Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Hill's 50 Most Beautiful is baaaaack! And it's hot.

Yahh, The Hill 50 Most Beautiful People issue is out!

As per usual, it's a awesome smorgasbord of (L to R) legitimately beautiful people (helloooo, Elizabeth Kucinich!), that special class of politically enthusiastic youngsters known as "skinterns," and totally unintentional hilarity (Otto Mucklo, Republican, 34, single, likes that women find his motorcycle "dangerous"? You don't say.)

But this year I noticed a strange similarity among many of the subjects. The 50 Most Beautiful are converging towards two ideals of Hot for DC which, unfortunately, are Paris Hilton and the Terminator.
The classic Paris Hilton: the fake blonde hair, the body turned at a three-quarters angle, the boob stuck out, one foot in front of the other, the hand on hip. And the 50 Most Beautiful:
The women afflicted by The Paris are either a relatively diverse lot or indistinguishable, depending on your point of view. Here we have (L to R): The second most beautiful person, Brecke "The Girl Next Door" Latham, 28, Republican, who says she'd date a Democrat. Briana Bilbray, 25, who is on the Republican Central Committee of San Diego County. Kristina "The Southern Belle" Spiegel, 27, Democrat, who says she might like to run for office, or maybe be a diplomat, and can't remember what her favorite movies are. Kristie Muchnok, 26, Democrat, a member of the Washington Wizards dance team, who lists her dating status as "ready to mingle." Jenny Harp, 23, Democrat, who lives with 6 other sorority girls in Columbia Heights in a house they call "The Mantionette." Elizabeth Murray, 23, Republican, who (bringing the Paris thing full circle) allegedly looks like Nicole Richie.

(I also note that whereas last year I thought I could tell the political party from the picture, this year either my GOP-dar is off or everybody on the Hill has started to look Republican. Godspeed, Obama.)

And the men! The model:

Terminators: The square jaw, the direct stare, the blank/angry/vaguely constipated affect. And the 50 Most Beautiful:
Our little Ts are as follows: Aaron Gardner, 26, Republican, lurves his cat, looking for a "career-driven" woman. Andrew Noyes, 28, "Declined to specify" his party affiliation (!), lurves his dog. Rich Guerard, 23, Independent (works for Lieberman), former model. Steve Ellis, 38, lobbyist, no party listed, maried to a doctor.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and make a prediction of the future of the Beautiful for DC look. In an era of biracial presidential candidates and human/Cylon hybrids (on TV, yes--but in the future we will not distinguish between "reality" and "TV"), it's almost inevitable: a combination of Paris and the Terminator. Parisinator, if you will. Or Terminhilton. T.P.?
The future is here, and it has a three-quarters angle to the camera, a pronounced jaw, an intense gaze, and its hands on its hips. You heard it here first!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I love/hate Blame Monica Goodling Week

My obsession with Monica Goodling, which had been in remission for the last year, has come roaring back with the release of the Justice Department Office of the Inspector General's report, which is even named after her: "An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring by Monica Goodling and Other Staff in the Office of the Attorney General."

It seems that when Monica told Congress she "crossed the line" by taking political considerations into account in hiring career employees, she meant, "I asked the line to give me five reasons why President Bush reminds it of Jesus, and it could only come up with two, plus I wasn't convinced the line was totally 'straight,' if you know what I mean, so I smashed it with a cross-shaped anvil, weighted it down with a filing cabinet containing the applications of experienced prosecutors whose spouses had made donations to Democratic candidates, and threw it in the Potomac."

The report reveals all kinds of deep, dark, delicious illegalities which were previously only hinted at by that crazy-eyed, feathered-haired exterior. She asked candidates "What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him"! She made a note that an applicant was conservative on "god, guns + gays"! She got a woman fired because she heard she was a lesbian! She did the following search on LexisNexis!:

[First name of a candidate]! and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or gore or republican! or democrat! or charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! or defend! or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount or sex! or controvers! or racis! or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or layoff! or downsiz! or PNTR or NAFTA or outsourc! or indict! or enron or kerry or iraq or wmd! or arrest! or intox! or fired or sex! or racis! or intox! or slur! or arrest! or fired or controvers! or abortion! or gay! or homosexual! or gun! or firearm!
Too awesome that "sex!" is in there twice.
But at the same time, I am a little disturbed by how much fun it is to pin this whole thing on La Goodling. The idea that it's all her fault means that either (1) the Justice Department and the White House agreed to put one 30ish-year-old lawyer with a J.D. from Jesus U in charge of hiring everybody in the DOJ, didn't give her any instructions, and then never checked to see how she was doing it, or (2) she was doing exactly what she was told to do. Neither one is all that heartening, but I fear that the joy of dissing her Lexis search (spotted owl or florida recount! hehe!) is going to prevent us all from figuring out that it's probably #2.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Where am I?

The phenomenon of neighborhoods with existing names getting new, sexier (or less dangerously-connotated) names seems to have taken over DC to the extent that I have no idea where I am. Like, I was just trying to use Yelp to come up with places to eat lunch that were near a Blue/Orange line metro stop downtown. My theory was that I would search in the relevant neighborhoods--Downtown, Metro Center, Farragut, K Street. . . but none of those neighborhoods exist in Yelp. I tried to think of synonyms--Lafayette Square? White House? Nope. The neighborhood list is littered with names I am pretty sure are in other cities, or perhaps are retirement communities: West End, NoMa, Ivy City, Gateway. Can I rename my neighborhood WeTargetNoPark? (West of the Target, North of Park Road, of course.) (Just kidding, Mount Pleasant, I wouldn't do that to you. Even if you do sound totally like a retirement community.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dr. Horrible

If you haven't watched Dr. Horrible, you must do so. It's a "sing-along blog"--basically a direct-to-internet musical written and directed by Joss Whedon, about an evil superhero, played by Neil Patrick Harris (aka Doogie H., aka Himself in Harold & Kumar), and his nemesis, Captain Hammer, played by Nathan Fillion (of Firefly, Serenity, and Buffy). Go, watch it now. Go!

The 8th Circuit shows us how to get out of anything

This news is stale by now, but the insights flowing from it have just begun.

The other week the 8th Circuit ruled that a South Dakota law requiring doctors to tell women seeking an abortion that abortion "terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being," didn't require forced ideological speech, because the law also defined "human being" as "an individual living member of the species Homo sapiens, including the unborn human being during the entire embryonic and fetal ages from fertilization to full gestation."

So, once you factored in the definition, the "human being" statement was not ideological, but just a scientific fact (or a tautology): if you abort your fetus, you will be aborting a human fetus. What doctor could argue with that, right?

This reasoning can be applied to all kinds of situations in which the normal meanings of words present can leave you in a sticky spot. So:

-"I always finish my work on time." (True where "on time" is defined to mean "when I get it done.")
-"I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy." (Where "the sheriff" means "the sheriff and another guy, perhaps the deputy.")
-"No, I haven't read spoilers to find out who the 7th through 12th Cylons are." (Where "haven't" means "am not admitting to.")

Very handy. Thanks, wise judges.