11th Hour IC News May 31st, 2007

(News graphic & background designed by Nysie)







New Nightlife District Emerges within the Nation's Capital

NORTHEAST -- There's a new cluster of nightlife and entertainment venues springing up along H Street, in the northeast quadrant of the city near Union Station. The once-abandoned commercial district is now home to some of the city's most interesting hangouts.
Some call it the "Atlas District" in honor of a 1930s movie theatre-turned performing arts space located in the neighborhood. After four years of renovation, the Atlas Performing Arts Center re-opened its doors in Nov. 2006 and is now a symbol of the neighborhood's artistic revival. This 60,000 square foot complex features four new theatres, production and rehearsal spaces, a cafe and offices.



Memorial Day Weekend -- Rolling Thunder, NSO, Parade

On Sunday, May 27, the annual Rolling Thunder bike rally pays homage to the nation's veterans, particularly those still missing in action or prisoners of war. The primary goal is raise awareness of POW/MIA issues. The secondary goal is to get tens of thousands of bikers together. Rolling Thunder usually commands a legion of 15-20,000 bikes and climbing.

On Sunday night, the National Symphony Orchestra performs a free concert on the Capitol Grounds.

On Monday, visitors can catch the National Memorial Day Parade, beginning at noon on Constitution Avenue.








SOUTHWEST -- A minor Canadian occult author was involved in a peculiar evening of strange events which culminated in his being assaulted and mugged.

Maritime Publishing Limited author of the "Under the Mountains" dream fantasy trilogy, Steven MacDonald, was first reported in a strange altercation reported at Bottoms Up Microbrewery in Southwest. The bartender reported being approached by MacDonald, who asked if the bar had a back exit.

The bartender, Michael Wells, suspected MacDonald might be casing the bar for a robbery and refused to elaborate, as all the Fire Code approved exits were functioning fine and available. MacDonald attempted to bribe Wells with $50 to reveal the back exits to the club. MacDonald then said he was a famous author, and he was working on a script.

He further implied that Bottoms Up was being considered for a shooting location and that it would be financially wise for Wells to cooperate in exchange for some film work bringing attention to the pub. Wells indicated that if anyone were to tamper with the back door, the fire alarms would go off. MacDonald inquired about a bathroom window, which Wells indicated was covered by steel bars. MacDonald is given contact information for the owner of the club, and he takes a cab and leaves the bar.

MacDonald's identity was only established later that evening through police investigation of his later assault.

It appears as if MacDonald returned to his hotel room at a nearby Hyatt. Several guests later reported the sounds of an extreme scuffle from MacDonald's room. Investigators found the door to the hotel room had been ripped completely out of its jamb and frame and tossed aside. One guest who asked to remain anonymous, claimed to hear a call for help from MacDonald's room but wasn't sure it wasn't the TV. Witnesses claim they heard the sound of something smashing against the window. Police later found a large crack in the glass of MacDonald's room. MacDonald refused to file charges, though information was taken for insurance purposes for the hotel. MacDonald was moved to another room.

The matter is still pending investigation. MacDonald is a Canadian national here on a temporary work visa for an upcoming book on an unnamed occult topic.






Monica Garrett


Dear Monica,

I want a mate who is taller than me, makes more money than me, no kids, but wants them. Are those unrealistic goals for a possible match? And if so -- what can I do about it? I want to get married.

Miss Perfection

Dear Miss Perfection,

I think the way you signed off your letter speaks volumes...Miss Perfection? While I am a big advocate for both men and women to shoot for the stars in all aspects of their lives, there should be some reasonable guidelines. Look for the best in a person. Is he compassionate, loving, respectful, kind, happy? Shoot for the stars where it matters, and then follow the path that life leads you. You may be pleasantly surprised!



















Entertainment and Gossip

From regular columnist

Kitty Whittier 




If I might have your attention, in between your graveside mourning and barbeques and keggers, please... Good afternoon, my dears. It's story time in the hallowed halls of Washington Gossip Land.

Last we had seen our favorite quarry, the Tricky Troubadour, Loki, was seen playing musical chairs with an ex-stripper and a couple of unknown exotic hotties, then slinking home to the Not Missus bearing gifts and penance.

