thoughtful. entertaining. random.

Day: August 11, 2006

cool new dc hotel: hotel palomar

sprite’s folks are in town this weekend, and they’re staying at the tricked-out “new” DC hotel, the Hotel Palomar.

In a former life, this hotel was the increasingly-run-down Raddison Barcelo, once one of the nicer mid-line hotels in DC. Its restaurant, Gabriel, was once noted for its tapas and wonderful brunch. But the Barcelo fell into musical-owner syndrome, which caused the place to go downhill, and caused Gabriel to lose its award-winning chef.

For the past year, Kimpton Hotels has been throwing millions of dollars into improvements to the old structure, and the result is really great: a hip, fun hotel with colorful furniture, a laid-back attitude, and a lovely, open lobby. The rooms are really nice: warm, with big, comfy seatnig areas, a functional work area with high-speed internet and a great desk chair, a cool bathroom (with an oddly-placed toilet, a hold-over from the old place), and a nice palette of M&Ms.

The place even has in-room spa treatments as an option, as well as a wine reception every evening at 5. It’s very, very cool, and a nice addition to the Dupont Circle neighborhood.

It’s one heck of an improvement over the old place, and a place I’d recommend to friends and family who want a full hotel experience.

why u.s. airport security is nothing more than theatre

If you’ve flown in the U.S. in the past few years, you know the drill:

  • Whip out ID and boarding pass
  • Answer five-or-so questions about your luggage
  • Have a TSA agent dust your bags for explosive residue
  • Get in a long line for mag & bag
  • Present your ID and boarding pass again
  • Remove your shoes, belt, watch, keys, change, etc., before you go through the metal detector
  • Take out your laptop or camcorder from your packed-to-the gills carry-on bag
  • Walk through the metal detector and be stared at like you’re a thief.
  • Go through the air-puffer to be tested for “suspicious materials on your person” (optional)
  • Watch your bag go through the X-ray while agents pay it only cursory glances
  • Get a full-on bag search and wanding (optional, if you are flying last-minute

And you can now add to that list:

  • Dispose of all liquid-based items in your carry-on bag, other than infant formula and prescription medications.
  • Be forced to check all electronic devices, including laptop computers, mobile phones, DVD players, iPods, CD players (if flying from the UK)
  • Be forced to check all other “non-essentials,” including books, toothbrushes, and so forth (again, if flying from the UK)

The way things are going, the parody “prophesy” of Tony Hendra’s 1989 book, The 90’s: A Look Back, will come true: we’ll all be flying in the nude.

A few choice words for this so-called security:


It is, to put it bluntly, a dog & pony show that does nothing to prevent actual terrorist activities. Sure, it looks like security is doing something, but it really isn’t. A determined terrorist – either solo or in a group – will carry out his or her plot without any care of what the TSA agents are doing to “prevent disaster.”

It simply looks “good” on TV, or to Ma and Pa Kettle – but in reality, it achieves next to nothing in terms of prevention.

Don’t believe me? Ask a pro or two:

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