Friday, August 31, 2007

Another one bites the dust...

White House press secretary Tony Snow, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, will step down from his post September 14 and be replaced by deputy press secretary Dana Perino, the White House announced Friday.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Vindication!

And soon we can expect Pink Cashmere Hall of Fine Arts.......keep donating peeps!

Despite falling another slot in the U.S. News & World Report's list of top colleges, GW remains a leader in the financial aid section of the survey - a statistic that administrators seem hesitant to promote.

In the 2008 issue of U.S. News & World Report's top colleges, released in late August, GW's need-based financial aid package was ranked No. 1 in the country - beating out Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Columbia universities.

The list is ordered by the average need-based package per student, which is $33,809 at GW.The ranking comes only several months after GW announced it was the first school to surpass a $50,000 price-tag for tuition, and necessary expenses. Many national media outlets covered the news this year, though few mentioned GW's high financial aid packages.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm Going to Hell With Stephen Lynch...

Stephen Lynch is freaking funny and I just might be going to hell with him, but that's alright...

"Special Olympics"


"D & D"

Sometimes I wish I were a dog

Helmsley will: $12M trust for dog, nothing for 2 grandkids

NEW YORK (AP) -- Leona Helmsley's dog will continue to live an opulent life, and then be buried alongside her in a mausoleum. But two of Helmsley's grandchildren got nothing from the late luxury hotelier and real estate billionaire's estate.

Helmsley left her beloved white Maltese, named Trouble, a $12 million trust fund, according to her will, which was made public Tuesday in surrogate court. She also left millions for her brother, Alvin Rosenthal, who was named to care for Trouble in her absence, as well as two of four grandchildren from her late son Jay Panzirer -- so long as they visit their father's grave site once each calendar year.


Otherwise, she wrote, neither will get a penny of the $5 million she left for each of them. Helmsley left nothing to two of Jay Panzirer's other children -- Craig and Meegan Panzirer -- for "reasons that are known to them," she wrote. But no one made out better than Trouble, who once appeared in ads for the Helmsley Hotels, and lived up to her name by biting a housekeeper.
"I direct that when my dog, Trouble, dies, her remains shall be buried next to my remains in the Helmsley mausoleum," Helmsley wrote in her will.

The mausoleum, she ordered, must be "washed or steam-cleaned at least once a year." She left behind $3 million for the upkeep of her final resting place in Westchester County, where she is buried with her husband, Harry Helmsley. She also left her chauffeur, Nicholas Celea, $100,000. She ordered that cash from sales of the Helmsley's residences and belongings, reported to be worth billions, be sold and that the money be given to the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Her longtime spokesman, Howard Rubenstein, had no comment.


Helmsley died earlier this month at her Connecticut home. She became known as a symbol of 1980s greed and earned the nickname "the Queen of Mean" after her 1988 indictment and subsequent conviction for tax evasion. One employee had quoted her as snarling, "Only the little people pay taxes."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wow, Those are Some Rad Moves!

I'm not sure if any of you are familiar with the awesomely funny TV show on CBS called "How I Met Your Mother" but the following clip is a top reason why you should. Just to give you some background, the singer (Robin Sparkles) is a younger version of "your mother" who happened to have been an 80s Canadian pop star. This is the music video for her hit song, "Let's Go to the Mall"... enjoy!

Auf Wiedersehen

Mark your calender...Heidi Klum, model, host/judge, and executive producer of Project Runway, has revealed via her website that Season Four of Project Runway will hit the airwaves on November 14th.

Can't wait!

Stick That In Your Pot and Fry It!

Strasik this one's for you!

DALLAS (AP) - The entries in this year's Big Tex Choice Awards could entice State Fair visitors back to the deep fryer for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

There are Deep Fried Lattes for a morning jump-start, plus fried chili pie, fried guacamole, and a range of crispy desserts including Fried Cookie Dough.

The third annual Big Tex Choice Awards contest on Labor Day tests the fair grub ingenuity of State Fair of Texas concessionaires. Past Big Tex awards have offered nonfried options, but none of this year's seven entries escaped the fryer.

``I think they're good products,'' said Ron Black, the fair's senior vice president of food service and novelties. ``We've got experienced concessionaires, and their products all taste really good.''

Michael Levy will debut his family's new Deep Fried Latte, which is a fried pastry topped with cappuccino ice cream, caramel sauce, whipped cream and instant coffee powder.

``We have gained about 10 pounds trying this. I'm not kidding,'' Levy said. ``I've probably eaten 300 of these trying to get it right.''

Concessionaire Allan Weiss is offering up Zesty Fried Guacamole Bites, a variation on the Fried Avocados he created last year. The bites are a scoop of guacamole, breaded, fried and served with ranch dressings or salsa.

``The Fried Avocado went over so well, and I think people like guacamole even more than they like avocado,'' Weiss said.

Gigi White invented Country Pride Peach Cobbler on a Stick, which is a peach cobbler with dumplings rolled in pastry dough and fried, and then covered in brown sugar and cinnamon and skewered. It's this year's only entry on a stick.

``I'm a food engineer,'' White said. ``You really got to work it.''

The other entries include Fernie's Fried Chili Frito Burrito, Mama's Fried Sweet Potato Pie and B.W.'s Original Fried Banana Pudding.

``I'm not sure we have another Fried Coke,'' Black said, referring to the smash hit of last year's State Fair. The dish has been imitated at fairs across the country.

Able Gonzales Jr., the creator of Fried Coke, conceded he may never invent an equal.

``I don't think I be able to beat that type of excitement again,'' said Gonzales, the chef behind this year's Fried Cookie Dough. ``That was crazy.''

Sound Familiar? Bzzzzzzzzzzzz!

So I have newly become obsessed with a web series called "We Need Girlfriends" about three recent college graduates who have all just broken up (aka: were dumped) from long term relationships. The show is absolutely hysterical and makes a lot of pop culture and movie references that are really funny. Now I would normally just send you all a link to the series and not care whether you watched any episodes or not, but while I was watching episode 6 I could not stop laughing. Everything they did sounds a lot like us... including the BZZZZZZZZZZZ!

Since this was a "previously on..." episode I'll give you all the essential info you need to follow along:
  • "Squirrel" is a reference from Bring it On and it refers to a girl (aka: "Don't scam on my squirrel!"
  • In the previous episode Henry (short w/ glasses) spent 8 straight hours watching Three's Company and when giving Tom (taller guy going on date) advise said that the best dates were when hijinks and comedy ensued... he then proceeded to handcuff himself to their third roommate Rod (with the facial hair who is totally "Delta")
  • You really don't need to know anything else...

Monday, August 27, 2007

You Know You Go to "The" GWU If...

I remember when this list first came out... it was funny then and it's funny now. The list was originally hosted on the SEAS student homepage server, however since the student who created it has since graduated (yeah class of 2006!) I believe they have taken down his site. Lucky for me and all you Copa fans out there, Google likes to cache pages and store information on their fantastic servers and so I was still able to procure the treasures within that since 404'ed page.


You know you go to GW if...
Updated on 5 November 2004


- You drank on election day by playing the Hatchet's drinking game.

-You had at least 3 friends go into a manic-depression when Bush was re-elected.

- You get housekeeping in your dorms. Money.

- Fire alarms going off bring the fire department, UPD, Metro PD, the secret service, the FBI, CIA...

- You wear your collar up because it's the only way that sorority girls will talk to you.

- You know who Manouche is, and you always ask for GW Sauce on your 2 AM hot dog although you have no clue what it is.

- Classes are cancelled for fear of flurries (or) IMF/World bank riots.

- When girls dress down they wear their abercrombie outfits.

