Friday, March 30, 2007

These are the droids we're looking for

Weak. Not only does Silver Spring have a shortage of standard mailboxes, but we weren't even given a single one of the new new R2D2 boxes. I figured Silver Spring was large enough to warrant one, but that I just hadn't come across it yet. It turns out I was wrong. Not only did Silver Spring not receive one, but the whole of Montgomery County got shut out. Hell, the entirety of the Maryland suburbs was excluded. According to the official list at starwars.com, the only city in Maryland to get one was Baltimore. By now its probably already been stolen and melted down for the steel.

Heck, I was in some BFE town out west last week and even they were deemed worthy of hosting a postal droid. Despite there being a dozen in the DC metro area, they all went to DC and the Virginia suburbs. I guess we'll just have to settle for making our own.

First there was Greedo shooting first, then Jar Jar Binks and now this?? Burn in hell Lucas!!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Discovery Trimming Down?

Will April 9th, 2007 be a date that lives in infamy at Silver Spring’s most prominent employer? A dark cloud is hanging over One Discovery Place, where rumors are swirling over a mass layoff that may or may not happen on that date. Details are still sketchy (at least to all but the higher-ups), but if true, these cuts would follow the gutting of the education division that occurred late last year. It has been speculated that as many as 500 employees may get the ax, although certainly all of those wouldn’t come from the Silver Spring office. Apparently, it has become such common knowledge that even Elliot of DC 101 has been talking about it on his morning show. Expect a run on tissues at local drugstores a week from Monday.

This may be the next stage in a master plan to take Discovery public. Earlier today, Discovery paid $1.275 billion (and the Travel Channel) for Cox Communication’s share of the company.

No word if the company's cost-cutting measures will preclude the return of Chompy. Let's pray to God they don't...

UPDATE: Here's some (leaked) details about the layoffs, via Broadcasting and Cable.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Silver Spring to Get Mini Golf - Or Not

As you've probably noticed, I haven't been posting much lately. Unfortunately, The Man has me working too much lately so I haven't been able to dedicate a lot of time to the blog. I will try to rectify this in the coming weeks. Anyway, I somehow managed to miss an important (to me) bit of news last week.

I've already dedicated a post to my belief that Silver Spring needs a miniature golf course. It turns out that I wasn't the only one who thought we deserved mini golf, as the county's Golf Course Master Plan included the construction of one at Sligo Creek Golf Course. Now that I am on the verge of having a course within a short stroll from my house, my own neighbors are trying to deny me my dream.

I could care less about the driving range and all that other stuff, although I would like to learn to play "real" golf at some point. What interests me is the plan to construct one or more mini golf courses:

Under the plan, the other big site change would be the addition of miniature golf: Miller said the Revenue Authority intends to put in one 18-hole course and may add a second later. He described the design of the course as "peaceful" -- "no windmills or clowns or things of that sort," he said.

(Clowns scare me, but what's wrong with windmills?)

In the county planning meeting last week, the golf course's neighbors claimed that the proposed changes would create a "amusement park atmosphere" and would cause gridlock, light pollution, noise pollution and dangerous conditions for pedestrians on that stretch of Sligo Creek Parkway. I don't necessary disagree with anything they say, but come on - MINI GOLF!

Look, jettison the driving range idea if this bothers people too much, but for the love of God, spare the mini golf!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Speed Cameras are (Almost) Here

As mentioned before, Silver Spring will soon see it's first speed cameras. (We already have plenty of red light cameras, of course.)

According to the MoCo Police website, the following roads in Silver Spring will be subject to automated speed enforcement:

Wayne Avenue
Piney Branch Road
Calverton Boulevard
Powder Mill Road
Cannon Road

Until April 12th, you will just get a warning in the mail, but after that, it's a $40 fine, which is a bargain when compared to the $75 red light camera tickets. Of course, a majority of your fine will likely end up in the pockets of American Traffic Solutions, which already gets $20+ for each ticket issued by DC speed cameras. Then again, a lot of those don't even work. At least you don't get points.

ATS was sure happy to get the speed camera bill passed in Annapolis last year:

"Passage in the House was a total team effort from leadership to the Montgomery County delegation to the leadership," said David Carroll, a lobbyist for Capitol Strategies who represented Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions, which sells speed camera systems. "It was whole hog"


Not that they care if traffic cameras don't necessarily reduce the number of crashes. (Note that I am not advocating speeding or running red lights; I just don't like the whole traffic camera scam.)

Friday, March 09, 2007

News 'N Notes - Catching Up Edition

Work has been incredibly busy the past couple weeks, hence the lack of posts during that time. I’ve still managed to cobble together a few miscellaneous Silver Spring tidbits, so here you go…

- The old Storehouse Furniture location at Georgia and Ellsworth will be the home of the Washington area's first Marimekko store.


The 4,000-square-foot space at 8519 Georgia Ave. (formerly Storehouse Furniture) will house 120 bolts of Marimekko fabric as well as housewares and clothing.

Here's the website for the new store.

- Our old friend of "Tour de Montgomery" fame is back with a follow-up post. Feel free to comment.

- Silver Spring has 300 active gang members. We've even got 12-year-olds stabbing people. I've personally killed way more gang members than that over the past week or so, but of course that was playing Crackdown on my Xbox...

- If you want to see traffic around Silver Spring, Google Maps now has an overlay which displays traffic data. Here it is for Silver Spring. If you want a live view of traffic conditions, you can also view the traffic camera images on the county's website.



- Here's an interesting old postcard for the Villa Rosa restaurant, which was once located at Fenton St. and Ellsworth Dr., now the heart of the "revitalized" Silver Spring.



- Well, it looks like the predicted protests over Discovery’s “Jesus’ Tomb” show never materialized, although the security is still at a higher-than-normal level. Personally I didn’t watch the show, though it is sitting on my DVR awaiting viewing.

- I'm sure everyone's already seen this by now, but the Post had an article on the conversion of the old Silver Spring firehouse to a Hook & Ladder brewpub.

Have a great weekend.

"East Bethesda"

I noticed that all the checkout aisles at the Whole Foods in Silver Spring now stock Bethesda Magazine, because obviously everyone who lives in Silver Spring (or at least those who shop at WF) must have Bethesda envy.

The magazine describes itself as “a magazine written for and about people who live in the southern Montgomery County towns of Bethesda, Cabin John, Chevy Chase, Glenn Echo (sic), Kensington, Potomac, Rockville and Silver Spring.” So what if Bethesda is much smaller than Silver Spring? Bethesda is clearly what all other SoMoCo areas aspire to be, so they get the title treatment…

Well, at least parts of Silver Spring haven't stooped to the level of Rockville, where developers claim their condos are in "Bethesda", when no reasonable person with any familiarity with county geography would consider this to be the case. In general, I feel like there is some sort of stigma associated with Rockville addresses. Most of what I consider Rockville is now referred to as some directional variation of Potomac or Bethesda (and even Kensington).

Of course, if you enter Midtown Bethesda North's "Bethesda" mailing address into Google Maps, the city reverts back to Rockville. Who do they think they're fooling? Recent transplants who don't know the area but heard that Bethesda is "nice"?

Like I've said before, we could get our property values increased if we just started calling Silver Spring "East Chevy Chase" or "East Bethesda". Then Wheaton could follow suit and call itself "Northeast Bethesda". We might even get a good bagel place out of it.

At the current rate, in 20 years the entire state of Maryland will be comprised of cities with "Bethesda" or "Potomac" somewhere in their name.