Friday, November 30, 2012


Kim Kardashian may not be able to obtain a divorce, but right now, you can score big savings on her line of bedding and home decoration items at Sears in Westfield Montgomery Mall.

The Kardashian sisters' Kardashian Kollection is on sale, and the discounts are significant.

As I mentioned when I wrote about the Kardashian Kollection apparel line, it's encouraging that Sears is associating themselves with younger, relevant celebrities.  Too many of their endorsers were simply out of the stream of pop culture consciousness in the past.


It will officially be December on Saturday, and that means Christmas and holiday events will be happening all around.

Saturday starts with pet photos with Santa at Bethesda Row from 2-4 PM.  That's right, pet photos. For $10, your pet can tell Santa what he or she wants for Christmas. The proceeds go to a familiar Bethesda Row charity, Canines for Veterans.  CFV rescues, trains and places service dogs with wounded veterans, who need their skills and companionship.

Santa will be back Sunday during the same hours, again on Bethesda Lane.

Saturday night at 8:00, enjoy a Christmas choral concert at Imagination Stage (4908 Auburn Avenue), $10 adult tickets, $5 for children under 12.  The concert is being produced by Bethesda Urban Partnership.

Bethesda UP is also behind the biggest event of the weekend: the arrival of Santa Claus himself in downtown Bethesda!

Hey, wait a minute - Santa Claus will be at Veterans Park from 2-4 PM.  That just happens to be the same time that Santa Claus will be posing for dog photos across town at Bethesda Row!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have an impostor on our hands!  Will the real St. Nicholas please stand up?  This is an outrage! An investigation is in order!  This could require a beard-pulling test to verify the veritable Kris Kringle.

Real or not, this Santa Claus will be just one part of the 1-4 PM show at Veterans Park (Norfolk and Woodmont Avenues) Sunday.  You can also witness live ice sculpting (as opposed to pre-recorded ice sculpting?), and concerts by Westbrook ES, Our Lady of Lourdes, Norwood, Garrett Park ES and Seneca Valley HS students.

As always, it might be advisable to fortify yourself with a hot chocolate or holiday coffee drink at Dunkin' Donuts on Bethesda Avenue.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


It's a Wonderful Life, when you win the Maryland Lottery!

I was in disbelief at first, but, by golly, there really are actual scenes from the greatest Christmas movie of all time on these lottery scratch-off tickets.

Top prize?  A cool $20,000 - the equivalent of a Powerball jackpot when the film was released, I guess.  But enough to keep old Mr. Potter off your back for a few months.

According to the back of the tickets, Jimmy Stewart's family, and Donna Reed's estate, both gave permission for their likenesses to be used on lottery scratch-off games.


Frankly, as a huge fan of the movie, I like the idea.  It sure beats the same old boring tickets.  Even Marylanders' vices are susceptible to the Christmas spirit!  By the way, you can buy these at Bradley Care drugs in downtown Bethesda, in the Bradley Shopping Center. They are $2 per ticket.


Chapter Two Boutique, a fine consignment shop, opened yesterday on Cordell Avenue.  The website was not working, however, as of last evening.


Game. Set. Match. Doug Duncan.

In what may have been the shortest political campaign in Montgomery County history, former county executive Douglas M. Duncan confirmed he would seek that office again yesterday.

The former Rockville mayor and multi-term county executive is virtually assured of victory in 2014.  Duncan is incredibly popular with developers, newspaper editorial boards, and the county's political establishment.

His announcement provides confidence to that establishment.  But it sends the rest of county politics into utter turmoil.

One drawback to the total Democratic domination of Montgomery County is that the ease of winning office has generated a very deep bench of politicians, with many more currently in the "minor leagues" in municipal offices, and the State House.

As current elected officials have chosen to run and run for the same easy offices over and over again, they've created a logjam as bad as the county's traffic.

Just as many impatient Democrats of the next generations were beginning to openly jockey for position in the 2014 election, Duncan delivered a death blow to such aspirations with yesterday's announcement.

Who are the casualties?

George Leventhal and Phil Andrews had already announced campaigns for county executive, and Nancy Floreen, Marc Elrich and Valerie Ervin had been publicly considering entering the race.