- Georgetown sucks.

- You can't leave your dorm without seeing someone with starbucks in one hand, a cell phone in the other, a hat loosely and crooked one their head, and pastel-colored polo collar popped.

- Anything but a 3-day weekend is sub-par.

- The only thing better than spirit fingers at a basketball game - is spirit fisting.

- George W. Bush interrupts lectures when his motorcade drives by.

- You're too good for shoddy beer like Beast (Miluakee's Best) or Natty Light.

- You know what song plays every day at 12:15 PM and 6:00 PM, and you know that it's not a real bell tower but a loud speaker.

- No matter what political party you affiliate yourself with, you hate those damn La Rouche supporting fuckers in front of Philips hall that interrupt daily life. Someone needs to blow up their little shit-on-wheels car with loudspeakers, please.

- You've hooked up with someone in the second most sexually active dorm in the country.

- You speak of the engineering majors as "those people."

- 40% of your peers don't eat pork.

- You wear North Face, but you don't know why the brand is named North Face. (FYI - the worst weather is on the north face of most mountains)

- Your daddy pays for your tuition and your BMW or Lexus.

- You can recognize Burberry from a mile away - and know if its genuine or not.

- You've been drunk at the Lincoln monument at 2 AM at least twice this semester.

- You're a liberal that a damn opinion about everything, even if you really don't know or don't care. Wait, that's not just GW, that's the USA.

- Georgetown sucks.

- The housing situation you're in is totally inadequate for your needs even though you have your own bathroom, a full kitchen, and a living room, and it's the nicest thing you'll live in for the next 10 years of your life.

- You admire the bravery of the Air Force ROTC kids because Afro-TC is near Florida Avenue.

- The University's President bought a bronze cast hippopotamus while drunk, and it's now a monument in world's most powerful city.

- The biggest gathering ever of students on campus was a riot on H street after the Sox won the World Series.

- Delt leaving the University was like a perpetual Saturday night vacancy in your schedule, until Lambda Chi bought the house and started up the parties again. Too bad people still call it Delt Late-Nite.

- The Nixon scandals were observed from your dorm.

- People actually care about Student Association elections at your school.

- The University Police Department becomes Big Brother on the weekends.

- You've studied for finals at any of the national monuments.

- There's no alcohol or drug problem at your school. They're both very easy to come by.

- Your mascots suck. A Colonial? A Hippo? Sedate me...

- You know people who have never seen cows, or are afraid of the outdoors in general.

- James Carville has passed you on the way to class.

- A hurricane cancels two days of classes, so you break out the football, sunblock, and beer and head outside.

- 90% of the idiots here don't have to try in school, because they're not technical majors.

- John Ashcroft is rushed to GW's hospital because Georgetown's isn't secular.

- You love when spring rolls around because the girls immediately sport their expensive flashy clothing, but you also realize that many of them never went to Hel-Wel during the winter months.

- The sports team you're on does workouts on the exorcist stairs.

- Your college is the only one where liberal protestors disrespect ROTC students - they don't realize that these are the same people that will one day be defending to their death your right to protest. (I had to make the point.)

- If you're from West of the Mississippi, you're considered "West Coast" even if your state is nowhere near the Pacific.

- You have at least 3 people on your buddy list whose screen names end in 2020 or 2024 because it'll be the year they can finally run for President.

- You get angry when Marine 1 flies overhead and interrupts your daily siesta.

- You've been called by friends asking if protestors in town can crash at your place.

- You discover and celebrate Jewish holidays you never knew existed, whether you're Jewish or not.

- Any close family friend or relative has introduced you as a "Georgetown student."

- You've made a bet on either the Iowa caucus or New Hampshire primary.

- Did I mention that Georgetown sucks?

- You have a puddle outside of your dorm that ends up as a lake by the end of the semester.

- You've seen "Old Man Schenley" sunbathing while wearing only a cycling cap and short-shorts (he's actually former US Olympic Cyclist Joe Bieber).

- The former head of CIA told you that you're brave for attending your school because you'd be "totally screwed" if terrorists ever bring in a suitcase nuke.

- You've finished a six-pack on the metro.

- Freshman Orientation has a "beware of the Metro's Green Line" seminar.

- You go to the same barber as Ben Stein, and you've seen Bob Dole buy Viagra at the Watergate CVS.

- A primary concern when picking dorms is which monument you can see out your windows.

- People you know have missed flights because they didn't know DC had 3 airports, and none are actually in DC.

- The student center at your school has the only bowling alley in the city, aside from the White House.

- Your school has its own Department of Homeland Security and Color-coded alert system.

- You've gone trick-or-treating at the embassies.

- A girl you know is totally heartbroken because she found out her boy crush is gay.

- H Street is just one huge crosswalk to you.

- You brag that you ran to another state and back for a workout, even though it's less than a mile away.

- You have no clue if DC is in the North or the South.

- Colonial Inaguration is to Freshman Orientation as Community Facilitator is to Resident Advisor.

- Your school owns the land the World Bank sits on.

- City Hall - rated the 4th nicest dorm in the country - is your backup choice for housing next semester.

- Your school colors are based on the Continental Army.

- The acronyms "JAP" and "WASP" will forever be written in your vocabulary.

- You've run into friends while working at your internship, either at the White House or in Congress.

- You've had Foggy Bottom Ale, and you know that it is not brewed in D.C.

- People talk about going to their 8AM class at Mount Vernon like mountain climbers talk about going up Everest.

- You've paused a DVD to catch a glimpse of your dorm. (Forest Gump, Enemy of the State, etc.)

- The State of the Union is an excuse to play drinking games.

- There are 34 Starbucks within 2 miles of campus and 62 within 5 miles. (I was told this is true, but I can't back it up...)

- You have a friend that bought on iPod on their meal plan.

- The great idea you had to study on Gelman's 6th floor couches didn't help productivity when you woke up 4 hours later.

- As a freshman you have 5 roommates, but you still don't mind paying $40,000 a year to live in a bunked bed.

- TGIF's - Where Friday will come around, but you're still waiting for your food.

- Every park bench and trash can has a written reminder of which university you're at.

- You have the second most frequented Starbucks in the country.

- Getting drunk at school doesn't result in fist fights, rather, political debates.

- You've ever been walking on the Quad at night and get whacked by a frisbee.

- You applied to Georgetown, but just had a bad interview.

- You applied to American, were offered scholarsips, begged to go there, and still turned them down for GW.

- You've ever urinated on a National Monument or other U.S. Government property.

- Seeing a gorilla at a basketball game doesn't scare you.

- You know that Pops is not just a cereal.

- Only engineering majors get free printing, though they never have to write papers.

- The bum outside of Foggy Bottom Grocery could definitely do a convincing rendition of a Barry White record.

- Girls shower and put on make up before going to the gym.

- Hanging out with freshman during the summer is considered the best job on campus.

- The grocery store is still known as "provisions."

- More of the students at your school have been to Israel than to California.

- There's a waiting list and a line to use a treadmill at the gym, but the treadmill never breaks a "light jog."

- You know it's time to leave for class when there's a red light on 23rd street.

- The girls wear [ugly] sunglasses in the rain and [arctic] boots in the summer.

- You can differentiate between GW preppy kids from asshole G-town preppy kids, even though they're wearing the same shade of pink.

- You thought excessive drinking made your stomach hurt, but it turns out it was actually the Pizza Italia.

- Your school builds a 700+ person dorm next to - and 8 stories above - an old man's townhouse, but HE'S the asshole.

- Snow make-up days: where ever monday is a wednesday, every tuesday is a monday, and all you want to know is when to stop studying and start drinking.

