office of Operations Research and Resource Analysis
DOS Department of State
DOT Department of Transportation
DPC Domestic Policy Council
DPL Denied Persons List
DPMO Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office
DRMS Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service
DSCA Defense Security Cooperation Agency
DSS Defense Security Service
DTIC Defense Technical Information Center
DTRA Defense Threat Reduction Agency
EAR Export Administration Regulations
EBSA Employee Benefits Security Administration
ECA Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
ECAB Employees' Compensation Appeals Board
ECI National Institute on Early Childhood Developmentand Education
ECIE Executive Council on Integrity and Effiency
ECOSOC Economic and Social Council
ECP Emergency Conservation Program
ED Department of Education
EDA Economic Development Administration
EDGAR Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, andRetrieval
EEOC Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
EHP Environmental Health Perspectives
EIA Energy Information Administration
EIS Epidemic Intelligence Service
EM Office of Environmental Management
EML Environmental Measurement Laboratory
ENC Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
EO Executive OrderEOIR Executive Office for Immigration Review
EOUSA Executive Office for United States Attorneys
EOWS Executive Office of Weed and Seed
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
EREN Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network
ERIC Educational Resources Information Center
ERL Environmental Research Laboratories (absorbed byOAR or NOAA Research)
EROD Education Resource Organizations Directory
ERS Economic Research Service
ESA Employment Standards Administration; Economicsand Statistics Administration
ESDIM Environmental Services Data and InformationManagement
ETA Employment and Training Administration
Ex-Im Bank Export-Import Bank of the United States
FAA Federal Aviation Administration
Fannie Mae Federal National Mortgage Association
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization
FAPRS Federal Assistance Programs Retrieval System (replaced by CFDA)
FAR Federal Acquisition Regulation
Farmer Mac Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation
FAS Foreign Agricultural Service
FASAB Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board
FBCI Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation
FBIS Foreign Broadcast Information Service (see WNC)
FCA Farm Credit Administration
FCC Federal Communications Commission
FCIC Federal Consumer Information Center; FederalCrop Insurance Corporation
FDA Food and Drug Administration
FDIC Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
FEB Federal Executive Board
FEC Federal Election Commission
FEDIX Federal Information Exchange Inc. (ceased operation 7/3/02)
FEDRIP Federal Research in Progress Database
FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency
FERC Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Fermilab Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
FETC Federal Energy Technology Center (changed toNETL)
FFB Federal Financing Bank
FHA Federal Housing Administration
FHFB Federal Housing Finance Board
FHWA Federal Highway Administration
FIA Federal Insurance Administration
FINCEN Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
FIPS Federal Information Processing Standard
FJC Federal Judicial Center
FLC Federal Laboratory Consortium
FLETC Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
FLRA Federal Labor Relations Authority
FMC Federal Maritime Commission
FMCS Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
FMLA Family and Medical Leave Act
FMS Financial Management Service
FMSHRC Federal Mine Safety and Health ReviewCommission
FNCS Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services
FNMA Federal National Mortgage Association
FNS Food and Nutrition Service
FOIA Freedom of Information Act
FOMC Federal Open Market Committee
FPDC Federal Procurement Data Center
FR Federal Register
FRA Federal Railroad Administration
FRB Federal Reserve Board
FRS Federal Reserve System; Federal Relay Service
FRTIB Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
FS Forest ServiceFSA Farm Service Agency; Office of Federal Student Aid
FSIS Food Safety and Inspection Service
FSS Federal Supply Service
FTA Federal Transit Administration
FTC Federal Trade Commission
FTS Federal Technology Service
FWS Fish and Wildlife Service
FYSB Family and Youth Services Bureau
GAO General Accounting Office
GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
GCMD Global Change Master Directory
GILS Government Information Locator Service
Ginnie Mae Government National Mortgage Association
GIPSA Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration
GIS Geographic Information Systems
GNIS Geographic Names Information System
GNMA Government National Mortgage Association
GPO Government Printing Office
GPRA Government Performance and Results Act
GPS Global Positioning System
GSA General Services Administration
GSFC Goddard Space Flight Center
GWA Governmentwide Accounting Project Group
GwoB Government Without Boundaries
HAC Health Administration Center
HCFA Health Care Financing Administration (changed toCMS)
HHS Department of Health and Human Services
HIRS Health Information Resources Service
HPCC High Performance Computing and Communications
HRSA Health Resources and Services Administration
HSB Head Start Bureau
HUD Department of Housing and Urban Development
IA Import Administration
IACB Indian Arts and Crafts Board
IADRWG Interagency Alternative Dispute ResolutionWorking Group
IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency
IAEGC Inter-Agency Electronic Grants Committee
IAF Inter-American Foundation
IBB International Broadcasting Bureau
ICAF Industrial College of the Armed Forces
