Why I Love Adams Morgan

Via Prince of Petworth, this is a really cool promotional video for my current neighborhood, Adams Morgan. This is one of my favorite areas of the District for its diverse array of small businesses and locally-owned restaurants in such a small area.  For indecisive diners like Kate and I, the options can be paralyzing, but it’s nice to not have to walk more than a few blocks for the city’s best falafel, coffee, BBQ,  pizza, pho, beer, fine dining, etc.

Also, while there’s no direct mention of the historic jumbo slice places, I can only assume the director of this video had them in mind when he/she included a mention of “great pizza”.  (That’s a joke, kind of.)

Football, Concussions, and the President

President Obama’s interview with Franklin Foer and Chris Hughes in The New Republic has attracted a lot of attention for comments the President made about working with Republicans and proposed gun control legislation, but the most interesting segment of the interview for me was a one-off question on what Obama thinks of emerging consensus that professional football poses a permanent risk of brain damage for its athletes:

FF: Sticking with the culture of violence, but on a much less dramatic scale: I’m wondering if you, as a fan, take less pleasure in watching football, knowing the impact that the game takes on its players.

[Obama:] I’m a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football. And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence. In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won’t have to examine our consciences quite as much.

I tend to be more worried about college players than NFL players in the sense that the NFL players have a union, they’re grown men, they can make some of these decisions on their own, and most of them are well-compensated for the violence they do to their bodies. You read some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on. That’s something that I’d like to see the NCAA think about.

This is something of a stunning answer for how well it mirrors my own evolving feelings about football.  I played football for over eight years at the youth and high school level, and made it through a grueling pre-season of collegiate practices before dislocating my knee for a second time and calling it quits.  I knew several players who struggled with concussions, and as was the case at the time, coaches encouraged players to snap out of it or take a day off before getting back out there.  Concussions were seen as a temporary injury, like getting the wind knocked out of you.  Today, medical science tells us that this was a very wrong assumption.

I love the sport of football, but as a former participant and current fan, I am pretty alarmed by the NFL’s lack of responsibility over this issue.  Clearly, players are suffering – if not while in the direct spotlight of their career on the field, then certainly in its aftermath.  This is a multi-million dollar industry that seems to understand the risk into which it puts its employees, and neglects to do anything about it.  This makes it very hard to be as passionate a fan of football as I once was.  I find myself, like the President, hoping that the football played in the future is a little less exciting and a little more safe.  It will make it easier to grapple with the moral culpability of cheering violence on the field, and will also make the decision about allowing a future child to play the sport a little less terrifying.

Guns in America

This isn’t a trick in the “Florida or Ohio” game, this one is just from Virginia:

An unidentified 22-year-old man carrying a loaded AR-15 semi-automatic rifle shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday was questioned and released by police at the  Kroger at  Hydraulic Road and Emmet Street.

Charlottesville police Lt. Ronnie Roberts said the man did not break any laws. Since he legally owned the rifle and it was not concealed, he was within his rights, Roberts said.


Shopper Monica Green said she fled the store and called 911 after she saw the man. Green said she warned people in the parking lot not to enter the store.

Totally crazy, but totally legal.  This is what the gun control debate is about – not the right to bear arms, but the right to incite mass panic (or worse) by being sick and loaded.

Jam of the Week

As those who know me already know, I’m a bit of a new music snob enthusiast, and compulsively curate playlists of new finds and old favorites on Spotify.  I also frequently stream music from turntable.fm an online radio format that caters to music discovery and new artist promotion.  This twin obsession leads me to hear a lot of music released each year, and I always feel compelled to rank or sort it at the end of the year for a list of bests.  However, my memory isn’t always great, and the task of identifying and sorting a year’s worth of gems at the end is pretty daunting.  So I’ve begun curating cumulative playlists of my favorites as I find them – hence, I’ve already created two Best of 2013 playlists (tracks and albums separately) though we’re not even clear of January.

To highlight some of the gems within the gems, I’m going to start posting my favorite new addition each week using this fancy Spotify embed widget.

My jam this week is Jessie Ware’s “If You’re Never Gonna Move”.  Fans of the sentimentality or lyrical message of Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” may find this a musical spiritual animal as well, as Ware describes a love off the dance floor who she’ll slowly dance toward to attract attention.  It’s a sexy slow-jam version of the Robyn tune, but no less infectious. Check it out.

First Listen: The Joy Formidable – ‘Wolf’s Law’

Rolling Stone has a sneak preview of the new The Joy Formidable album streaming on their website.  As a big fan of the Welsh rock band’s first release, 2011’s The Big Roar, I’ve looked forward to this release for some time.  The band played a benefit concert at a church in D.C. this past November and debuted a few of the new tracks on stage, but I’ve been waiting to hear how they sound on tape.

Well, the wait is over and they sound pretty great. Continue reading