All now have little choice but to run for their same council seats again, or exit politics altogether.  To a person, they will almost certainly do the former. 

Ben Kramer, whose father was a well-respected past county executive, was well-positioned as the dark horse in the race.  He's gone, too, now.

Duncan surely plans to make this a two-term deal. Meaning that all of the above contenders are literally stuck until 2022. 

By that time, another whole generation of Democrats will be growing bored in the minor leagues, and begin to challenge the old guard.

Would Ben Kramer challenge for a council seat? Unlikely, as he'd have to take on incumbents in every one, including Nancy Navarro, who outmaneuvered Kramer for that 4th District seat in the first place.

Can they go to Washington?

Not until Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin end their careers in the Senate.  Chris Van Hollen, John Delaney, Donna Edwards and John Sarbanes are all in a similar pickle in their Senate aspirations.

How about running for governor? Nope. Democrats have a full slate of contenders already, and at least two are from Montgomery County.

Aside from all of this fallout, Duncan's only political challenge ahead is the national economy. If we are really entering a recovery, Duncan is in the same position he was in 1994, when the country was emerging from the 1990 recession. Should things turn south, however, it's worth noting that Duncan has never led during bad economic times.

The county still faces a structural deficit, poor job numbers and traffic gridlock.

In regards to the last two, Duncan might offer a slight improvement over Leggett, in that Duncan has been working with a transportation group led by Richard Parsons. My impression of the group is that they recognize the need for multimodal transportation improvements, rather than the Fantasy Island approach of transit-only.  Should Parsons and Duncan be open to studying an Outer Beltway and new Potomac River crossing, the jobs and traffic picture would almost immediately improve.

Can I make one more prediction? You can almost certainly expect the concept of an elected Council President position to be put back on the table now.  That is one way frustrated politicians could create a new, fairly-powerful office for themselves to wait out the Duncan years.

How about the Republicans?

Doug Rosenfeld made the most respectable showing of a Republican executive candidate in eons in 2010. Expect him to run again.

The only other Republican who could make a solid run won't run against Duncan:  another former Rockville mayor, Larry Giammo.  And it's not clear if he's even a Republican anymore.

Connie Morella would have instant credibility as a candidate, but seems to have no interest in elected office since her gerrymandered defeat in 2002.  Another very-well-qualified Republican would be Amy Presley, but she is more likely to run for the council before executive. She currently serves on the county Planning Board, a traditional springboard to elected office.

In short, while we don't know for sure if another Duncan term would benefit the average county resident, there was little joy among Democrats who consider themselves his worthy successor after yesterday's announcement.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Finally, I have here for you a complete photo gallery of the gleaming new main lobby of 7550 Wisconsin Avenue.

7550 is the first new Class A office space in downtown Bethesda in over a decade.

Take note that Ethan Hunt left his sunglasses on the lobby's still-under-wraps front desk.

For you, readers, this exclusive preview is Mission: Possible.


One of the Christmas tree lots actually in downtown Bethesda is at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, at the corner of Battery Lane and Old Georgetown Road.

All proceeds from tree and wreath sales go to fund the squad's lifesaving operations. Get a tree, and also know that you're helping yourself and your neighbors with every dollar well spent.

Here is their price list:

Fraser Fir 9-10' $175
Fraser Fir 8-9' $116
Fraser Fir 7-8' $90
Fraser Fir 6-7' $80
Fraser Fir 5-6' $70
Fraser Fir 4-5' $50
Table Top Trees $30
Small (14") wreath $15
Medium (20") wreath $19
Large (24") wreath $23
Roping (25 ft) $20
Bows/Other $5
Firewood $7.50
Tree Stands -reg. $20
Tree Stands -XL $25

You can stop by the Squad to buy a tree between Noon and 9 PM Monday-Friday, and 9 AM to 9 PM Saturday and Sunday.


If you're a fan of classic American food, this Saturday's grand opening of the new, 24-hour Du-par's Hamburger Hamlet, in Bethesda's Georgetown Square shopping center, is wonderful news.

