MAR
28
0

Washington Nationals' Season Opener Now Moved To Friday

Usually, this only happens in Loudoun County. Someone sees a weather forecast that says there is no way the area will avoid a massive snowstorm, so they close school a full 24 hours before you really have to decide.

Then the next morning, it barely snows.

Major League baseball has taken a page from Loudoun's County's playbook, as just after lunch today, the Washington Nationals' season opener in Cincinnati against the Reds has been postponed. According to The Weather Channel, the chance of rain in Cincinnati starts at 6 AM at 80 percent, moves to 90 percent until 4 PM, then increases to 95 percent for the next three to four hours. It then drops into the 60 percent range by 9 PM and stays there until morning. By 4 PM Friday, the chance of rain is supposedly only 5 percent.

So science says it's better to wait a day. After all, weather forecasts as never wrong, right?

So if you're taking the afternoon off to see the Nats' season opener, save the vacation time. Tell the boss it's his or her lucky day and you will be there for the entire 8 hours. Whether the boss wants you to be, or not....

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MAR
28
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Doesn't Seem Like 13 Years Ago, Brad Wilkerson Was At Bat

April 4, 2005. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia. 3:07 PM. A sunny day, 59 degrees, brisk wind.

And so it began.

I will admit I am not the baseball purist some of my other friends are. They will watch baseball if it’s between two teams on the other side of the country that they have no interest in, just because it’s baseball. I am, however, a shameless homer; I grew up in Norfolk, and no matter where I lived afterward, I pulled for any team that had WASHINGTON across its jersey, as the games of DC were the ones we got in Tidewater.

My closet over the years became overflowing with jerseys for the Redskins, Wizards and Caps. Baseball was a tough one; I tried to like the Orioles, and when I moved up here in 2000, made a point of going to Camden yards several times a year. It was a nice experience, Boog’s barbecue was tasty, but it wasn’t our team. It was someone else’s.

Then after decades of Major League Baseball using Washington as leverage for every other team in the universe to get a new stadium deal, the Expos moved here and we had a team. That first game, I took a vacation day to watch it at home on television, because if you’ve waited that long to have a team to call your own, you’re NOT going to miss the first one.

And so at 3:07 PM when the Phillies Jon Lieber threw the first pitch to Brad Wilkerson (and Wilkerson would get the team’s first hit on the game’s fifth pitch), my addiction to the Washington Nationals began. Over the last 13 years – thanks to modern technology that allows you to watch something on television anywhere – I doubt I’ve missed more than a handful of games no matter how terrible they were. That first season will always be among the most memorable of all of them because that team truly overachieved.

Watching a lineup of Wilkerson, Cristian Guzman, Jose Vidro, Jose Guillen, Nick Johnson, Vinny Castilla, Termel Sledge and Brian Schneider, I thought I was in a scene from the movie “Major League” wondering “who are these guys?” Livan Hernandez was the starting pitcher, and he did not seem to be a youngster even back then. My expectations were low, but in the second, Johnson and Castilla would get back-to-back hits putting runners on the corners. Sledge hit into a double play, but Johnson scored the first Washington Nationals run ever and my team was actually leading 1-0.

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MAR
26
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Never Thought Being A Coffee Snob Would Be This Difficult

If you have found yourself turning into a coffee snob – and if you live in Ashburn, it’s almost a requirement – you may have found yourself purchasing a Chemex.

I found a number of number of people – led by journalist Salena Zito – discussing on Twitter one day how a Chemex will allow you to brew the perfect cup of coffee. So many people piled in to agree with this that whether it mattered or not, I had to have one. In my world, the person with most culinary toys wins, and a Chemex was not in my collection.

The Chemex was easy to acquire for about $50, but the special coffee filters for the Chemex were not. A lot of places carry them, but for the last three months, they weren’t available at local stores. Usually when that happens you go to Amazon, but when you went there, the filters that should be $9.95 or less were selling for $22 a box and higher. Turns out that a few assorted clowns realized a lot of people get them for Christmas, so these entrepreneurs went around and bought up all the available inventory, then resold them on Amazon for a much higher price. Judging from comments I read online, this was going on just about everywhere.

Places like Chemex sold them online for $9.95, but unlike Amazon, where if you buy $25 of more freight is free, Chemex does not offer this. So by the time you add in freight, it’s about $22.

My search ended today when a UPS truck plunked down a box with 200 filters in it. Turns out I was in a Peet’s store two weeks ago, and they carry them. Like everyone else, they were sold out, but I was told I could go online and Peet’s has a flat $5 shipping charge to anywhere. They charged only $7.25 for a box of 100, so by buying 2 boxes, with the $5 shipping it still comes out to under $10 a box delivered to your door. Plus, every now and then they have sales. So on the day I ordered, they gave an additional 17 percent off for St. Patrick’s Day. With tax, freight and everything, it was $17.33, or $8.67 for a box of 100.

So while I’d like to find these clowns cornering the market on coffee filters and pour hot coffee on very sensitive areas, there is an alternative. If you too have had the same frustration I have had finding them – and judging from all the complaints on the Amazon page for this product, many have – Peet’s online is the way to go.