- Even though CNN's Crossfire is filmed on campus, Jon Stewart is still the #1 source for honest reporting.

- You consciously avoid hooking up with kids from Thurston's 4th and 6th's floors because of the Gonorrhea outbreak, but the 5th floor is fair game and the girls on 8 are super-hot.

- Aramark could only wish to be the little engine that could.

- You snicker when you're reminded that DuPont Circle was named after a Rear Admiral.

- Some schools have homecoming. We just have Inaugural day - a party so big it only happens every 4 years.

- GW's unpaid student interns are the largest source of slave labor still in the U.S.

- Commencement is on the White House's back yard, bitches.

- Tom Ridge convinced your mom to send you duct tape and plastic sheeting as a care-package.

- You never watched the show K Street, you just went to work.

- You make everyone call it THE George Washington University

- A few years down the road, New Hall will become "SJT Hall."

- You know they exist, but you've never actually seen a GW Law Student.

- Girls wear those ugly, pastel colored, velvet pajama pants - and no matter how hot the girl is - it makes her ass look gross.

A Farewell to Arms

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned today... too bad.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Resigns

By Howard Schneider
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 27, 2007; 1:00 PM

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales announced his resignation today, ending a controversial cabinet tenure that included clashes with Congress over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys and over the use of warrantless wiretaps in the war on terror.

The first Hispanic to hold the job, Gonzales will step down on Sept. 17. In a brief statement, he called his 13 years in public service a "remarkable journey," but he gave no explanation about why he chose to resign now after resisting months of pressure to quit.

In a brief statement from an airport tarmac in Waco, Tex., President Bush praised Gonzales as "a man of integrity, decency and principle." The president also asserted that his attorney general had been unfairly maligned.

"It's sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons," Bush said.

A senior administration official said that Gonzales called Bush Friday to inform him of his decision to step down. The president invited Gonzales and his wife, Rebecca, to lunch Sunday at his Prairie Chapel, Tex. ranch. There, Gonzales formalized his resignation with a letter to Bush.

Bush said he had appointed Solicitor General Paul Clement to serve as acting attorney general after Gonzales steps down.

The official would not speculate on a long-term replacement for Gonzales, although the official urged caution about the possible selection of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "If you nominate Chertoff, then you have two confirmation hearings on your hands," the official said. Gonzales took no questions from the press as he announced his plans, but he said that even his "worst days" as attorney general were "better than my father's best days" as a migrant worker in Texas.

"I have lived the American dream," said Gonzales, 52.

His resignation marks the loss of another Bush loyalist at a time when the president's support in public opinion polls has been lagging and amid a fight with Congress over the future of Iraq war policy. Although Bush consistently expressed confidence in Gonzales, arguing that his longtime Texas ally was being targeted by Democrats for political reasons, the attorney general's support in Congress had withered after a series of run-ins.

His testimony on issues such as a federal wiretap program required follow-up explanations and was contradicted by documents or the statements of other federal officials. At hearings on the U.S. attorney firings, Gonzales frequently said he could not remember details about key events -- frustrating members of Congress who felt he was trying to minimize his role in what they regarded as politically motivated dismissals. Some suggested that the nation's top law enforcement official had committed perjury.

"Alberto Gonzales was never the right man for this job. He lacked independence, he lacked judgment, and he lacked the spine to say no to Karl Rove," said Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), referring to the belief among many Democrats that political strategist Rove engineered the ouster of the U.S. attorneys to make room for appointees more loyal to Bush.

"This resignation is not the end of the story. Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House."

The departure leaves Bush with a key cabinet opening nearing the end of his second term. As controversy around Gonzales mounted, so has speculation about possible replacements. Among the names mentioned by lawmakers and their aides in recent weeks: Chertoff, White House Homeland Security aide Frances Townsend and former deputy attorney general Larry Thompson.

Chertoff was previously an assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's criminal division during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and was later appointed to a federal circuit appeals court. He was confirmed by the Senate to the bench and as Secretary of the Department Homeland Security in 2005, factors cited by supporters for his nomination.

But naming Chertoff would mean replacing him at Homeland Security, prompting two simultaneous confirmation battles and Senate scrutiny of homeland security and justice issues.

Chertoff has been accused of bungling the government response to Hurricane Katrina, whose second anniversary is this week. Democratic contenders for the 2008 presidential nomination and congressional leaders are expected to cite the lapses this week.

But Chertoff's stock rose among moderates in both parties during Congress's bruising battle over immigration, in which Chertoff served as a key administration spokesman and negotiator.

Gonzales came to Washington in 2001 to serve as Bush's first White House counsel, touted as an American success story. The son of migrant workers in San Antonio, he attended the Air Force Academy and studied law at Harvard, joining Bush's Texas gubernatorial staff as general counsel and eventually being appointed to the Texas Supreme Court.

But his nomination as attorney general -- the first Hispanic to hold the job -- was clouded from the start. In the White House, he wrote a memo that seemed to condone some forms of torture, a sensitive point as the nation debated the treatment of terror suspects. Only six Democrats voted in favor of his confirmation, an unusually low level of minority support for a cabinet member who serves as the nation's top law enforcement officer.

Gradually, opposition to him spread from the Democrats to include key Republicans.

"I do not find your testimony credible," Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) told him flatly in a July hearing on the surveillance program.

"Under this Attorney General and this President, the Department of Justice suffered a severe crisis of leadership that allowed our justice system to be corrupted by political influence," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), said as news of Gonzales' resignation circulated. "I hope the Attorney General's decision will be a step toward getting to the truth about the level of political influence this White House wields over the Department of Justice and toward reconstituting its leadership."

Gonzales' departure follows that of Rove and other top White House aides who have left in recent months. White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten recently told senior aides that if they were not planning to stay until the end of Bush's second term, they should leave by Labor Day.

Staff writers Dan Eggen and Spencer S. Hsu contributed to this report.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Break Out the Tissues, Cause Simon Truly Does Have a Heart

Katie who doesn't cry began to tear...

Centennial Post: Another Geography Lesson

In honor of our 100th post on the Copacabana blog, I decided to make it a special ode to us fine women. Sit back, relax, and enjoy another geography lesson...

Geography of a Woman

Between 18 and 22, a woman is like Africa , half
discovered, half wild, naturally beautiful with
fertile soil.

Between 23 and 30, a woman is like America , well
developed and open to trade, especially for someone
with cash.

Between 31 and 35, a woman is like India, very hot,
relaxed and convinced of her own beauty.

Between 36 and 40, a woman is like France, gently
aging; but still warm and a desirable place to visit.

Between 41 and 50, a woman is like Great Britain,
with a glorious and all conquering past.

Between 51 and 60, a woman is like Yugoslavia, lost
some wars, won some great battles but haunted by past
mistakes, still very strong and proud.

Between 61 and 70, a woman is like Russia, very wide
and borders are now largely un-patrolled.

After 70, she becomes Tibet .. Off the beaten path,
with a mysterious past and the wisdom of the
ages...still desirable but only those with an
adventurous spirit and a thirst for spiritual
knowledge and true love dare visit there.

Geography of a Man

Between 1 and 78, a man is like Iran, ruled by a
dick.

Never Trust a Beauty Queen

I got schooled in geography by Miss Teen USA South Carolina. Who knew that the US recently admitted two new states into the union. Confused? So was I... take a look:

Interesting thoughts Miss South Carolina. Still intrigued? Here's some background information on the teen queen.

Name: Caitlin Upton
Age: 17
Height: 5'9"
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Hazel
Hometown: Lexington, South Carolina

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bolo Tie to Pink Scrunchie

What's your sign?

by 2nd Lt. William Powell
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


6/3/2005 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFPN) -- Quick. What was Tom Cruise’s call sign in “Top Gun?” How about Anthony Edwards, his backseat radar intercept officer in the F-14 Tomcat?