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization
ICC Interstate Commerce Commission
IES Institute of Education Sciences
IHS Indian Health Service
IIP International Information Programs
ILAB Bureau of International Labor Affairs
ILO International Labour Organization
IMF International Monetary Fund
IMLS Institute of Museum and Library Services
INEEL Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory
INF Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces
INL Bureau for International Narcotics and LawEnforcement Affairs
INS Immigration and Naturalization Service
INSS Institute for National Strategic Studies
INTERPOL International Criminal Police Organization
IO Bureau of International Organization Affairs
IOM International Organization for Migration
IRMC Information Resources Management College
IRS Internal Revenue Service
ITA International Trade Administration
ITC United States International Trade Commission
JAG Judge Advocate General
JCS Joint Chiefs of Staff
JEC Joint Economic Committee
JFSC Joint Forces Staff College
JPL Jet Propulsion Laboratory
JSC Johnson Space Center
KAPL Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory
KSC Kennedy Space Center
LANL Los Alamos National Laboratory
LBL Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
LC Library of Congress
LLNL Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
LOC Library of Congress
LOCIS Library of Congress Information System
LSC Legal Services Corporation
MAC Market Access and Compliance
MARAD Maritime Administration
MARVEL Machine Assisted Realization of the Virtual Electronic Library
MBDA Minority Business Development Agency
MCHB Maternal and Child Health Bureau
MCTL Militarily Critical Technologies List
MedPAC Medicare Payment Advisory Commission
MeSH Medical Subject Headings
MIGA Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
MMS Minerals Management Service
MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
MOLIS Minority On-Line Information Service (ceased operation 7/3/02)
MSA Metropolitan Statistical Area
MSEL Materials Science and Engineering Library
MSHA Mine Safety and Health Administration
MSPB Merit Systems Protection Board
NACIC National Counterintelligence Center
NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement
NAICS North American Industry Classification System
NAL National Agricultural Library
NARA National Archives and Records Administration
NARFE National Association of Retired FederalEmployees
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASM National Air and Space Museum
NASS National Agricultural Statistics Service
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
NBAC National Bioethics Advisory Commission (replaced by PCBE; archived at GU)
NBII National Biological Information Infrastructure
NBL New Brunswick Laboratory
NCA National Cemetery Administration
NCBI National Center for Biotechnology Information
NCC National Coordinating Center forTelecommunications
NCCAM National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
NCCDPHP National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
NCCIC National Child Care Information Center
NCD National Council on Disability
NCDC National Climatic Data Center
NCEH National Center for Environmental Health
NCES National Center for Education Statistics
NCHS National Center for Health Statistics
NCHSTP National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention
NCI National Cancer Institute
NCID National Center for Infectious Diseases
NCIPC National Center for Injury Prevention andControl
NCIS Naval Criminal Investigative Service
NCJRS National Criminal Justice Reference Service
NCLIS National Commission on Libraries and Information Science
NCPC National Capital Planning Commission
NCRR National Center for Research Resources
NCS National Communications System
NCTR National Center for Toxicological Research
NCUA National Credit Union Administration
NCVHS National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics
NDIC National Drug Intelligence Center
NDU National Defense University
NEA National Endowment for the Arts
NEC National Economic Council
NEGP National Education Goals Panel (defunct)
NEH National Endowment for the Humanities
NEI National Eye Institute
NEIC National Earthquake Information Center
NERSC National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center
NESDIS National Environmental Satellite, Data, andInformation Service
NETL National Energy Technology Laboratory
NFA National Fire Academy
NGA National Gallery of Art; NationalGeospatial-Intelligence Agency
NGDC National Geophysical Data Center
NGS National Geospatial Intelligence School(reorganized into DGS and SGST)
NHGRI National Human Genome Research Institute
NHI National Highway Institute
NHIC National Health Information Center
NHLBI National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
NHPRC National Historical Publications and RecordsCommission
NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
NIA National Institute on Aging
NIAAA National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
NIAID National Institute of Allergy and InfectiousDiseases
NIAMS National Institute of Arthritis andMusculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
NIC National Institute of Corrections
NICHD National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
NIDA National Institute on Drug Abuse
NIDCD National Institute on Deafness and OtherCommunication Disorders
NIDCR National Institute of Dental and CraniofacialResearch
NIDDK National Institute of Diabetes and Digestiveand Kidney Disease
NIDRR National Institute on Disability andRehabilitation Research
NIEHS National Institute of Environmental HealthSciences
NIFC National Interagency Fire Center
NIFL National Institute for Literacy
NIGC National Indian Gaming Commission
NIGMS National Institute of General Medical Sciences
