Thursday, September 20, 2007

R.I.P. Washington Post Radio (We hardly knew ye’)

Today the brief experiment known as Washington Post Radio (WTWP AM1500) came to an unceremonious end when The Washington Post severed its relationship with station owner Bonneville communications and the call letters were changed to WWWT (3WT as they like to call it).

The original intent was to have a commercial version of NPR ( NPR on caffeine, someone at the station once called it) using the talent and resources of the Washington Post.

Unfortunately it quickly became apparent that they lacked the resources and reporters to do the kind of long-form reporting for which NPR is celebrated. Hosts would instead have the reporters on who had written whichever story they were discussing at the time and inevitably they would regurgitate (often read outright) the newspaper story itself, leading to the most leaden and stultifying radio imaginable.

Not that I wasn’t a fan and, as a life-long subscriber to the Washington Post, I really wanted it to work. Nonetheless, talented writers did not always make for scintillating radio personalities, Tony Kornheiser being the one exception and the sole bright spot for the radio station.

What Washington Post radio did evolve into during its brief 6 months of life was a station on which reasoned, moderate, and intelligent conversation took place about the issues of the day, entertainment, and technology, often with engaging good humor). What it is being replaced with is the rabid mad-dog right-wing ideologs of the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck, with a liberal bone thrown in in the persons of Stephanie Miller and Randi Rhodes.

What it becomes is a station of all-White talkers, largely from the right. In other words, just another version of everyone else’s talk radio. Where is the diversity? At least Tony Kornheiser’s show and the version replacing him with David Burd while he’s off on his Monday Night Football sabbatical, feature casts of regulars including Black males (Joe Barber, Kevin Stanfield, along with regular contributors David Aldridge and Eugene Robinson, to name a few). These shows will remain on 3WT though there has been no apparent effort for ethnic diversity throughout the rest of the day, and that is a true shame. Like I once noted, the 3WT moniker might as well stand for White talkers cubed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Anti-Iraq War March, 9-15-2007

All Photos (c) 2007 by the Incorrigible Curmudgeon
While I tried to be even-handed in posting these photos, the truth is that the Anti-war protestors outnumbered the Pro-war protestors 50:1.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Can a Brother get a Veggie Burger?!

When I became a vegetarian in 1980, the only restaurant where I could find a veggie burger was T.G.I.Friday. Sadly, T.G.I.Friday stopped carrying veggie burgers on their menu about a year ago.

Fortunately, it is now possible to find veggie burgers at several chain restaurants, national and local (to D.C.): Ruby Tuesday’s is quite good, Houston’s is exceptional, the Hard Times Café’s is very good, and so is Chee’ Burger-Chee’ Burger’s. On the other hand, 5 Guys, Bennigan’s and Applebee’s have no veggie burgers or sandwiches. Note to restaurants: salad on bread does not a veggie sandwich make!

Still, only one national fast food chain has stepped up to the plate in all these years and put a veggie burger on their menu nationally: Burger King with their BK-Veggie, and yes it is a good veggie burger. I’m told McDonalds test-marketed a veggie burger in California and Canada only but it never caught on and it has been discontinued, at least in California.

Actually there is one more national chain with a veggie patty: Subway, although I hesitate to call it fast food. It’s actually quite good, which begs the question: why hasn’t chief competitor Quiznos followed suit? Their veggie sub is just handsful of mushrooms and black-olives, lettuce, onions and tomatoes (with or without cheese) with guacamole slathered on. A salad sub. Blechh!

The best idea I have found is the one encountered at the Sidewalk Café in Venice Beach, California. They have a menu with a variety of sandwiches and burgers named after noted writers. Best of all, each burger is made with the customer’s choice of a beef, turkey, or veggie patty! Why doesn’t every restaurant do this? It should be a no-brainer (for reaching the greatest variety of customers).

This way, the vegetarian doesn’t have to search for some tiny vegetarian ghetto on the menu. They can eat burgers with all the fixings just like everybody else. Only with a veggie patty instead of meat. Genius!

The other thing that blew this veggie away at the Sidewalk cafe was being able to get veggie sausage on my pizza. My spinach pizza with veggie sausage was off the hook! No wonder I love LA!

Sidewalk Cafe, Venice Beach, CA, June 2007

Photo (c) 2007 by the Incorrigible Curmudgeon

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Howard (the real HU) vs. Hampton (the new HU)

Jr. Arlandus Hood, #81, scores Howard touchdown
Omega in the endzone

HU Showtime Marching Band in the stands after half-time

HU Showtime Marching Band in the stands after half-time

Chuck Brown jams with the Howard University Showtime Marching Band

Howard University Showtime Marching Band

Howard University Showtime Marching Band

the Omega section in the stands

Sr. Howard QB Brian Johnson #13 rolls out

Chuck Brown jams with the Howard University Showtime Marching Band

Chuck Brown jams with the Howard University Showtime Marching Band

Howard U. halftime WTF?! moment #1

Howard half-time WTF?! moment #2

Chuck Brown jams with the Howard University Showtime Marching Band

Howard Jr. running back Karlos Whittaker #25 (transfer from the US Naval Academy)

How hot was it? About 95 in the shade!

A Howard band member and the Howard Bison mascot passed out from the heat.

Hampton defender takes sure touchdown away from Howard's Arlandus Hood, #81

Chuck Brown jams with the Howard University Showtime Marching Band

Hampton Institute (okay, University) Marching Band

All photos (c) 2007 by the Incorrigible Curmudgeon

Bottom line, while Howard looked good and played hard and displayed an impressive air-game, final score: Howard: 24, Hampton: 31

Keep Austin Weird, pt. 2

The other day, my daughter and I went to the Austin Grill restaurant in re-vitalized downtown Silver Spring, MD. I was sporting this T-shirt (but with my Obama ’08 button affixed). I had picked it up in Austin, Texas in June during 'Weirdfest.'

Anyway, the greeter person complimented me on the shirt and then our wait-person came over to tell us that the manager had seen it and liked it, too, and that he was offering us a free appetizer because of it. This worked great because my daughter usually only eats the appetizers anyway.

Anyway, just a shout-out of gratitude for our favorite Silver Spring eatery. Great food, great service, the occasional live music, plus a nice, laid-back place to enjoy a beer watching a football game.

Personally, as a lacto-ovo veggie, I like to get their Spinach Quesadillas or their Spinach Enchiladas. Their Vegetable Fajitas are probably a notch above Don Pablo's though all of these type places tend to err on the side of under-cooked veggies in their fajitas (as though vegetarians by definition prefer their veggies 'Bugs Bunny-style': raw and crispy). NOT!

Memo to all restaurants that try to make a token gesture to their vegetarian customers: Vegetarians like HOT food, just like everybody else!

(Anyway, this is my first blog rant. Yes, I do actually feel better, thanks.)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Oprah Winfrey at Howard's Commencement

Oprah getting weepy, 2007 Howard University Commencement
Photo (c) 2007 by the Incorrigible Curmudgeon

Oprah orating, 2007 Howard University Commencement
Photo (c) 2007 by the Incorrigible Curmudgeon

Now that Oprah has come out and endorsed her senator Barack Obama for president, I thought it would be a good time to share two of the photos I took May 12, 2007 when Oprah was the keynote speaker for Howard University's commencement, and of course was honored with an honorary doctorate.

Coincidentally (I think) Sen. Obama will be the keynote speaker for the Howard University Convocation September 28, 2007. Barring any glitches, I plan to be there photographing the good senator (glitches like the over-zealous Howard security guard who threatened to have me arrested while I photographed Oprah--for refusing to kneel down!)