While chefs on two coasts continue to confer on the final menu, let's examine the Du-par's menu at its existing Los Angeles and Las Vegas locations (which just happen to be two of my favorite cities in the world!).

You have some standard starters like crab cakes and chicken tenders.  But you also have their signature Yellow Split Pea Soup, for something new and different.

24-hour breakfast may be the best part of Du-par's concept. Not a cheap diner-quality breakfast, but freshly made from high quality ingredients.  Du-par's takes pancakes as seriously as I do. So seriously, that their secret pancake recipe is kept under lock and key at 6333 W. 3rd Street in Los Angeles.

One California touch is Knott's Berry Farm jelly for your toast. I hope they keep that.

One example of a morning Blue Plate special that sounds great to me is the Country Fried Prime New York Steak with 2 large, fresh eggs.

How about those burgers? Out west, Du-par's burgers are made with fresh-ground Harris Ranch grain-fed, all-natural chuck. 

Du-par's will eventually compete directly with Bobby's Burger Palace up Democracy Boulevard at Westfield Montgomery Mall.  I can't wait to try the Du-par's burger.

In California and Vegas, Du-par's offers the basic hamburger and cheeseburger.  Beyond that, they have a Patty Melt, Bacon and Swiss Burger, Mushroom and Jack Burger, and Avocado and Bacon Burger.

One major part of the Du-par's concept that Bethesda is definitely getting is the on-site bakery.

Du-par's bakes pies fresh daily, and you can also order whole pies to go. These aren't just your standard apple and cherry varieties, either.  Out west, Du-par's has a massive list of pies, and the ones that get my attention are peach, chocolate meringue, banana cream, chocolate cream, rhubarb, gooseberry, Southern pecan, and blueberry cream cheese.

As a brownie sundae nut, I'm pleased to report they have one on the menu, as well as classic malts and milkshakes. How about a Banana Split Boat? Can you tell I'm hoping the dessert menu stays true to its West Coast origins?

Frankly, I don't know how we lucked out and managed to get a Du-par's here in Bethesda. But I'm ready to test out the menu, and find out if it lives up to its storied, 70-year history.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012



Incredible American food news out of the Georgetown Square shopping center in Bethesda!

Hamburger Hamlet is entering a joint venture with Los Angeles legend Du-Par's, a 70-year old name in coffee shops.

The new Du-Par's Hamburger Hamlet will be open 24 hours a day, and will serve not only burgers, but famous Du-Par's pancakes and pies, too.

This includes a Du-Par's bakery onsite.

The new concept launches December 1.

More details coming soon, but exciting news for fans of Los Angeles and classic American cuisine!


The Christmas spirit is slowly making its way all around downtown Bethesda.  Here are some lamp post decorations you'll find on Fairmont Avenue, and by the CVS on Wisconsin Avenue:


The new Bethesda Market is getting pretty close to opening in the space that housed the old Bethesda Market, in the Shops at Sumner Place.

Remember my report on the liquor license application, which listed "Bethesda Market" as the name of the future beer, wine and deli market?  The new ownership confirms that they are indeed keeping the Bethesda Market name, which is well known in the community.

Why is this big news for residents of Sumner, Fort Sumner, and Glen Echo Heights?

Because they have gone for over a year without a beer and wine retailer in their neighborhood.  Many residents, most especially those living in the apartment complexes surrounding Sumner Place, will be able to take a short walk over to the market for beer and wine.

Another target audience is across the street: employees of the intelligence campus on Sangamore Road, whose numbers will only increase in the coming years.

Bethesda Market is also remembered as a host of many beer and wine tastings, another welcome option in the neighborhood.

Last night, a lighted Budweiser and St. Pauli Girl sign were installed on the storefront windows, above the window covering.

A third sign will interest the unemployed in Bethesda: one on the front that read, "Hiring!"


The Montgomery County Council can only seem to create a handful of jobs per year - and they're all in the county government.

No sooner had the council created a Bag Tax Czar and Economic Development Czar (with the lavish salaries for both being paid for by you, the taxpayer), than it came up with another dream position:  something they called, "Chief Innovation Officer."