NIH National Institutes of HealthNIJ National Institute of Justice
NIMA National Imagery and Mapping Agency (replaced byNGA)
NIMH National Institute of Mental Health
NINDS National Institute of Neurological Disordersand Stroke
NINR National Institute of Nursing Research
NIOSH National Institute for Occupational Safety andHealth
NIPA National Income and Product Accounts
NIPC National Infrastructure Protection Center
NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology
NISTIR National Institute of Standards and Technology Interagency Report
NLE National Library of EducationNLM National Library of Medicine
NLRB National Labor Relations Board
NMB National Mediation Board
NMFS National Marine Fisheries Service
NNSA National Nuclear Security Administration
NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NODC National Oceanographic Data Center
NOS National Ocean Service
NPCR National Program of Cancer Registries
NPOESS National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System
NPR National Partnership for Reinventing Government (archived at Univ. of North Texas)
NPS National Park Service
NPTO National Petroleum Technology Office
NR National Register of Historic Places
NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission
NRCS Natural Resources Conservation Service
NRDP National Rural Development Partnership
NREN National Research and Education Network
NREVSS National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System
NRL Naval Research Laboratory
NRO National Reconnaissance Office
NRPC National Railroad Passenger Corporation (AMTRAK)
NSA National Security Agency
NSC National Security Council
NSF National Science Foundation
NSTC National Science and Technology Center
NSTL National Space Technology Laboratories
NTIA National Telecommunications and InformationAdministration
NTIS National Technical Information Service
NTP National Toxicology Program
NTSB National Transportation Safety Board
NVSS National Vital Statistics System
NWC National War College
NWCG National Wildfire Coordinating Group
NWS National Weather Service
NWTRB Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board
OA Office of Administration
OAC Office of Antiboycott Compliance
OACU Office of Animal Care and Use
OAIT Office of American Indian Trust
OALJ Office of Administrative Law Judges
OAR Office of AIDS Research; Office of Oceanic andAtmospheric Research
OAS Organization of American States
OASDI Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and DisabilityInsurance
OAT Office for the Advancement of Telehealth
OBL Office of Business Liaison
OCC Comptroller of the Currency
OCD Office of Community Development
OCE Office of the Chief Economist
OCR Office for Civil Rights (Dept. of Education)
OCRWM Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management
OCS Office of Community Services
OCSE Office of Child Support Enforcement
ODEP Office of Disability Employment Policy
ODP Office of Disease Prevention
OECA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
OECD Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
OEGT Office of Electronic Government and Technology
OELA Office of English Language Acquisition
OERI Office of Educational Research and Improvement (replaced by IES)
OES Bureau of Oceans and International Environmentaland Scientific Affairs
OESE Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
OFA Office of Family Assistance
OFAC Office of Foreign Assets Control
OFCCP Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
OFHEO Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight
OFM Office of Financial Management
OFR Office of the Federal Register
OGE Office of Government Ethics
OGP Office of Governmentwide Policy
OGWDW Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water
OHASIS Office of Health and Safety Information System
OHRP Office for Human Research Protections
OIIA Office of Intergovernmental and InteragencyAffairs
OIG Office of the Inspector General (USDA)
OJJDP Office of Juvenile Justice and DelinquencyPrevention
OJP Office of Justice Programs
OLAW Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare
OLMS Office of Labor Management Standards
OMAO Office of Marine and Aviation Operations
OMAR Office of Medical Applications of Research
OMB Office of Management and Budget
OMH Office of Minority Health
OMHAR Office of Multifamily Housing AssistanceRestructuring
OMM Offshore Minerals Management Program
ONDCP Office of National Drug Control Policy
ONR Office of Naval Research
OPA Office of Population Affairs
OPE Office of Postsecondary Education
OPEC Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
OPHS Office of Public Health and Science
OPIC Overseas Private Investment Corporation
OPM Office of Personnel Management
OPPTS Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances
ORA Office of Research and Applications
ORACBA Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Office of Rare Diseases
ORHP Office of Rural Health Policy
ORI Office of Research Integrity
ORMH Office of Research on Minority Health
ORNL Oak Ridge National Laboratory
ORR Office of Refugee Resettlement
ORWH Office of Research on Women's Health
OSAC Overseas Security Advisory Council
OSBP Office of Small Business Programs
OSC Office of Special Counsel
OSCE Office of Child Support Enforcement
OSDBU Office of Small and Disadvantaged BusinessUtilization
OSERS Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
OSF Office of Space Flight
OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
OSHRC Occupational Safety and Health ReviewCommission
OSM Office of Surface Mining; Office of SpectrumManagement
OST Office of Science and Technology; Office of theSecretary of Transportation
OSTI Office of Scientific and Technical Information
OSTP Office of Science and Technology Policy
OSWER Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