Most fans of the military film are quick to respond with Maverick and Goose. But where do call signs like these come from, and just how are pilots “named?”

Details are scarce concerning the origin of call signs and how the first pilots were named, but the tradition became popular in World War II, said Yvonne Kincaid, an Air Force historian.

“The first call signs were likely used by ground controllers to communicate with pilots, as pilot-to-pilot radio wasn’t efficient at that time,” she said. “It was faster and easier to call a pilot by his nickname, and it would have confused the enemy in case they were listening.”

The call sign has since evolved into a tradition celebrated by each branch of the military. Naming rituals vary by branch and by squadron, but three rules universally apply: Pilots who do not have good names when they arrive at their first operational squadron, will be given new ones; they probably will not like them; and, if they complain, they will get even worse names.

“There are a few different ways a pilot can earn his call sign,” said Maj. Pedro Gonzalez, 2nd Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations. “Some natural call signs play off a person’s last name, such as Speedy Gonzalez, Allen Wrench or Specht Tater.”

Other people may get named for how they look, such as Shamu if the pilot is carrying a few extra pounds, or named after a movie character he resembles, Major Gonzalez said.

“One pilot here is called Shrek because he looks exactly like the movie character, minus the green color,” he said. “No matter what he does, he’s not going to get a different call sign.”

A pilot will often carry his call sign with him from squadron to squadron and as he moves from base to base. The exception is when a pilot draws attention to himself by acting out of the ordinary, which is another way to receive a name.

“I got my call sign, Mad Dog, after a check ride during my training,” Major Gonzalez said. “I ‘shot down’ three bad guys, which was good, but I also fired at my evaluator, who was one of the good guys.”

Mad Dog is what they call an AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile that is fired at no predetermined target. It is indiscriminating and will shoot down the first thing it sees, friend or foe, he said.

“So my squadron said they would have to send me out to battle first, let me fire off all my missiles, and then send me home so I don’t shoot any friendlies. The name stuck and also sounded pretty tactical, so I got lucky on that one,” he said.

Depending upon the squadron, a call sign will have more than one explanation behind its origin: one tactical and one highly exaggerated. In some cases, a squadron will name a pilot and then make up a tactical reason for it later. But in all cases, only 10 percent of the story has to be true.

“I was at my naming party in Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and we had to make radio calls based on what we saw on a pretend radar screen,” said Maj. Christopher Levy, 19th Air Force air-to-air training chief. “Whether or not we got the calls right depended on what we saw. I made some good radio calls, so the squadron decided to name me Yoda. It was either because I was the all-knowing, all-seeing fighter pilot, or because I was a short, funny looking man in green with big ears.”

Similar to Major Levy’s naming party, fighter squadrons here hold solo parties to give student pilots temporary call signs following their first solo flight in an F-15 Eagle.

“I was taught all the initial fundamentals of flying the Eagle by Major Craig ‘Buick’ Dye, who is well-known amongst the other instructors here for his unique teaching style and short stature,” said 1st Lt. Jon Snyder, 2nd FS B-Course student. “So, the instructors named me Pontiac because a Pontiac is larger and quieter than a Buick, but drives worse.”

Even innocent-sounding call signs may have an embarrassing or funny story behind them, as is the case with many pilots. Torch is a relatively pleasant name, for example, but Maj. Matthew Esper, 1st FS assistant director of operations, said his story involves him “going down in flames.”

“I was selected to run the Olympic torch (before) the Atlanta Olympics,” Major Esper said. “I had to run about a mile and then hand the torch to another runner, a Special Olympian. As I approached the handoff point, I concentrated so hard on the handoff that I forgot to look at the pavement, which was slightly uneven. I tripped and fell and broke my fall with my face instead of dropping the torch. The Special Olympian thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen and gave me no credit for not dropping the torch.”

No matter what embarrassing or funny things a pilot does, the call sign he or she receives is normally not too offensive or humiliating. Pilots still have an image to uphold as American defenders.

But as they defend America and her allies, they know one wrong move or embarrassing situation could be summed up in one word and forever immortalized as their call sign. (Courtesy of Air Education and Training Command News Service)

Stewart Colbert 2008

Friday, August 24, 2007

Lindsey Takes Us Back With a Schoolyard Classic

Can Wine in a Sippy Box
Lure Back French Drinkers?

By MAX COLCHESTER
August 24, 2007; Page B1

PARIS -- Cordier Mestrezat Grands Crus has been selling fine Bordeaux wine for more than a century. Its latest enological breakthrough: wine through a straw.

As popular wines from countries such as Australia and Chile eat into French wine sales, and as young French people increasingly turn away from wine in favor of spirits and beer, some of France's vintners are tossing tradition aside and innovating.

[wine]
Cordier's new offering: boxed wine with a straw

In North America and Europe, wine sold in cartons has been around for some years, but usually the quality and price are relatively low. Cordier, whose top-end wines can sell for about $3,300 a bottle, is the first high-end wine producer from Bordeaux -- the region best known for its prestigious and pricey red wines -- to put wine in a box. Last month it announced plans to sell wine, dubbed Tandem, in an 8.5 ounce carton that comes with a special straw with four holes, designed to spray the wine into the mouth. The company says it gives a similar sensation to drinking from a glass. The red, white and rosé versions come in shiny red, green and pink boxes made by Swiss packaging company Tetra Pak SA.

Before rolling it out in France next year, the winemaker is testing Tandem in 600 Belgian supermarkets, priced at about $2.50 a carton.

Cordier says it wants to offer a premium wine that will attract the younger generation. "It is a product that can sell in stadiums, hotels and airlines," says Vincent Bonhur, Cordier's head of marketing. But the company acknowledges its boxed wine may be too radical for the French: "In France, the wine market is still very traditional, but in markets such as Canada, the U.K. and Northern Europe, this new format should be a hit," Cordier said in a release.

Luring new consumers is crucial for an industry so embedded in the French economy. France is Europe's largest wine producer, making about 1.45 billion gallons a year, and also the leader in consumption, according to European Union statistics. Nevertheless, between 1995 and 2005, annual French wine consumption fell from an average of 16 gallons per person a year to 14.5 gallons, according to Viniflhor, the national agriculture trade organization.

In the beginning, healthy exports of French wine abroad compensated for the waning demand at home. In recent years, however, exports have dropped because of competition from moderately priced, good-quality wines from countries such as Australia, Argentina and South Africa. Now, so much French wine remains unsold every year that the EU, which subsidizes wine-making in Europe, is discussing a law that would give winemakers incentives to reduce production altogether.

[Tight-Lipped]

Adding to French wine makers' woes, the generation coming of age is drinking less wine. In 1980, nearly a quarter of French people between the ages of 20 and 24 drank wine every day, according to Viniflhor. By 2005, only 2.3% did.

"We need to change the image of wine in our country," says Pierre Leclerc, director of the Economic Committee for France's South East Wines, "We have ignored young people and now we are paying the price."

Making it difficult to get such a message across, a law in France bans alcohol ads on television and requires billboard ads for alcohol to include health warnings. Wine makers are trying to persuade the French government to give wine a special legal statute to avoid the strict advertising measures.

So some companies are trying other tactics to get younger people's attention.

Bordeaux wine seller Omnivins SARL recently unveiled a wine called "Soif de Coeur," or "Thirst for Romance." The bottles had special labels -- in blue for men and pink for women -- that could be peeled back to reveal a code giving access to a dating Web site. The Bordeaux merchant, which buys its wine from a producer in southwest France, says it wants to "recruit new consumers with audacious trade and marketing concepts." Since March, it has sold 300,000 bottles, priced at about $4.40 a bottle in supermarkets.