Recently, that $150,000 job was filled with the county's hiring of Dan Hoffman.  What little has been said about this hiring has been in glowing terms by county elected officials, and the status quo line is that Hoffman is merely a government employee and civic activist who will be doing great, if vaguely-unspecified, things from his new Rockville office.

Given the cost of these positions, and the budgetary context here, you'd think the local media would have some critical questions about all of this, especially when the county "has no money."

So, as Paul Harvey used to say, "now, the rest of the story."

Dan Hoffman is not just a civic activist, but a political activist and donor, as well.  He was instrumental in gaining passage of the controversial White Flint Sector Plan by the county council.  This represented a victory for powerful developers, who stand to rake in millions each in profits.

According to Maryland Campaign Finance records, in 2010, Hoffman contributed to councilmembers Roger Berliner, George Leventhal, Marc Elrich, and Hans Riemer.

In July of that year, Hoffman was appointed to the Montgomery County Organizational Reform Commission by the County Council.

Something else happened during the fall election season of 2010.  One important role Hoffman played in the White Flint Sector Plan process was as the head of the Randolph Hills Civic Association.

The RHCA sent County Council candidates a questionnaire, ostensibly for providing direct information from each candidate to local residents.

Assuming the eventual election-themed community newsletter mailing was paid for with RHCA funds, that is acceptable under Maryland campaign finance regulations.

However, the newsletter that was mailed did not contain actual candidate statements.  Instead, it featured highly-subjective critiques of candidates by several writers, including Hoffman.

The candidates Hoffman donated to were presented favorably in the mailing to residents.  But Hoffman himself wrote a misleading and negative statement about at least one of their challengers, who also was an outspoken opponent of the White Flint Sector Plan.

In order to read the actual candidates' words, residents had to go onto the internet to find them.  Hence, this mailing became a virtual endorsement letter, and entered a very grey area of campaign finance and tax-exempt organization regulations.

Should a supporter and donor of candidates be writing subjective summaries of their opponents for wide neighborhood distribution, assuming the mailing was paid for by RHCA resident dues?

Now fast forward to 2012. 

Just what is the purpose of a CIO, anyway?  Hoffman says don't expect too much.  I'm actually expecting a lot from a county official making $150,000 a year, the equivalent of three rookie police officers who had to go unhired to create the CIO position.   I can't wait to hear his report of accomplishments this time next year.

After all, CIO is as much of a newly-fashionable gimmick as those "-Stat" initiatives.

Started by New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, these numbers were originally hard data that could be used to harshly cross-examine city officials at meetings. The goal was to increase efficiency, and it was fairly successful.

But now, CountyStat and StateStat seem to present numbers that make officials sound good.  You get a data set, but where's the data that shows how you got that data set?  I can't find it.

Know what else you can't find on the county website? Still no itemized, complete county budget that you can sort through online, in real time.

Finally, the suggestion that the CIO will facilitate the creation of apps using county data sets?

You could have recruited the best computer whizzes from county high schools to do that for free, and give them community service credits.

In conclusion, I just wonder why, when even more tax increases and budget cuts are on the table, no one is questioning a $150,000 plum job with no clear purpose.  This is not the message to send to the taxpayer at this time.

Monday, November 26, 2012


The Virginia Department of Transportation made a quiet announcement right before Thanksgiving last week.  It plans to begin a new study of traffic utilizing existing Potomac River bridges, between Point of Rocks and the Harry Nice Bridge (Morgantown).

The study will get underway in the coming weeks, and is expected to conclude in Spring 2013.

When completed, VDOT expects to have a new data set from which to extrapolate future demand for new crossings.

They are asking Maryland and DC to cooperate in the study.

Of course, this is a complete waste of money. We know the demand for additional Potomac River crossings exists.  It was amply demonstrated in the American Legion Bridge study I presented to you here in exhaustive detail months ago.

VDOT boss Sean Connaughton and Governor Bob McDonnell support a new crossing, and have taken substantive steps toward that goal. Maryland is in the grip of an anti-highway legislative majority in Annapolis and Rockville.  But economic and congestion reality make their begrudging cooperation inevitable.  Lack of direct access to Dulles Airport, and timewasting commutes, cost Montgomery County jobs every day the status quo persists.