OTA Office of Technology Assessment
OTJ Office of Tribal Justice
OTS Office of Thrift Supervision
OTT Office of Transportation Technologies
OVAE Office of Vocational and Adult Education
OVC Office for Victims of Crime
OWBO Office of Women's Business Ownership
OWCP Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
OWH Office on Women's Health
PAHO Pan American Health Organization
PAM Office of Acquisition and Property Management
PBGC Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
PBS Public Buildings Service
PC Peace Corps
PCBE President's Council on Bioethics
PCC Panama Canal Commission
PCIE President's Council on Integrity and Effiency
PFIAB President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
PHA Public Housing Agency
PHN Center for Population, Health and Nutrition
PHPPO Public Health Practice Program Office
PHPS Public Health Prevention Service
PHS Public Health Service
PHTN Public Health Training Network
PIH Office of Public and Indian Housing
PLLI National Institute on Postsecondary Education,Libraries, and Lifelong Learning
PNNL Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
POW/MP Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel
PPQ Plant Protection and Quarantine
PRC Postal Rate Commission
PRM Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
PSC Program Support Center
PTO Patent and Trademark Office
PUMS Public Use Microdata Samples
PWBA Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration(replaced by EBSA)
RA Reserve Affairs
RBS Rural Business-Cooperative Service
RD Rural Development
RECD Rural Economic & Community Development (replacedby RD)
REE Research, Education and Economics
REIS Regional Economic Information System
RHS Rural Housing Service
RICHS Rural Information Center Health Service
RMA Risk Management Agency
ROTC Reserve Officer Training Corps
RRB Railroad Retirement Board
RSA Rehabilitation Services Administration
RSPA Research and Special Programs Administration
RUS Rural Utilities Service
SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
SAVE Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement
SBA Small Business Administration
SDFS Safe and Drug-Free Schools
SDWIS Safe Drinking Water Information System
SEC Securities and Exchange Commission; SpaceEnvironment Center
SEDAC Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center
SEER Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results
SERC Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
SGLI Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance
SI Smithsonian Institute
SIC Standard Industrial Classification
SIES Office of Strategic Industries & Economic Security
SITES Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
SJI State Justice Institute
SLAC Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
SLSDC Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
SNL Sandia National Laboratories
SRS Savannah River Site
SS Secret Service
SSA Social Security Administration
SSI Supplemental Security Income Program
SSS Selective Service System
START Strategic Arms Reduction Talks
Stat. United States Statutes at Large
STB Surface Transportation Board
STI Scientific and Technical Information
SuDoc Superintendent of Documents
TA Technology Administration
TAA Trade Adjustment Assistance
TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
TASC Transportation Administrative Service Center
TDA Trade and Development Agency
TEOAF Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture
TFF Treasury Forfeiture Fund
TFI Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
TIC Trade Information Center
TRI Toxics Release Inventory
TSA Transportation Security Administration
TSI Transportation Safety Institute
TSO TRICARE Support Office
TSP Thrift Savings Plan
TVA Tennessee Valley Authority
U.N. United Nations
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific andCultural Organization
UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund
UNICOR Federal Prison Industries, Inc.
UPU Universal Postal Union
USA United States Army
USACE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
USAF United States Air Force
USAFA United States Air Force Academy
USAID United States Agency for International Development
USBR Bureau of Reclamation
U.S.C. United States Code
USCCR United States Commission on Civil Rights
USCG United States Coast Guard
USCIRF United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
USCS United States Customs Service
USDA United States Department of Agriculture
USES United States Employment Service
USFA U.S. Fire Administration
USGS United States Geological Survey
USIA United States Information Agency (changed to IIP)
USIP United States Institute of Peace
USITC United States International Trade Commission
USMC United States Marine Corps
USMS United States Marshals Service
USN United States Navy
USNCB United States National Central Bureau of INTERPOL
USPS United States Postal Service (state and street abbreviations)
USPTO United States Patent and Trademark Office
USSC United States Sentencing Commission
USSS United States Secret Service
USTR United States Trade Representative
VA Department of Veterans Affairs
VAWO Violence Against Women Office
VBA Veterans Benefits Administration
VETS Veterans' Employment and Training Service
VGLI Veterans' Group Life Insurance
VHA Veterans Health Administration
VISTA Volunteers in Service to America
VOA Voice of America
WAPA Western Area Power Administration
WB Women's Bureau
WES Waterways Experiment Station
WH Wage and Hour Division
WHMO White House Military Office
WHO World Health Organization
WIC Women, Infants and Children, Special supplemental food program for
WISQARS Web-based Injury Statistics Query andReporting System
WNET Women's Network for Entrepreneurial Training
WSMR White Sands Missile Range
WTO World Trade Organization
ZIP (Code) Zone Improvement Plan