In the tradition of the May Day festivities though, there seems to be more partner swapping suddenly this month than in a good healthy hour of square-dancing.

It seems the plot thickens. Beginning of May, we see the clean, wholesome antics of our hero and Barista Barbie, canoodling down at their frequent haunt, The Final Word (which is the ONLY final anything in that relationship so far, it seems.)

Just a week later, our eagle eyed volunteers reported said gallant knave living it up at a local watering hole of no real significance, save it was the setting for his reunion with his Persian Kitten of last month, as yet still unnamed (a year's subscription to anyone who can get me her name. That's right, you heard it hear first!). She's in a slinky little black number tonight, hair down, and immediately sets to smooching up our target. It is a good thing that his coffee queen is above reading my tawdry little rag of a column, n'est-ce pas?





Maine lobsterman pulls up rare lobster that looks like one half was cooked; donates whole thing

BAR HARBOR, Maine (AP) -- An eastern Maine lobsterman caught a lobster this week that looks like it's half-cooked. The lobster caught by Alan Robinson in Dyer's Bay that is a typical mottled green on one side; the other side is a shade of orange that looks cooked.
Robinson, of Steuben, donated the lobster to the Mount Desert Oceanarium. Staff members say the odds or finding a half-and-half lobster are 1 in 50 million to 100 million. By comparison, the odds of finding a blue lobster are about 1 in a million.
Robinson, who has been fishing for more than 20 years, said he didn't know what to think when he spotted the odd creature in his trap. "I thought somebody was playing a joke on me," Robinson said. "Once I saw what it was ... it was worth seeing."
Bette Spurling, who works at the oceanarium, said lobster shells are usually a blend of the three primary colors: red, yellow and blue. Those colors mix to form the greenish-brown color of most lobsters. This lobster, though, has no blue in half of its shell, she said.
Bernard Arseneau, a former manager at the oceanarium's lobster hatchery, said lobsters also have a growth pattern in which the two sides develop independently of each other.
The oceanarium has received only three two-toned lobsters in its 35 years of existence, staff members said.

Information from: Bangor Daily News, http://www.bangornews.com
MMVI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.







Northern Ireland enters new power-sharing era

It takes nine years for four parties to pick who will rule over six counties.
By Adrian Croft
BELFAST (Reuters) - Northern Ireland's Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders, arch-foes during decades of bloodshed, launched a new power-sharing government in the British province on Tuesday aiming to put a final end to violence.
The government headed by firebrand Protestant cleric Ian Paisley completes a remarkable transformation of Northern Ireland from a symbol of violence and religious hatred into a peaceful, thriving community.
Paisley and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, his former foe and now deputy first minister, took a pledge of office at a surprisingly light-hearted ceremony at the imposing Stormont parliament building outside Belfast.
The government, which will oversee day-to-day affairs, will help to ensure stability in the province which, since a 1998 peace deal, has largely ended 30 years of sectarian conflict that killed 3,600 people.
The party leaders and high-profile guests including the British and Irish prime ministers and a U.S. delegation including Irish-American Senator Edward Kennedy stressed the momentous, historic nature of the event. "From the depths of my heart I can say to you today that I believe Northern Ireland has come to a time of peace, a time when hate will no longer rule," Paisley said.
McGuinness said it was a historic day, noting: "What we're going to see today is one of the mightiest leaps forward that this process has seen in almost 15 years."
The Northern Ireland "Troubles" saw British soldiers in the streets in combat gear and a concerted campaign of gun and bomb attacks by Irish Republican Army guerrillas, which claimed about half the victims in their fight to break away from British rule.
The IRA also took the war to the British mainland, believing attacks there would have far more propaganda impact. It fired mortars bombs at the prime minister's residence, blew up pubs in Birmingham, attacked London's financial centre and came within an inch of killing the prime minister Margaret Thatcher when a bomb exploded at a hotel in Brighton.