Foolish decisions in the past canceled many bridges, including the Rockville Freeway-Fairfax County Parkway bridge at Riverbend Park, the I-266 bridge into Georgetown, the Arizona Avenue bridge, and two Outer Beltway bridges.

Have an arterial blockage like that in a human, and you would require immediate surgery. But in this case, politicians are willing to let you and Montgomery County's economy suffer.

Stop the studies. That money could be better spent on the hungry and homeless.

Start building the highways! We know they're needed. Instead of having a theatrical BRT/gas tax summit in Annapolis, we should have a real crossjurisdictional summit on solutions that actually work: highways and bridges.

Gov. McDonnell is a key player in forcing that, but Sen. Mark Warner is the real heavy-hitter needed to get fellow Democrats on board.

Warner should extend a high-profile invitation to Gov. Martin O'Malley, and transportation officials, to join Virginia in such a series of meetings.  The senator has already announced his support for a new crossing.  Warner is not one who can be ignored, as he is highly respected nationally, and just happens to have deep pockets and 2016 aspirations.  Getting the Outer Beltway done would improve Warner's and O'Malley's presidential resumés.  It's hard to argue against jobs and the tax revenue they generate.

The sun rises every day. 2+2=4. And yes, Virginia, we need an Outer Beltway.

No study necessary.


Maybe it's the effect of having a Christmas tree lot on your street, but the Shoppes of Bethesda shopping center has gone all out for the holidays this year.

Even the "secret staircase" between Elm Street and Hampden Lane is filled with Christmas cheer.

Would you believe there's a Nutcracker soldier guarding the premises?  And judging from those red cheeks, he's been having one too many drinks at Ri-Ra in the process! It's hard to find good help these days.


Despite having begun construction more recently, Donohoe's That 70s Building is further towards completion than the Bainbridge Bethesda.

That 70s Building (a.k.a. The Gallery at Bethesda) will be located between Del Ray and Auburn Avenues.  As you can see in these photos, foundation work there is ahead of that which you saw in my Bainbridge update last week.

One other comparison of the projects raises a safety question: Why is the Miller and Long crane at the 70s Building site unlit, while the Bainbridge crane has red warning lights at night?

Does the proximity of the lit WHFS radio tower atop Triangle Towers exempt the 70s Building crane from safety lighting?  There is legitimate cause for concern.  Suburban Hospital and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center both draw heavy helicopter traffic, and are close by.

Should a helicopter not see the crane, the resulting crash could topple the crane.  Chopper and crane could both conceivably crash into the Palisades and Triangle Towers apartment buildings.  Catastrophe would be an understatement in such a disaster.

So, should that thing be lit at night? Or is the situation by the book?

I've read 62 pages of FAA structure lighting regulations, and there was no clear answer either way.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Here's a photo of the brand-new main lobby at the future Class-A office tower 7550 Wisconsin Avenue.


Yesterday, I mentioned some convenient Christmas tree lots in downtown Bethesda.

But what if you need something smaller, for whatever reason?

Try these Charlie Brown Christmas-sized trees at the Westbard Giant, on Westbard Ave.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Yesterday was the official start of the holiday season, and that means Christmas trees, lights, and decorations are appearing all around. Even on parking garages!


A Christmas tree lot in downtown Bethesda? Yes!  It's on Hampden Lane, just up Woodmont, north of Bethesda Row.  Just follow the signs.

Better yet, buy your tree, and they will deliver it to your apartment or house within 10 miles of Bethesda!

Years ago, there used to be a Christmas tree lot on Bradley Boulevard, on the street behind the Bradley Shopping Center. What's there today? Houses.

You will also be able to buy trees from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, on the corner of Battery Lane and Old Georgetown Road. And from North Star on Wisconsin Avenue, along the "Green Mile" between downtown Bethesda and Friendship Heights.


Part of my Black Thursday/Black Friday shopping was to buy these Hostess cakes and donuts I found at the CVS on Arlington Road.

You can be sure Twinkies will return to shelves one day, but some of the other Hostess classics may not have the same appeal to whatever company buys the brand's rights.

