See other templatesSee other templates

Welcome!

Thanks for joining us! We write about sports, food, life and anything else interesting here in Ashburn and Loudoun County, all while cramming as many features into the site as possible.

Our staff consists of one old man and a dog named Maggie The WonderBeagle. Want to know more? Click on the icon below:

About Us

0

Well, I Thought I Was Done With Twitter...

Well, I WAS done with Twitter.

But thanks to one Mr. Ricky LaBlue, I have temporarily reactivated the account. Allow me to explain why.

I think Ricky is a very good young writer, and he and I have had several conversations over the last two years about the art of writing. I have become a fan of his not only because he writes well, but also because you can tell him that one of his stories could have been worded a little differently and he doesn’t get offended. He views writing as a craft, much as I do, so it’s not surprising that despite our 118-year age difference, we get along well.

A few weeks ago he invited me to be on the Hokie Hangover podcast that he, Andrew Alix and Mike McDaniel do as part of the Sports Illustrated Allhokies.Com website. Twice the date he wanted to do the podcasts occurred at the same time it was 70 and sunny outside, so I was on the golf course. A third time, he actually had a big-time athlete agree to come on (Virginia Tech men’s basketball signee Joe Bamisile).

But Wednesday of this week, there was the perfect storm. It was raining outside, so my regular golf outing got postponed. And as it turned out, Ricky was down to the “has a pulse and can speak for at least 45 minutes” portion of his potential podcast guest list. So Wednesday night, I called in and we had a great conversation.

I will admit, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. If you added up the ages of the other three, they were pretty close to equaling mine alone. If Earnest Hemingway was still alive and writing, he’d have called it “The Old Man and the Three.” And sure enough, half my answers took everyone back to the 70s, 80s and 90s to provide some perspective for other eventual comments.

1
Continue reading
0

If You Are Thinking About Registering Or Subscribing....

I got an email question about registering for the site a little while ago, so allow me to add a short blurb about how all this works.

The site has a lot of features that allow people to register and do all sorts of things, mainly because two years ago, an old friend decided to leave the friendly confines of the newspaper he worked for and wanted to strike out on his own. So I built him a site that allowed for paid subscriptions, an area for free stories, ads, the whole works. We were partners for four months, and at that point I gave him the site because while it was fun to build, I never expected to be part of the operation long term.

It was all based off the same basic architecture of this site, so as I’d add a feature to his, I added a feature to mine. But it's never been my intent to charge for anything, as I do all this for my own personal enjoyment, and nothing else. There is no fee to subscribe, just as there are no fees if I run an ad to help out a friend. The site has never charged a penny for anything in the 14-odd years it has existed in various forms.

So if you’d like to register, please do. It will make it easier when you comment, and your name and information will populate automatically. If you’d like to get email notifications, go ahead and subscribe, and the site should notify you when new content gets posted. I personally don’t do that with sites because if there’s a lot of content in one day, you’re going to get a bunch of emails. But if stuff is posted infrequently, it’s a nice tool to know when to check back. And if you have a business that could use a little extra exposure, if I've got room to run an ad, I'll be glad to help.

Just a word of warning: I haven’t turned any of this stuff on in two years, so when a couple people asked about registering and subscribing today, I probably messed up those accounts. I think that's now all  been fixed, but if you encounter any issues, just email me and we’ll figure this out together 😊

2
Continue reading
15

After 10 Years On Twitter, I Think I've Posted Enough

When I first tried Twitter a decade ago, I thought it was really cool.

It was like going to a bar and meeting a bunch of people with similar interests to your own. You’d start the evening strangers and by night’s end you were friends, as you pulled for the same teams, argued points of trivia and memories of days gone by, and found yourself feeling part of a community.

It was nice.

But while Twitter was at first that person at the bar who had one or two drinks and acted funny, interesting and totally unfiltered, Twitter has now graduated into being that same guy who has had a few more beverages and turned into a mean drunk. The days of scrolling through a timeline in the morning and walking away feeling like you learned something have now given way to the feeling of wanting to tell everyone to kiss your backside.

Which I no longer wish to deal with.

I’ve always tried to take the high road and avoid Twitter battles at all cost. I try to think responses through several times before posting and if I find I’m not saying something positive or at least fair, I delete it. I avoid politics and try to respect everyone whose path I cross.

But as I scroll through my timeline several times a day lately, I’m finding it harder and harder to feel entertained. Or informed. Or just about any other emotion than “that’s a crock.” The reasonable people on a national level seem to be disappearing from my timeline. The reasonable people on a more local level have stopped commenting. And the topics you can get into a reasonable debate with anyone these days has gotten smaller and smaller.