French wine maker Albera SARL targets nightclubs and bars with its fizzy Nayandei wine in bottles with funky labels. The company regularly sponsors events in clubs and snowboard competitions to raise its profile. "We wanted to create a desire for wine. Young people can taste our Nayandei range, then progress to something more classic," says the company's managing director, Fabrice Rieu, 32, who runs the Pyrenees-based company with his brother.

Toto Vino SARL, based in Névian in southern France, makes a nonalcoholic, red wine-based soda drink, sold in cans for about $2.50. Another non-alcoholic wine, in red, white and rosé, launched last year by Société Icône sells in the French supermarket Monoprix in bottles with a trendy minimalist logo.

Some wine makers are using an environmentally sensitive pitch, introducing recyclable plastic wine bottles. Boisset Vins & Spiritueux, a wine-and-spirits company in France's Bourgogne region, uses the polyethylene terephthalate bottles for its "Yellow Jersey" wine, which it has tested in North America. It plans to launch the bottles in Europe in August.

Purists aren't impressed with the creative exploits of French wine makers.

"There are limits to fantasy and marketing," says Philippe Faure-Brac, a former world champion sommelier. "To innovate is good, to respect is better."

Olivier Crozat, a former sommelier who manages the Wine Museum in Paris, disapproves of the idea of wine in a carton. "It is a pleasure in life to open a bottle or go down to your cellar to select the right one," he says. But he said it's clear that Cordier's boxed wine is aimed at a younger audience.

Other critics say the new marketing techniques -- from wine in cartons to plastic bottles -- may not actually work with young people, who tend to see wine as a drink for special occasions and to associate it with a traditional-looking bottle.

Castel Frères, France's biggest wine producer, recently hired psychologists to try to understand how customers react to packaging. Among the results of the study was that younger men prefer bottles with traditional labels. "Tetra Pak and the like only appeals to a small part of the population. It is a niche thing," says Christophe Polaillon, head of marketing for Castel Frères. "It attracts interest, but it does not sell in the long run."

"Wine in a carton is just not very classy," says Laure Goupil, a 24-year-old who works in marketing in Paris and says she drinks around four glasses of wine a week when socializing with friends. "Drinking wine should be a pleasure," she says. "Choosing a bottle with a nice label is really important."

Aude Chabrier, a 24-year-old Parisian in the publishing industry, doubts marketing efforts can succeed in attracting younger drinkers to wine. "I think that young people need to get there by themselves," she says. "This is just part of a wider cultural change -- young people are just drinking less than before."

Despite the skepticism, the shift towards more exotic packaging and marketing has supporters even among the most celebrated of France's high-end wine makers. "Normally I am a traditionalist," says Michel Raymond, the cellar master at the Bordeaux-based Château Lagrange. "But if it works, why not?"

Write to Max Colchester at max.colchester@wsj.com

How Candid

Friday, August 24, 2007

There are some things you shouldn't admit, even if they're true.

Ugly chic: "Let's just say, my phone's on vibrate and if it rings, that's the most action I've gotten in a long time."

-Dupont Circle, outside Krispy Kreme.

Labels:

Look Mom What I Did Today!

Tales from the Newsroom:

Gerry Connolly, Fairfax county board of supervisors chairman, is one of a handful of legislators I have the pleasure of waking up to get their opinion on anything from transportation to education. Because I provide complimentary services as the Connolly family alarm clock, we have established a working relationship. Well our dynamic and ever-ambitious station has it's fingers on the pulse of immigration. As such, our very own Chris Core wanted to chat with the Gerry, but it seemed as though they hit the snooze on Chris.

The post got wind of the episode, but also sent a shout out to the original liaison! I got the interview, apparently it was exclusive!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Besides Eternal Good Looks?

What do David Beckham, Justin Timberlake, and John Wayne have in common?

Wed, 08/22/2007 - 5:24pm.
ROSS KINNAIRD/Getty Images Sport

Quick moves, right? But some Islamist fundamentalists also apparently see the British soccer star and the American singer as beloved cultural symbols whose deaths would bring the West to its knees. It's a tactic Joseph Stalin apparently tried to pull more against another powerful American symbol more than 50 years ago.

As legend has it, Stalin threatened to assassinate the Duke in an effort to silence the ardent anti-communist and deal a crushing blow to the American cultural machine against the backdrop of the Cold War. This being the new millennium, though, Beckham and Timberlake were threatened not by the Soviets but by Islamist radicals with Internet access and a grievance against Western cultural imperialism. The threat came in the form of a video posted on YouTube. According to several Web sites following the story, it was a British al Qaeda-linked group tied to exiled cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed that posted the video.

Watching the video, though, it doesn't exactly seem like the most sophisticated of plots. There's a shot of Eminem in a newspaper with the headline, "This Is the Way to Hellfire." There's a photo of 2-Pac underneath the words, "Servant of Shaytaan." And a smiling Beckham is juxtaposed with the question, “What Made u Among the Losers?” In the end, it looks more like a low-budge PSA than a serious wake-up call to Western civilization.

Worse yet for the would-be killers, this over-the-top exchange from Fox News suggests they made have made another monumental miscalculation: "Isn't this an instance where you might be rooting for the terrorists?"

The $50,630 Question

We all know college is expensive and it's definitely not getting any cheaper. Recently the Washington City Paper published an article about the rising tuition at GW and whether or not students get enough bang for their buck. This is journalist Julie Westfall's first by-line in the City Paper, so I'm sure that is the reason behind her obvious slant in the article.'

The $50,630 Question

Is an education at George Washington University worth it?

What most schools call freshman orientation is a different animal at the George Washington University, the most expensive college in America. There, it’s known as Colonial Inauguration, or just “CI,” a three-day whirlwind of ice cream socials and casino nights.

CI is one of the university’s selling points. When high schoolers tour the campus, the guide from the GW admissions office is likely to include mention of the event among the experiences that set the school apart from its competitors: In addition to the prospect of spotting presidential motorcades and studying at the Lincoln Memorial, you’ll get to enjoy the laser-light show at Colonial Inauguration.

The six-minute-plus neon extravaganza includes the Hippo, GW’s unofficial mascot, bowling, playing tennis, kicking a soccer ball, lifting weights in the fitness center—to the strains of the theme from Star Wars and the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

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Willie Castro, a subcontractor for Audio Visual Imagineering, who created the show and has been tweaking it each year for more than a decade, says a show like GW’s costs about $2,500 per minute to produce. Throw in labor costs and other fees, and the university has paid a robust five-figure sum over the years to build a precious campus commodity: tradition. “Nobody seems to be tired of ‘Video Killed the Radio Star,’” says Castro. “Every year I say, ‘You guys don’t want to change it, so you must love that song.’”

The student newspaper, the GW Hatchet, has written exhaustively about Colonial Inauguration and its extravagances, which have included engraved chocolates deposited on the pillows of incoming freshmen. When GW stopped giving out GWopoly board games a few years ago, the Hatchet reported the move saved the college $30,000. An analysis of the wardrobe of the Colonial Cabinet, the elite pack of wild-eyed, hyper students who lead the orientation, found that the crew’s khaki shorts likely cost the university about $4,000 each summer.

“Most colleges view orientation as a simple half-day event where students can buy books and sign waivers. GW, as you will quickly learn, has much more of a ‘Go big or go home’ attitude,” wrote sophomore Diana Kugel in the Hatchet. “While the laser light show may be superfluous, all of the fuss and preparation that goes into CI is effective in its efforts to make newly accepted students feel welcome. And while sometimes GW does overdo it when trying to uphold a certain image, you may as well get used to things being done on a large scale.”