Can you believe I didn't get a date with this woman?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The inauguration

I just received an e-mail that our office will be closed tomorrow because the surrounding streets will all be closed for security reasons due to the inauguration. It seems a hotel on the next block is holding an inaugural ball.

How does the President expect us to oppose his agenda if we have to close our office for one of his parties?

Air show

There's a virtual air show going-on right now over the nation's capitol. I've just watched four fly-overs by fighter jets from my office window. I'm still a little kid about things that go. I get pretty excited about this stuff.

Monday, January 17, 2005

So, what is this Absurdist?

Not, who is this Absurdist?

When I was trying to think of a handle to use for this blog, "The Absurdist" crossed my mind because it reflects my sense of humor: I find humor in the absurdities of life. I thought before I committed myself to the name I should check to see if it is a legitimate word. Searching on"absurdist" at produced the following entry:

ab·surd·ism ( P ) Pronunciation Key (b-sûrdz-m, -zûr-)n.

  1. A philosophy, often translated into art forms, holding that humans exist in a meaningless, irrational universe and that any search for order by them will bring them into direct conflict with this universe: “True absurdism is not less but more real than reality” (John Simon).
  2. An act or instance of the ridiculous: “This strained conceit never quite locates screen equivalents for the stage absurdisms” (Village Voice).

ab·surdist adj. & n.

[Download or Buy Now]Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

At the end of this entry you'll see that the variation "absurdist" is both an adjective and a noun, from which I infer that an absurdist is an adherent of the philosophy of absurdism.

Now, I was a philosophy major in college, and I had never come across absurdism before. I even looked-it-up in my handy desk reference, "The Oxford Companion to Philosophy." It isn't listed, but this view of the universe as inherently absurd appeals to me. I have for several years thought of myself as a pragmatist in the tradition of William James, John Dewey, and Sidney Hook.

I'm reevaluating.

Just where is suburban nowhere, anyway?

In my case, suburban nowhere is Montgomery County, Maryland.

I was at a party in the District sometime early last year, and I was trying to explain to someone just where I live. I was having some difficulty because I live in an unincorporated area and I didn't know what to call it. So I was rattling off the roads you'd take to get to my house, and saying what the landmarks are: a townhouse development and a major strip mall across the way. The fellow interrupts me and says, "so it's sorta suburban nowhere." I just nodded in agreement and said, "yeah, it's suburban nowhere."

"If all your friends jumped off a bridge...

would you do it too?"
-Everybody's mother

Apparently the answer is yes. It seems everyone has a blog. So now I have one too. Plus I firmly believe that "Everyone Is Entitled to My Opinion." (I'd like to take credit for that bit of genius, but actually it is the title of a book by former newsman David Brinkley.)