Twitter has become one giant straw man argument that reminds me of the line from an old movie called War Games, where a super computer called the WOPR notes “the only winning move is not to play.” It doesn’t mean there aren’t nice people on the medium as probably one of the greatest moments of my life was set up by something on Twitter.

This was a decade ago, when I noticed a single mom who was a huge Nats fan was posting about how much her two small children loved the team and baseball. I happened to have a box of old Nats bobbleheads, umbrellas, hats etc. in the basement I had gotten from a gig I had with a local radio station and asked if she’d like some. She said yes, and we agreed to meet at a Starbucks here in Ashburn.

2
Continue reading
Recent Comments
Guest — Bonnie Sumner

Is it possible to register?

Hope I’m registering correctly!
Sunday, 31 May 2020 16:17
Dave Scarangella

You are!

You should be receiving an email that asks you to pick a password soon!
Sunday, 31 May 2020 18:08
John Schick

Sorry to see ya go

Well said Dave. Have enjoyed the Tweets banter, but I get it. I won’t be far behind, I expect.
Sunday, 31 May 2020 16:51
0

One Heck Of A Day: Making Someone Laugh, Think, And Cry....

One week ago, I got this crazy idea that I should try to write 30 stories in the next 30 days and post them on this website. The rationale was it would give me a routine to get into, it would be something to do, and it would keep me from endlessly scrolling through Twitter, of which no good can ever come.

I had serious doubts I’d actually do it, filing it away with other thoughts such as exercising 5 days a week for six straight months, giving up my 6-cup-a-day coffee addiction/limiting my caffeine intake for an entire month, or spending a few days every week cleaning up the basement until all the old stuff that’s been down there for 20 years has finally been thrown away.

All those things start out with the best of intentions, but the motivation seems to fade quickly. So far in week one, I’ve done what I said I would, writing 9 stories in seven days. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with writing, as even when I was making a living doing it long ago, I didn’t particularly like to write. I did like what I read when I was done, so I was glad I did it.

That’s because the good stories you write have to come from somewhere inside of you. I used to be a sportswriter years ago, and quickly found out that anyone can tell you the score, what the key plays were and who the players were that made them. These days, I’ve counseled several young writers over the years that most people can watch the game you’re covering via television, so telling them about what their eyes already saw is redundant. You have to tell them more.

Jim Valvano once said “To me there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two is think - spend some time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think and cry, that's a heck of a day.”

2
Continue reading
0

He's Smart. Talented. Annoying. And Today, In The HOF

If you have followed sports in the state of Virginia, and spent any time in the western part of the state, you undoubtedly know the name Doug Doughty. Sometime later today, Doug – who has been writing for the Roanoke Times for 44 years – will be recognized for his great work and will be inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

I’ve known Doug for over 40 of those 44 years. It would be an understatement to say I’m proud of my old friend, and that the honor is well-deserved. As is the case in such situations, there are stories in newspapers today listing all of his accomplishments over those 44 years.

I, conversely, will now tell a few tales that are NOT in those stories.

I knew of Doug when I was a student at Virginia Tech, but didn't really get to know him until one fateful night during the Richmond Times-Dispatch basketball tournament, where the Hokies and UVA were playing. It was the 70s, and I was working my way through school as a sportswriter for a weekly newspaper called the Blacksburg Sun. After the first round, everyone filed their stories and then went to the media room to imbibe in strong drink, strong stories, and needle each other. As a youngster, I went to watch the likes of Bill Brill, Bill Millsaps, Jennings Culley, Doug and the other top sportswriters in the state. As the hour wore late, however, my youth served me well and I outlasted just about everyone in drink and storytelling. 

I paid a hard price, and when I woke up in the hotel sometime after noon, I felt horrible. Knowing I had to work that evening, I forced myself downstairs to eat something. With my head on fire, I looked across the restaurant and only one other guy was there, wearing sunglasses, eating breakfast. At 3:30 PM. It was Doug, so I went over to his table, paid him a compliment of professional respect for surviving, and a friendship was born.

3
Continue reading
0

Coming Face To Face With Facebook

Have you ever known something was going on, you knew it wasn’t good, but you just didn’t want to know? Like calling to get the results of your physical when you knew you’d been eating like every day was Fat Tuesday? Or going online to see just how big the balance on your American Express was a few days after Christmas?

Well, that’s sort of been my deal with Facebook. I strongly suspected that they weren’t exactly being on the up and up with most of us in terms of what they were doing with our information. But I didn’t really push because I knew if I did it wouldn’t be good. But last night during a break between basketball games in the NCAA Tournament, I did.

