The Harmful Rays of the Moral Vacuum

The Harmful Rays of the Moral Vacuum
Please be advised that for your safety you must exit this blog on foot, calmly and quickly.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Billz travel dispatch

Having recently returned from a business trip to Washington, D.C. I would like to share some experiences and observations from my travels.  First, I have a new favorite fake word: Manthropomorphism. 

I noticed the term on an advertisement in the Amtrak terminal of Penn Station.  It was coined by the good people at Dockers, who have launched an aggressive campaign to make khakis cool again.  They will be releasing a limited edition pair of pants called K-1, which is a recreation of WWII officer pants.  I will likely buy a pair of those, as they look like they'd go great with my Jack Purcells.

While walking on the streets of D.C., I saw a garbage truck which belonged to a company called "Good Friends Waste Management."  Any fan of movies about organized crime can tell you why this is an awful name for a company which is part of a notoriously mobbed up industry.  But the question remains, are they "friends of yours" or "friends of ours"?

In my mind, any city where you can navigate by adding an address number to the block you are on probably has some pretty crappy neighborhoods.  For example, "I am on the eighteen-hundred block of such and such a street."  I think this understanding stems from watching many episodes of Cops in which police officers navigate this way.

I always feel like I am wearing a rubber suit after I step out of a hotel shower.  I think it's the combination of hard water and waxy hotel soaps.  In D.C., you have the added benefit of smelling like you just came out of a swimming pool.  The water is so heavily chlorinated I wasn't sure if it was safe to drink.  I guess this is a plus if you're going for that Michael Phelps style.

Amtrak: please add wifi to all of your trains.  I know you are in the process of adding wifi to the high speed Acela trains, but most of us don't want to pay twice as much to get into D.C. 40 minutes early.  Bolt Bus has wifi, and they provide only slightly slower service at a greatly reduced price.  If Amtrak wishes to remain relevant in the 21st century, there is no excuse for the lack of internet service.

I was in D.C. for a large political conference.  I will not say which one, as I don't like to go too deeply into politics or work on this blog.  At the conference was a nice older gentleman who sells antique political buttons.  He was also selling buttons which he made for various campaigns, and in support of various ideals.  One of these buttons caught my eye.  I have posted a picture below because it deserves to be seen.  There are several other buttons in the picture, but you will know the one I mean.
Seems like a funny thing to be proud of, right?  The gentleman selling the buttons was a very nice man, so I almost feel guilty posting this.  I think he meant to make a statement of defiance without fully understanding why that term has insulting connotations.

Now a shift of gears from my travel observations to some fun internet stuff.  Remember the Hitler parodies I posted a few weeks ago?  The fuhrer has been watching the Olympics and he is not pleased.

There are plenty of sites out there that will shorten web addresses so that you can give people less cumbersome urls in e-mails, or post links to Twitter.  The most prominent is TinyURL.  But what fun is just shortening a web address when you can make it "suspicious and frightening" instead?  This is where ShadyURL comes in.  One example of their handiwork:  They turned into  The address of this blog became  Wish I had thought of that title when I was naming this thing.

And finally, our wedding coordinator, the very talented Juliet Douglas did a three part posting of photos of our big day.  For some reason known only to her, she gave it the web address

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