The 80-year-old Paisley heads Northern Ireland's biggest Protestant group, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which is committed to Northern Ireland remaining a part of Britain.
The mainly Catholic Sinn Fein, the political ally of the IRA which fought a bloody war against British rule, ultimately wants to see the province united with the predominantly Catholic Irish Republic to the south.
Until recently, Paisley refused to talk to Sinn Fein, which he viewed as indistinguishable from the IRA. McGuinness is a former member of the IRA.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, expected to announce his resignation date this week after witnessing the breakthrough in the peace process, said Northern Ireland's people had achieved something many said could not be done. "You have lived through the pain and the suffering of the past," Blair told them. "You will never forget for some it is impossible to forgive."
A 1998 peace accord largely ended 30 years of sectarian conflict, but the province has long sought greater political stability that the power-sharing agreement aims to provide.
The home-rule assembly was first set up under the 1998 Good Friday peace deal, but Britain suspended it and resumed direct rule from London in 2002 after Sinn Fein offices at Stormont were raided by police investigating an alleged IRA spy ring.
The peace dividend is evident in Belfast where the economy has picked up and construction cranes dominate the skyline.



By Kevin O'Sullivan, The Mirror (UK)

IT'S not the kind of website you'd deliberately search for. Rent-A-German is more something you'd stumble across in a bored moment while surfing the net. But once you've started wondering why anyone would want to fork out up to e1,200 (£750) for the services (strictly above board) of a German, you can't get the idea out of your head.
A few days later, I'm at Gatwick airport waiting for Sebastian, a 26-year-old student from Munich. He arrives bang on time, of course. So there seems little point in asking to see his passport. He shows it anyway. He's definitely German.
I hand over e500 (I strike a hard bargain) and start wondering what to do with him. His contract states that as well as being entitled to three meals a day, two litres of water and one hour of daylight, he can "decline to participate in activities. "If the German does not feel comfortable in the material or emotional environment, he is free to leave."
The testimonials on the website at www.treib-stoff.com/rentagerman/ seem positive enough, but hiring your own Teuton is anything but cheap. There's the family package. For 800 Euros, your German will cook food at your home, entertain the kids, and discuss sport and politics in a distinctive Boris Becker accent. The business package, at 1,200 Euros, is for the well-heeled executive. Your German will travel with you to conferences and chat during coffee breaks. But rent a German for a week for 950 Euros and you get a free extra German for a weekend of your choice. What a bargain!
Sebastian is famished and I warn him that he'd better digest the gentle art of cooking a full English breakfast - an instruction that falls on deaf ears because he has no idea what one is. During the hour-long drive to my house, he chats about Germany's record unemployment figures, the general distrust of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and the social unrest in his country. I talk of eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans, mushrooms, toast and the fact that my hunger level is fast becoming an international crisis.
Chez O'Sullivan, a stone's throw from the home of Sebastian's heroine, Gwyneth Paltrow ("Would she like to rent a German?" he begs), I put him straight to work. In the natty apron I provide, my German is soon hurling food into a frying pan and brewing up some good old English tea. In superior Brit mode, I demand that Sebastian waits upon me and my wife Henrietta and we tuck into his cuisine. And damned good it is, too. So good that I allow him to cook himself a plateful, on the understanding that he sloshes HP sauce all over it. It's his first "full English". He loves it. He even gives a mug of tea the thumbs up.
THE British way of life is starting to suit my German. Until I up the ante and turn him into my very own slave. I get the poor guy to Hoover my carpets, walk my dog and even sand my front door. Yes, it's unfair, but he hasn't gone on strike yet. So what next? How about renting a couple of DVDs? Off we go to my local Blockbuster where I pick up Great World War 2 Battles and The Battle Of Britain. Sebastian seems unimpressed. What, don't Germans like movies?
Then I take him sightseeing around London and we proceed directly to the Imperial War Museum, where my crass plans to rub his nose in it fall disastrously flat. Gazing at the instruments of war, death and destruction we both fall silent. There is no comedy value in this. Sebastian tells me: "In Germany my generation was taught of all the wrongs of Adolf Hitler. As a nation we are so worried about making the same mistakes again that we dare not even joke about other countries. We are obsessed about not being racist."
On that bombshell, we head to the Daily Mirror's offices and some serious business - I need my filing cabinet moved and my colleagues need cups of tea. After I show him our proud photo montage of England's legendary 5-1 annihilation of Germany, he's soon hard at work. Desks are shifted and tea is delivered. My ritual humiliation of this charming, sweet-natured man is backfiring. And my female colleagues are enraptured by my handsome rented German.
Down to the pub for a pint of English bitter and much chatting-up of the ladies. Just like German football teams, Sebastian has a winning way about him and soon I'm on the defensive as he draws all the admiring looks. In fact, both of us have been laughing all day at the mad notion of this nonsensical website. The man behind it is Sebastian's brother, Johannes Blank - a 30-year-old website designer who grew tired of people raising their eyebrows when he revealed his nationality. Over the phone, Johannes says, "Whenever we Germans are abroad and we're asked where we're from everyone goes, 'Oh... Germany!' So I thought, why don't they hand over some cash to find out what we're really like?"
Since Rent-A-German was launched in March it has become an unlikely money-spinner. More than 200 Germans have signed up to be rented out, and business is booming. One amused American general is even said to have floated the idea of hiring 5,000 of Johannes' team with a view to sending them all to Iraq!
My day has uncovered an amazing fact. Contrary to everything we Brits believe, there is common comical ground between our two countries. Waving Sebastian off at the airport he even tries a couple of German jokes on me. "Karl Marx is in hell, being forced to walk everywhere with an enormous rock on his back," he says. "Buckling under the weight he is enraged to see Adolf Hitler sitting at a table scribbling in a notebook. He asks the Devil, 'How come I have to carry this rock around for eternity and all Hitler has to do is sit there writing?' 'Well,' says the Devil, 'He's translating all your books into Yiddish'."
And there's time for one more before Sebastian runs to catch his flight: "How do an English couple put in a new light bulb? The wife holds the light bulb while the husband goes outside to twist the house around."
Now that's NOT funny!