Facebook allows you to download the information they apparently are selling all over the world like an ice cream vendor on a hot day at Myrtle Beach, which I did. At first, I didn’t think it was such a big deal. There were folders and folders of pictures I had posted since 2009, and it was sort of nice to have them all in one big place if I ever wanted to find one. Over time, thanks to the advances in cameras on our phones, I’ve accumulated a lot of great pics and they are spread all over multiple computers and devices in my home. The good ones, I thought, are in this Facebook folder.

But then I started looking at the folder marked “html” and clicked on “ad.htm”. There were about 35 ad categories Facebook determined I should be part of. There was a history of every ad I’d ever clicked on. There were advertisers who were sold my contact info, many of whom I had never done business with and never will do business with.

Click on your profile info, and it’s the same as you’d see online. Click on contact info, however, it’s the email addresses of every person in your personal contacts. I must have early in my Facebook history approved an app that accessed my contacts and they are all there, probably sold to other companies.

The comes the histories. Every post, every pic, every video, every direct message, everyone you’ve friended, everyone you have unfriended…it’s all there with dates and times. Every time you logged into Facebook? It’s there too with date, time, IP address, the ID number of your device, the browser you used…everything.

4
Continue reading
0

Protect Your Data, And Never Mess With A Photoshop Master

Since Facebook has us all thinking about just how much of our personal information is out on the web, I conducted a simple experiment this morning:

I entered my name into Google

The first group of items that returned were no surprise: Links to articles I’d be quoted in, old stories on me from back when I was in the business world, who I am on Twitter, etc. I expected that.

But then came wave after wave of sites that claimed to have all the information on me going back to the time of my birth, and for just $49, they’d sell it all to you. Many offered teasers in the first paragraph, and after scrolling through them I saw not only my name, but how old I am, my address, my home phone, the names of my wife and daughter, every town I’ve ever lived in, the addresses and home phone numbers of those places, etc.

About the only thing I didn’t see was my cell phone number, social security number and blood type. The rest is out there. Most even offer you the opportunity to click on a link near my address so you can see an aerial photo of my neighborhood and directions for how to drive right to my home so as to not inconvenience you if you decide to stalk me.

This is more than Facebook. It’s like every credit card application, every company you’ve ever registered with, every time  you’ve interacted with the business world, someone has sold your information, and companies out there compile it in a database and try to sell it.

It’s like, why even try?

2
Continue reading
0

Back In The Day, You Could Disagree & Still Respect Someone

One of the great things about having a child is realizing they have no idea what you’ve done in life. It’s as if they think you’ve never left the house, and if you did, you certainly didn’t meet anyone interesting.

Such was the case Sunday when my daughter was reading The Washington Post Magazine. The cover story was about a businessman and gay activist by the name of Mitchell Gold, and I mentioned I’d like to read it to see how he was doing.

“You KNOW him?” my daughter asked, as if I had just grown a second head.

“Of course I do,” I replied, as apparently my daughter didn’t notice I had left the house for 25 years and worked in the furniture industry, allowing me to meet a lot of interesting people, including one Mitchell Gold. “He and I never got along, but he’s a good guy. He even built a piece of furniture for us that he customized just for you.”

Since she was 5 at the time, I suppose it was fair she didn’t totally recall all of that. So I began telling her the story of Mitchell Gold, and it immediately bought to mind how different times are from way back then. These days, you couldn’t disagree with someone the way Mitchell and I did back in 2000 and survive.

That’s because according to the rules of social media today, it seems that if you disagree with someone, they have to die. You have to destroy them. There is no middle ground. They need to lose their job, lose their career and be branded with a scarlet letter if you have a different view. Disliking them and respecting them at the same time is not allowed.

10
Continue reading

Login

Current Subscribers Log In Here

heavy intensity rain

55.6°F

Ashburn

Heavy Intensity Rain

Humidity: 93%

Wind: 8.05 m/h

Thu

heavy intensity rain

50/62°F

Fri

heavy intensity rain

42/53°F

Sat

sky is clear

35/51°F

They Finally Did It...

They Did It

After a long and bumpy road, The Washington Nationals finally won the World Series. And made an old man in Ashburn cry...

Never Grow Old...

Never Grow Old

A trip to Spring Training reminded me we're all still kids at heart, and no matter how old, you keep playing until they get you out.

Gone But Never Forgotten...

Doodle

My faithful dogs probably rode shotgun on hundreds of stories I've written since 2003. This one is for you, Doodle & Schnoodle.

Go to top