Will they bring back these "Bakery Classics" Hostess Mini Donettes (Crumb) and "Snack Classics" Zingers (Vanilla)?  I sure hope so. But I'm not taking any chances.  I'll be enjoying these, some of the final cakes to roll off the Hostess assembly line. True American classics.


Apple has finally announced its deals for Black Friday, which are supposed to be the same online as they will be in Apple Stores today.

IPad $41 off
iPad 2 $31 off
MacBook Air/MacBook Pro $101 off

There will be extended hours today at the Bethesda Row Apple Store.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


The future Bethesda location of Aroma Espresso Bar at Westfield Montgomery Mall is applying for a beer/wine liquor license from Montgomery County.

Existing Aroma locations in New York City and Florida offer beer and wine on their menus.  Alcohol offerings differentiate Aroma from competitors like Starbucks.

Aroma is scheduled to open next month, and their liquor license hearing will be in mid-December.


Here are some of the best Bethesda Row Black Friday deals you may not have heard about.  Federal Realty distributed a nice summary of offers, but did not include these other major retailers:

The always-secretive Apple is playing its Black Friday cards as close to the vest as you'd expect.

But wait - check the Apple Store's window wreath decoration for a possible clue!
Are those iPads? Yes!  Should we expect a discount on iPads Friday? With Apple, you have to be willing to be surprised. But that's a pretty obvious hint on the storefront.

One other thing - you can get the same prices online, or via your iPhone app Friday.

Bethesda Row's favorite hangout is offering deals on the Nook reader, and Buy One Get One 50% Off intellectual toys for intellectual kids.

Current is up the street from Bethesda Row at 7220 Wisconsin Avenue.  Owner Carmen Lopez says her upscale consignment shop will be giving 20% off all merchandise, all day Friday.

Labels in stock include J. Crew, BCBG, Diane Von Furstenburg,  Tory Burch, Milly, Banana Republic, Marc Jacobs and Rebecca Taylor.

For consignment, Current prefers natural fabrics like cotton, linen, silk, cashmere and wool.  Consignors will keep 50% of the item's sale price.

Current's Black Friday hours will be 10 AM - 8 PM.  Their phone number is 301-222-1114.

Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday
 Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Don't forget that several roads between the YMCA on Old Georgetown Road and Pooks Hill will be affected by the Turkey Chase Thanksgiving morning.

Roads include Old Georgetown Road, Cedar Lane, Cypress/Benton/Holland Avenues, Alta Vista Road,  Pooks Hill Road and Route 355. 

There will only be partial closures of curb lanes on most of these roads, between 8:30-10:30 AM.

Once runners have passed, all lanes will reopen.



Westfield Montgomery Mall is the place to be in Bethesda for Black Friday, without question.

To make up for the lack of Walmart and Target-style "giant flatscreen for $50" doorbusters, Westfield uses its advantage of sheer number of high-quality tenants.  Beyond the significant doorbuster savings, Westfield also tries to enhance the Black Friday experience with food and fun as the hours go by.

The full list is below, but I recall that last year there were lots of surprises and giveaways around the mall that were not announced in advance.

Finally, what's about to take place defies the nutty claims by some "experts," who want to convince us
that the great American indoor mall is a dinosaur of the past, and that the suburbs are dying, etc., etc.

Obviously, those folks weren't at Westfield Montgomery last Black Friday, where there were huge crowds and delays just trying to park the car. Or at Milestone Shopping Center in Germantown, where every single space was taken in their massive parking lot.  Those are the same geniuses who say both retail meccas have "too much parking."  Uh, OK guys, if you say so.  But I hope you're ready to join the rest of us in the real world some day again soon.

Westfield continues to do a great job managing the mall, and this Black Friday is the perfect time to show your support for this classic American shopping mall.

Here's the complete list of Black Friday specials for the Midnight opening (don't forget, Sears opens right after Thanksgiving dinner at 8 PM!).  My picks are in bold:

Midnight to 8am: Enter to win a $500 Shopping Spree. Hourly giveaways.

American Apparel - 12am - 6am: 25% off entire store with a purchase of 4 items or more.