At GW, that realization starts with tuition. Last February, GW announced its tuition and required fees plus room and board would cost $50,630 for this year’s freshmen, the class of 2011. It was like the day a barrel of oil hit $50—everyone saw it coming, but seeing the number on paper was stunning.

“When that word came out, you panic a little,” says Michael O’Leary, senior associate director of GW’s admissions office, who’s among those tasked with promoting the university. “You sit down and scratch your head and say, ‘How are we going to deal with this?’ And then you move forward.”

“[University officials] pointed out that it was the lowest percent increase,” says Hatchet editor Jake Sherman, referring to how this year’s freshmen will pay 3.8 percent more than last year’s freshmen. “But it’s almost been PR suicide for them. It’s pretty unbelievable how they’ve tried to spin it.”

But as public-relations challenges go, record tuition isn’t necessarily the hardest one to explain. That would be why the school ranks much lower on the various surveys that gauge its market value. The latest U.S. News & World Report rankings for “America’s Best Colleges,” for instance, considers GW only 54th in the country. In 2006, it was 52nd.

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GW has, however, risen through the ranks of large-land-holders in the District by dint of its legendary expansion. In 1912, GW had a single building in Foggy Bottom, at 20th and G Streets. Now it owns most of a five-block area loosely bordered by Pennsylvania Avenue, 23rd Street, E Street, and 20th Street. Much of the growth has occurred in the past 15 years.

This year, the university decided to take itself to another level. It sought permission to nearly double the size of its campus by building up 2.5 million square feet within its boundaries. In contentious zoning hearings, university officials argued that the allure of GW is tied to its wonderfully situated campus in view of the White House. Neighbors likened the 20-year building plan to plopping an Empire State Building in Foggy Bottom, albeit one spread out to conform to the District’s hallowed height laws. In the end, the school received permission to pursue its expansion, subject to further zoning approvals.

GW also pissed off Foggy Bottom residents when it leased its old hospital site on Pennsylvania Avenue, one of the largest empty tracts of land in the District, to a developer for the next 60 years. Plans include two rental residential towers and a commercial office tower, which is expected to house a law firm. The university won’t say how many millions it is making off the deal, but in “go big or go home” fashion, GW said it plans to build a new science center, dorms, classrooms, and research space with the cash infusion. Through all the expansions, the university has sustained vicious attacks from Foggy Bottom activists and their brethren across town. Whether the venue was a meeting of the local advisory neighborhood commission or a city zoning panel, the complaint was usually the same: The school’s big shots were rapacious land-grabbers determined to turn residential Foggy Bottom into a cul-de-sac.

GW’s thirst for land has become something of a business problem in recent years. In 2003, 25 percent of the assets in the school’s endowment consisted of illiquid property investments off campus. Endowment managers have since reduced that number to 15 percent, the better to maximize the endowment’s utility.

That endowment just passed $1 billion this summer, but it’s paltry for a school with world-class ambitions. Princeton University, No. 1 on the U.S. News survey, has the fifth-largest endowment in the nation at around $13 billion. (This year, tuition plus room and board at the New Jersey Ivy will set you back nearly $44,000.)

GW’s comparatively shallow endowment means that it relies on tuition to meet 80 percent of its daily operating costs. Without that cash coming in, the university says, it would be bankrupt in a year. The problem has outlasted the 19-year tenure of President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, who succeeded Lloyd Hartman Elliott in 1988 and stepped down this July. “If we had a bigger endowment, we’d have more money. And if we had more money, we could, if we chose, lower tuition or give more financial aid,” Trachtenberg says.

Traditionally, alumni help to pad university endowments. But GW’s alumni-giving is currently only at 11 percent, according to GW’s director of media.

“Some of it has to do with having begun alumni giving programs very late in our history. Some of it is because we were, for many years, a commuter school,” says Trachtenberg, whose total compensation in 2004-05 was north of $700,000, placing him among the highest paid university presidents in the country. “I think these things are generational. You have to have somebody come to the university, they have to have a good experience, then they have to graduate, then they have to pay off whatever those loans are that you made to them, then they go on, and they buy their first house, then they get married, then they have children, then they have to pay for the orthodontist, then they have to pay for the car.”

“And they get to a point in their lives where, God willing, they have surplus, and that’s when people start to look around and decide where they’re going to be consequentially philanthropic. Most people start with their houses of worship.”

Trachtenberg believes cash from GW alumni who graduated during the previous era in GW history, the one led by Elliott from ’65 to ’88, will start flowing soon.

“You have to allow these things to germinate, to gestate,” he says.

The unofficial position on GW philanthropy is a bit more jaded. “A lot of people say GW just doesn’t engender this feeling of giving back,” says Hatchet editor Sherman. “What I’ve heard is that people just feel like they come out of this school and they’re drained of everything they have.”

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As far as recruiting future alumni, GW competes with big-name schools for upper-echelon students and, to many of them, the university does offer help. Last year, 20 percent of its students received large merit scholarships, which usually pay for about half of the tuition, not including room, board, and fees.

“Nobody cares what the tuition is,” says Trachtenberg, who is now President Emeritus and professor of public service for the college. “Students who pay the full tuition are a small fraction of the student body,” he says.

In fact, more than 60 percent of GW’s undergraduates receive some kind of financial aid, and the school beats all universities in the dollars-per-student it gives in aid, at around $33,000. Shortly after it dropped the $50,000 bombshell, GW announced it would also cut its merit scholarships by a third in favor of need-based aid.

The rest of the students, or, more likely, their parents, simply write a check every semester. “Obviously you’ve got to have a lot of rich students to subsidize the less rich students. GW will officially tell you, of course, that it subsidizes many students, and that’s true. But if you’ve been to GW, you know it’s a culture of wealth,” says Margaret Soltan, an English professor at the college. “All you have to do is walk up and down 21st Street and see all these fancy SUVs and Porsches and realize that they are being driven by 20-year-olds.”

Taylor Carrington, soon to be a freshman majoring in international relations and Spanish, will likely have to hitch a ride with one of her rich classmates. She will be starting GW with an enormous merit scholarship of $20,000 but plans to graduate with debt. Her parents are helping with some of the overflow.

“My parents both have good jobs, and education is one of those things they are willing to spend money on,” says Carrington, who is from Rhode Island. “I know it’s a lot of money, but my parents were like, ‘It’s an education, so it’s OK to spend.’ I felt like a degree from GW is worth that. I felt like I’ll be able to pay it off as soon as I get out of there.”

Carrington is a beneficiary of Trachtenberg’s brand of educational socialism. “It is how we seek justice on behalf of all our students,” he says. “But you see, all our students aren’t identical. And so what we try to do is treat each student as justly and as equitably as we can. And so it’s a little like a Procrustean bed. You know you have a 6-foot person, and you have a 4-foot bed. The choices, it seems to me, are extend the bed by 2 feet or cut 2 feet off the person.”

“Well, what we try to do,” he says, “is extend the bed. And so we have some students who are paying—what you would call if you’re buying a car—the list price. And we have other students who are getting the car for free. And most students are in between A and Z, between Alpha and Omega.”

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Three years ago, GW helped pioneer an idea that is catching on at universities around the country. The school promised the Class of 2008 that it would pay $34,000 in tuition a year for as long as they stayed at the university. The graduating Class of 2004 paid $29,000, 16 percent less.

The fixed tuition promise doesn’t apply to the mandatory room, board, and other fees, and housing at GW is just as expensive, if not more so, than living in an apartment building nearby. (Freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus.) But the pricing scheme does allow students to know how much they will pay for tuition as long as they stay at GW.