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MAR
26
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This Tweet Had Me Saying "Hot Dog"

In browsing through Twitter this morning as I always do (I’m @dullesdistrict), I came across a tidbit from Washington Post blogger Scott Allen that said “I’m at the Nats’ ballpark media tour, where one of the biggest pieces of concessions-related news is Nathan’s is Nats Park’s new hot dog supplier.”

My immediate thought was “be still, my heart.”

This is because I take sports concession stand food seriously. So much so, that over the years, I have purchased many of the items you see at a ballpark concession stand so I can replicate the experience in my own home. I have the hot dog machine you see above (I cut the cabbage for the cole slaw a little too thick so that’s why it looks like lettuce), a deep fryer, bun steamer, griddle to replicate a flat top on my stove, mini crockpots for chili, cheese sauce, etc., and of course I cook. From wings to nachos, I like to make stuff from scratch (and if you follow this site, you will too because cooking is going to become a regular topic) and consume it while watching games on multiple televisions in my study.

But of all the items you can consume, the hot dog to me is a mandatory staple. Every town seems to have a different version, from the Jesse Jones hot dogs smothered in mustard, chili, slaw and onions at Martinsville Speedway, to the crisp snap of a natural cased hot dog with mustard, onions and sauerkraut you only find up north. I have long annoyed my wife in that wherever I go, I always want to stick my head in a grocery store to see what different brands they may have.

Most that you can buy are average, and life is too short for an average hot dog. It seems the folks up north and the guys in the deep south do it right (although they are as different as night and day); Chicago has an interesting spin on it, and there are pockets throughout the country that try to be different. But most places in the country settle for average. I once drove an hour out of my way in Los Angeles to have a hot dog at the famous Pink’s, and it was good. But it wasn’t unique and wasn’t exceptional. It was just a big hot dog with chili on it, and while waiting in line, you got to see a lot of celebrities.

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MAR
25
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It's Still The Most Iconic Washington Nationals Moment Ever

The season hasn’t even started, and the Washington Nationals have already made their first error.

Scrolling through Twitter, it appears the Nats have removed the mural of Jayson Werth jumping for joy and crossing home plate after hitting the game-winning home run of Game 4 of the National League Divisional Series played on October 11, 2012. I am going to assume since this is the first season Werth is no longer playing for the team, that’s the reason it is being replaced.

Well, Nats….um, no. E-marketing.

The play still represents the most iconic moment the team has ever had. Ask any Nationals fan to rank their most memorable moments since the franchise came to Washington, and No. 1 by a landslide is Jayson Werth hitting that home run. It isn’t close. It’s the high point of the decade-plus the team has been here. Werth doesn’t play here any more? Well, Stan Musial isn’t getting a lot of bats in St. Louis either and they have a statue out front. Iconic moments are iconic moments. Want to replace the mural? Come up with a better moment.

Even the radio call is historic. This is the transcript of Dave Jageler and Charlie Slowes calling that last at-bat:

DJ: This is an epic battle

CS: Remember the bat after the rain delay, Dave?

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MAR
25
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Coming Face To Face With Facebook

Have you ever known something was going on, you knew it wasn’t good, but you just didn’t want to know? Like calling to get the results of your physical when you knew you’d been eating like every day was Fat Tuesday? Or going online to see just how big the balance on your American Express was a few days after Christmas?

Well, that’s sort of been my deal with Facebook. I strongly suspected that they weren’t exactly being on the up and up with most of us in terms of what they were doing with our information. But I didn’t really push because I knew if I did it wouldn’t be good. But last night during a break between basketball games in the NCAA Tournament, I did.

Facebook allows you to download the information they apparently are selling all over the world like an ice cream vendor on a hot day at Myrtle Beach, which I did. At first, I didn’t think it was such a big deal. There were folders and folders of pictures I had posted since 2009, and it was sort of nice to have them all in one big place if I ever wanted to find one. Over time, thanks to the advances in cameras on our phones, I’ve accumulated a lot of great pics and they are spread all over multiple computers and devices in my home. The good ones, I thought, are in this Facebook folder.

But then I started looking at the folder marked “html” and clicked on “ad.htm”. There were about 35 ad categories Facebook determined I should be part of. There was a history of every ad I’d ever clicked on. There were advertisers who were sold my contact info, many of whom I had never done business with and never will do business with.

Click on your profile info, and it’s the same as you’d see online. Click on contact info, however, it’s the email addresses of every person in your personal contacts. I must have early in my Facebook history approved an app that accessed my contacts and they are all there, probably sold to other companies.

The comes the histories. Every post, every pic, every video, every direct message, everyone you’ve friended, everyone you have unfriended…it’s all there with dates and times. Every time you logged into Facebook? It’s there too with date, time, IP address, the ID number of your device, the browser you used…everything.

I’ll admit I was probably naïve with this. I thought I was playing on a protected playground, where because of the way the “Friends” structure was set up, I controlled who could or who couldn’t see what I was up to. As it turns out, I controlled nothing, and if I’m going to write things for the world to see, I figured I might as well go back to writing on my own website. Only difference is I won’t be selling my own information to the world.

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