Arden B - 12am - 10am: Buy 1, get 1 free; 10am - 10pm: Buy 1, get 1 for $5.

Banana Republic - 40% off entire store.

Banner's Hallmark - 12am - 9am: 25% off entire store. Excludes Gift Cards, Stamps, Sale, Past Purchases.

Bare Minerals - Get the Royal Treatment for $49, regularly $85.

Bath and Body Works - See store for details.

BCBGMAXAZRIA - 30%-50% off select items.

Bebe - See store for details.

Body Shop, The - See store for details.

Bose - Savings on SoundDock 10 Series, Lifestyle Home Theatre, Bose Audio Headphones and more.
Plus, Wave Music System and Multi-Disc Changer special.

Brookstone - 12am - 10am: Save $25 on Active Sport Massager; save $100 on Pure Ion Air Cleaner; Save $70 on a 3-piece luggage set.

Brow Art - 8am-10pm: $20 for a full face threading.

Bubbles Salon - 9am - 2pm: Half off all blow dry's and men's haircuts.

Build-a-Bear Workshop - Door Buster: $5 Snow Boy and Snow Girl. While supplies last.

Candy World - 10% off bulk candy.

Caribou Coffee - Stay Awake for Midnight Madness opening 10pm on 11/22/12

Champs - See store for details.

Chick-fil-A - Enter to win Chick-fil-A for a year. Submit entry at the store.

Children's Place - 30-50% off entire store.

California Pizza Kitchen - 8am - 10am: Yummy Breakfast Pizza; 8am - 10pm: buy a $100 gift card, get a $40 gift card for free.

Crabtree & Evelyn - Gardeners 250 ml Hand Sanitizer $4.99; select 50ml Hand Sanitizer $5.

Dollar Store Plus - 12am-8am: 1 free roll of Christmas wrapping for the first 100 customers with minimum $5 purchase.

Express - 12am - 12pm: 50% off entire store; 12pm-10pm: 40% off entire store.

Fire & Ice - 12am - 12pm: $25 Fire and Ice gift card with $75 purchase; 12pm-10pm: 20% off entire store; All day get a free ornament with $100 purchase, while supplies last.

Forever 21 - See store for details

Furnish @ the Mall - $100 off on every $1,000 purchase; free delivery on every $2,000 purchase or more (offers and deals cannot be combined); 90 days same as cash option financing available with no interest and no credit check; free lay-a-way available.

Gap - 12am - 12pm; Door Buster Event: Select Styles - Mens & Womens $19, Gap Body PJ Sets $19, Gap Kids & Baby Gap $5 graphic tees.

Godiva - See store for details.

Gold Palace - 12am - 6am: 40% off silver (select styles); free fashion earrings with any purchase ($6 value); free watch with any $25 purchase; watch battery change $5 and up; buy 1, get 1 free any body jewelry; free jewelry cleaning

Guess - 30% off entire purchase (some restrictions apply).

Gymboree - See store for details.

Haagen-Dazs - 12am - 4am: Buy any Dazzler and get a 2nd 50% off, including the new Peppermint Bark flavor; 4am - 8am: $1 off any Smoothie or Baristo frozen beverage. One discount per person, not valid with any other offer.

House of Hoops by Footlocker - See store for details.

Icing By Claires - Free cell phone stylus with any $20 purchase, pre-tax. While supplies last.

Janie and Jack - See store for details.

J.Crew - 25% off your entire purchase.

Keurig - Opening at 11pm on Thursday with Coffee Samples.

Laila Rowe - 12am - 6am: Buy 1 get 1 50% off” ALL DAY and 20% off all mark downs.

Leather Store, The - Rimona Luggage $100 off; 20% off Bagatelle, and Women's Lodis briefcases and
wallets; 15% off Werks Collection Victorinox Luggage; $50 off every $350 purchsae of Briggs and Riley

Lucky Brand Jeans: 12am - 10am: 30% off entire store.

Lids - Buy 1, get 1 50% off, promotional Nationals and Redskins hats.

Macy's - Savings throughout the store.

Marbles: The Brain Store - Free Marbles Colorfall with $250 purchase, limit one per customer; Free Geek Box with $100 purchase.