The university insists that under this plan, students do not actually pay the highest tuition in the country because while other universities will raise their tuition by different amounts every year, GW’s will stay the same. By this math, GW is only the ninth-most-expensive university in the country.

The university gets there by predicting that expensive schools such as Sarah Lawrence, Amherst, and Colgate—which don’t usually compete for the same students as GW—will raise their tuition by 5.7 percent each year. GW thus concludes that its incoming freshmen will end up paying less in the long term.

This calculation, of course, is open to challenge. Last year, Hatchet opinions editor Kyle Spector argued that schools that actually attract the same sort of students who apply to GW—including NYU and Boston University—would have to raise their tuition by much more than they actually did during the last three years in order to catch up with the price tag at GW.

“On balance, GW is marginally more expensive,” concedes O’Leary. “I say that not discounting that we are the most expensive. You can’t beat around that bush. You can’t dispute a price tag.”

When Trachtenberg arrived, a year at GW cost about $14,520, not including fees or premiums for living in better dorms.

“The mandate was, ‘Let’s move the institution to the next level,’” says O’Leary, who began an entry-level job in the admissions office in 1985, about two years before Trachtenberg took over. “GW was still a pretty sleepy place when I got here—not highly competitive, known nationally but not necessarily recognized.”

Now, GW wholeheartedly embraces the maxim that you need to spend money to make money—and to rise in the all-important U.S. News rankings. “That should be No. 1 on the list of anyone at a university, and you do whatever it takes,” says Nicole Capp, president of the Student Association, which governs all student groups at GW. “Paying money for extra professors, having some more adjunct professors…having Division I teams that are doing spectacular—whatever it takes to build the prestige of the university and provide a better education, you do it.”

As she ticks off the characteristics of a first-rate university, Capp is sitting at the Potbelly sandwich shop’s outdoor cafe in the Ivory Tower, one of the university’s newest, classiest dorms, where she is living this summer and next school year. The dorm is one of the reasons GW ranks well on at least one list—Princeton Review’s “Dorms Like Palaces.” Ivory Tower’s carpeted two-bedroom suites with living rooms and full kitchens are the norm for the school’s new dormitories, built along with several new dorms after the city mandated that the university house 70 percent of the nearly 10,000 undergraduates on the Foggy Bottom campus.

The J Street Cafe in the Marvin Center, the de facto student union, is at this moment being renovated for the second time in as many years. Last week, workers were dismantling some of the fast-food restaurants constructed there last summer in preparation for replacing them with more self-serve venues, a return of sorts to the traditional college cafeteria the Marvin Center housed decades ago. Students entering the center’s food court are confronted by a lighted model of the Washington Monument that soars from the basement through an atrium. (The actual monument is a short walk away.)

“Our student-union-style thing, the Marvin Center, has gone through more face-lifts than, you know, Cher. And why?” says Chris Correa, a recent graduate who chose GW over NYU.

Changes have also come to Duques Hall, GW’s new business school building, which now features a classroom built to resemble a stock exchange, with a multitude of screens on which students can play stockbroker. Several students describe it as “pretty cool.”

Kaitlin Muench, a rising junior who spent her summer days working as a GW tour guide and nights as a butler at the Kennedy Center, laughs at the swanky flourishes. “We’ve accepted it, and…it’s just a joke to us here. It’s hard to describe it, but the student population understands that we pay a lot of money, but they’re willing to make that sacrifice. While people joke about it, in the end, they’re happy they’re here,” she says.

But generalizations, as students learn in college, are dangerous. Not everyone is happy with the return on a GW investment. After two years at the university, Kevan Duve bolted. He took a year off and transferred to Columbia University, where he will start as a junior next month.

“GW has been run like a business for a long time.…They believe they are offering a product and that they’re going to charge market price,” he says. “I think students at GW get a bad deal, frankly.”

Duve gave up his GW merit scholarship and will end up owing more than if he had stayed in Foggy Bottom, but he believes attending the ninth-ranked school in the country is worth it.

“The things that [GW puts] money in, they put money in so that people are impressed by it, but it doesn’t necessarily equate to a better education for undergraduates. So I thought that I was wasting my money going to GW. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford it. It just had to do with how my money was being spent.”

(all photo credits go to Darrow Montgomery)


Being the shy and oh-so-meek girl that I am, I clearly have no strong opinion. But if I were louder and more boisterous I would mention that...
  • I don't believe contractors are allowed to mention explicit details about costs associated with one of their top clients, or at least they shouldn't
  • Transitioning from high school senior to college freshmen is very hard and if spending more money on an orientation program like CI means that students find it easier to acquaint themselves with the way things work in college (or maybe just at GW), then I say go for it
  • The students who serve on the CI Cabinet can certainly be making a lot more money with other jobs during the summer than they can with CI, they do it because of school pride and the desire to welcome incoming freshmen... so if the university wants to support these students who work 24 hour days with little time for rest between orientations, then I support the decision to buy them clothing, bookbags, and as much Red Bull as needed to keep them awake
  • Not everyone at GW is paying out of pocket and yes, there are students here who are and there are also students here who can afford to
  • No, not all students at GW are receiving all of the financial aid they deserve to attend this university, but at least they are receiving tuition support... there is only so much money to go around, so everyone looses a bit in order for others to get their share
  • Yes, GW is the 2nd largest land-owner in the district but they also need additional sources of revenue, because clearly no one wants to change the title of this article to "The $100,000 Question"
  • It is very hard for GW to get any new building approved with all the harpies from various neighborhood boards and zoning commissions shooting down every idea thrown at them; it's almost as though if it weren't an idea forced upon the university, then it predisposed to be a bad idea and therefore denied... kudos to the GW staffers who are able to get anything approved
  • I agree that GW started way too late in the game to get the kind of alumni donations that universities like Stanford and Harvard swim in, but GW is also working very hard to bridge that gap between the GW community and alumni in order to, in part, increase the endowment... it's kind of like a "know your roots" campaign
  • Adjunct professors are awesome and I wish they gave more credit to universities who had the privilege of getting diplomats, PR professionals, stockbrokers, etc, to teach classes to college students; I am eternally thankful that some of my professors were adjunct faculty members because I know that they knew their stuff because it's what they do at work every day, I am very lucky to have had that experience... maybe one day USN&WR will reconsider knocking down universities who have the great resource of real professionals on their part-time faculty list
  • Funny thing about universities, for a college president is kind of is like running a business... they're in the business of selling education
  • Go big or go home

Modern Living at "Affordable" Prices

After a year and a half of construction, the West Elm store on 10th and G has officially opened. Although a little out of our usual price range, its a great place to treat ourselves to a cool new lamp. (hint, hint, Mandy)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hauʻoli Lā Hānau Hawaiʻi

Today is Hawaii's 48th birthday! Could have fooled me though, because Hawaii doesn't look a day over 30! In honor of the 50th state to be admitted into the Union, I've compiled a list of trivia about the Aloha State.

Quick facts...