But wait, my lovelies, for there is more yet to come. About this time, who darkens our door but that naughty little bar crashing Canook from sword and sorcery land, Steven MacDonald, lurking about Loki's club. Let's hope he doesn't try the bribery for the fire exit trick again; that one didn't end so well.

And it gets even better. We can only guess MacD was scoping out Loki's toys that night, and borrowed one a few days later, as an interesting ménage was spotted at another unremarkable cafe where Steven, the Persian Princess, and a gentleman we believe is usually seen dating none other than our own advice queen, Monica Garrett, are together playing cards. Thankfully strip poker was off the menu. We will have to ask Our Lady of Sage Relationship Advice not only his name, but whether she knows whither he goes.

And the ante goes up again... Same week, MacDonald, DJ Nyx, the unnamed blonde who used to hang out with Loki a lot until Felicity showed up, and an unnamed redheaded biker babe, were all seen downing their poison of choice together at Dark Asgard, sans their host. Steven brought his cards again but nothing seemed to be happening with them other than a lot of nervous random shuffling and an occasional round of Poker. The women end up leaving first, the men duking it out to the bitter end.

I guess Monica was tired of waiting at home for her beau to call, and, yes, same week, was seen down in the Love Boat, er I mean Dark Asgard, forgive me, on the dance floor taking informal dance lessons from none other than the Princess of the Pole, Miz Nouveau. Unfortunately there were no episodes of Girls Gone Wild to be had here; it seemed to be very above board, if you can imagine a white bread advice columnist trying to dance like a goth.

And the ante goes up, yes, again. Following week, Loki and his good girl invite the blonde and another gentleman, a bookish sort we've seen before somewhere and who seemed to be with the blonde, to dinner at his private apartment above Plato's Retreat, sorry, I did it again, Dark Asgard. The blonde and her escort were eventually seen leaving, so nothing too hot and heavy must have transpired, or else they clean up quickly.

It seems Loki's little law student gets on fine with his exes, as soon the blonde and her were chatting up in the Final Word, with an unnamed young man who reeked of Capitol Hill Page. We'll have to keep an eye out for this one. Sources say he's been spotted at that leather club as well, sans the women.

Until next time. No doubt this segment has been as exhausting to read and keep up with as it was to write. Ta ta now.