Did you know...
  • Hawai‘i is only one of two states that does not observe Daylight Saving Time in any of its territories; the other state being Arizona.
  • Despite its notoriety for having one of the most centralized state governments in the United States, Hawai‘i is the only one without a state police force.
  • It is also the only state without a unified Department of Motor Vehicles; vehicle registration and driver license issuance is delegated to the four counties.
  • Kamehameha Day is the only holiday in the United States that celebrates a monarch.
  • Prince Kuhio Day is the only other day that celebrates the life of a royal.
  • The North American Numbering Plan area code prescribed for the entire state of Hawai‘i is 808. It is one of only a few states to have a single, unified area code.
  • Hawai‘i orientation is not expressed using traditional cardinal directions of north, south, east and west. Traditional compass points are sometimes considered confusing or even impractical in a mountainous island environment, especially when used for driving directions. Instead, the term mauka is used to orient a person towards the mountain or center of an island. Makai is used to orient a person towards the sea. On the island of O‘ahu, Diamond Head is used to orient a person towards the eastern shore. ‘Ewa is used to orient a person towards the western shore. On the island of Hawaii (a.k.a. "The Big Island"), directions are expressed with Hilo and Kona sides.
  • Hawai‘i has the most endemic species of plants and animals that are vulnerable to outside threats. Ecologists have called Hawai‘i the endangered species capital. Among the rarest of these species is the Po‘ouli Hawaiian honeycreeper; it has only two known survivors found in Maui.
  • Hawai‘i currently has three highways: the H1, H2, and H3. The H3 work crew is reputed to have sealed completed electrical and water housings due to funding shortages. The H2 is known for the strange zig-zag pattern of concrete laid for added "safety grip" by an engineer. Drivers are advised not to stare at the pattern as it both distracts and disorients.
  • Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace is the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral in continuous use today in the United States.
  • ‘Iolani Palace is the only official royal residence on United States land.
  • It is customary at Hawai'i weddings, especially at Filipino weddings, for the bride and groom to do a "money dance" (also called the pandango). As the bride and groom dance, the guests express their best wishes to the newlyweds with a monetary gift.
  • It is considered impolite to refer to the U.S. mainland as "the States" or to otherwise imply that Hawaiʻi is not part of the U.S. Asking, "Do you accept American money?" or "How do you like the United States?" would be considered rude and ignorant.
  • The traditional Hawaiian lu'au is something seen most frequently as a tourist event, as opposed to a regular occurrence in local culture.
  • It is customary for Hawai‘i families, regardless of ethnicity, to hold a lū‘au to celebrate a child's first birthday. In Hawaiian culture (and also in Korean culture), the first birthday is considered a major milestone.
  • When visiting a home, it is considered good manners to bring a small gift (for example, a dessert) for one's host.
  • For men in business or professional roles, an aloha shirt and slacks are the norm. Suits and ties are rarely worn except by judges and lawyers (those working in the judiciary) and by legislators. Legislators in Hawaii maintain an interesting double wardrobe where they wear a coat and tie on the floor of the State House or Senate or when in Washington, but outside or even in their state legislative offices, will wear an aloha shirt and slacks. Any local Macy's department store can outfit you with this Hawaii business attire.
Famous people from Hawaii
  • Father Damien (January 3, 1840 – April 15, 1889) Beatified towards sainthood by Pope John Paul II
  • Mother Marianne Cope (January 23, 1838 – August 9, 1918) Beatified towards sainthood by Pope Benedict XVI
  • Hiram Fong (October 15, 1906 – August 18, 2004) First Chinese American and Asian American elected United States Senator
  • General Eric Shinseki (born November 28, 1942)
  • Duke Kahanamoku (August 24, 1890 – January 22, 1968) Gold-medal winning Olympic athlete who popularized surfing
  • Don Ho (August 13, 1930 – April 14, 2007) was a Hawaiian musician and entertainer
  • Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (May 20, 1959 – June 26, 1997) "Braddah IZ" was a Hawaiian musician and entertainer
  • Jack Johnson (born May 18, 1975) Hawaii-born musician, filmmaker, and surfer

And You Thought the Berkin Bag Was Expensive


Save your change ladies - the new must-have bag runs for about $54,000. Pocket change right ...well even if you had the cash, their were only five authorized to be sold in North America, Beyonce being the only disclosed owner. No worries if you weren't on this wait list, Chanel has a diamond encrusted, white alligator tote coming in December. It will only set you back about six figures...I wonder if it can hold it's weight in dough?!

I Think I'm In love!


Have mule, will travel: Man rides mule from Minnesota to Wyoming in search of work


GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - He rode his mule into town looking for work.
No, it wasn't the opening scene of a Western movie. It was what Rod Maday did last week, ending a six-week odyssey from his hometown of Boy River, Minn.
``I've done about 1,500 miles and I've got the saddle sores to prove it,'' he said.
Maday said he lost his driver's license 10 years ago after he was accused in a hit-and-run, and was having a hard time finding work in Minnesota. He heard that Wyoming had plenty of jobs that paid well.
He set out with two mules. About a month ago, both mules got loose and one was hit by a car. It had to be euthanized.
Maday arrived at the Department of Workforce Services office on Friday morning wearing a torn shirt, dusty blue jeans, spurs and a cowboy hat. Astride his brown and silver mule, Henry, he caused several double-takes.
He didn't stay long. He said some teenagers had yelled ``uncalled for'' things at him while he was riding into town the night before.
``Gillette's nothing like what I had thought,'' he said.
He left Saturday morning, riding west toward the Bighorn Mountains.
``I could probably get a job and stay here, but I'm not willing to part with my mule,'' Maday said. ``He's my best friend and I'm not getting rid of him for nothing.''

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

It's My Party!

So the George Washington University apparently can't rank ....ever. Princeton Review has just released their rankings of the nation's top party school, and frankly colonials - we've got our work cut out for us!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Who Knew Robin Thicke Was Such a Hottie!?!

I was perusing my celeblogs as usual and while going through some previous Perez gossip I missed, I came across the following (oh so true) posting:
And then I thought to myself, wait, Robin Thicke, I know that name. So I googled him. And wow. McHottie! Short hair. Long Hair. Facial Hair. Whatever!

The next question that (obviously) crossed my mind was: but can he sing? White boy can sing!

I LOVE his "When I Get You Alone" video. Check it out!

Not Quite an Elected Position, But Close Enough

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is seeking to add 3 new members to it's 21 person Riders Advisory Council. The vacancies are to be filled by 2 Fairfax County residents and 1 Arlington County resident. The positions are unpaid, however membership to the council will assist the overall quality and progress of the Metrorail system.

Interested? Apply! And, like I said, it's not quite an elected position, but it's close enough.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I Smell an Oscar...

I just saw a trailer for "Rendition" starring the ever so lovely Reese Witherspoon along with Jake Gyllenhall, Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin, and Peter Sarsgaard. It looks good. Oscar good.

http://www.apple.com/trailers/newline/rendition/

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Welcome to the Family, Redux

I am FINALLY a Simpson. Check it out:

And I also did a side-by-side comparison...


Simpsonize yourself at www.simpsonizeme.com

Friday, August 17, 2007

Put Your Best Foot Forward!

This is great! You can see how far you walked or map your route, without a pedometer! What will they think of next?

GW Down Two Spots This Year


UNDATED (AP) - Princeton tops the latest U.S. News & World Report college rankings. It's the eighth straight year the New Jersey school has either tied or held the top slot outright.
Just like last year, Princeton was followed by Harvard and Yale in the rankings.
Johns Hopkins ranked 14th and the University of Maryland-College Park was 54th.
Williams and Amherst are the highest-ranked liberal arts colleges. The Naval Academy was tied for 20th on that list, St. Mary's College of Maryland was 87th, Goucher College was 91st and Washington College was 97th.
George Washington Ranked 54th.
St. Johns College in Annapolis is one of dozens of liberal arts schools opting out of the magazine's college ranking system over objections to its peer assessment surveys.
The formula for the rankings includes variables such as graduation and retention rates, faculty and financial resources, and the percentage of alumni donating money to their alma mater.
---
On the Net:
http://www.usnews.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


If you do go the website, or happen to know this offhand, look at what year GW was founded.....just saying that damn number pops up everywhere!