McDonald's - 12am - 8am: Buy an extra value meal and receive a free large regular coffee.

Michael Kors - 12am - 10am: 25% off sale merchandise and other select items.

Mirch Masala - 12am - 2am: Get $2 off purchase of $10.

Naartjie Kids - Buy 1, get 1 50% off girls dresses and boys tops. Extra 40% off clearance items.

Old Navy - 12am - 4am: $5 fleece half-zips, $15 jeans, $12 adoraboots; 4am - 8am: Disney/Pixar DVD and Graphic-T $15; 8am - 12pm: Sherpa Hoodie $15.

Pandora: Limited Edition Mystery Bead Release, while supplies last.

Papyrus: 50% off pre-wrapped gifts; Holiday boxed cards, buy 2, get 1 free.

Payless Shoesource - Up to 50% off select items.

Pen Boutique - 12am - 12pm: 25% off entire purchase (some restrictions apply); Parker Insignia Ball
Point Pen 50% off or free with any $50 purchase; Parker Jotter Ball Point Pen free with any purchase.

Qdoba Mesixan Grill: Buy 1 entree, get 1 free. Limit one per customer.

Radio Shack - Buy a Galaxy Siii with upgrade or 2-year new line and get a $50 Google Play gift card. Galaxy Siii is $99.99.

Sears - Doorbusters and savings throughout the store.

Sephora - Special items starting at $10.

Shenk & Tittle - 50% off all Reebok NFL apparel; 50% off selected snowboards, boots & bindings; 40% off selected snow sports outerwear.

Services Plus - Gatorade/Powerade- 2 for $2 (20oz), 2 for $5 (32oz); Red Bull 2 for $4 (8oz), 2 for $5 (12oz).

Soma Intimates - 10% off when you purchase Soma Sensualities; First customer to donate gently used bra for "Soma Bra Donation-Ending Domestic Violence" will receive a free bra of their choice.

Steve Madden - Scratch off sale - see store for scratch off card with instant special offer.

Sunglass Hut - 70% off select Vogue styles; Buy select styles and get 1 free; Purchase a full price item 
of $150 or more and get a $50 off coupon reward.

Things Remembered - Select Jewelry buy 1, get 1 free; Spend $100 and get $20 credit toward a
December purchase; Five items (see store) are free when you engrave them for $6 or more.

Under Armour - Get a $20 gift card for every $100 you spend on select styles.

Urban Outfitters: 50% Sale items. See store for details.

Vans - Free Vans phone case for iPhone 4/4S with purchase of $100 or more (while supplies last)

Verdict - 20% off any 1 item; 30% off 2 or more items; Fall Fashion Sale up to 50% off plus an extra 50%.

Vera Bradley - Holiday Tote - free with a $100 purchase (while supplies last); Holiday Sale - 25% off
select colors and styles.

Victoria's Secret - Free tote bag with $65 purchase. While supplies last.

VIP Outdoor Apparel - 10% - 50% off The North Face, Spyder, Kelly Hansen, Patagonia, and Mountain Hardware

Vitamin World - Mix and match, buy 1 get, 1 50% off all Vitamin World and Precision Engineered brand Items (excludes spectacular values).

Washington Redskins - Earbuds, $7.95; DJ Headphones, $29.95; iDock, $39.95, while supplies last.

Walking Company, The: Free Cozy Scarf from Zealand, a $20 value, with any regular priced footwear purchase before 9 am. While supplies last.

White House Black Market 25% off entire purchase; Free tote with purchase, while supplies last.

The following restaurants will open at Midnight:

Auntie Anne's
Bistro Sensations
Candy World
Caribou Coffee (opening at 10pm on Thursday, November 22)
Charley's Grilled Subs
Chick-fil-A (see special offer)
Dairy Queen
Dippin' Dots
Dumpling Dojo
Godiva (see special offer)
Haagen-Dazs (see special offer)
Jamba Juice
J.Chow's Chicken & Rib
McDonald's (see special offer)
Mirch Masala
Panda Express
Qdoba Mexican Grill (see special offer)
Ruby Thai
Sbarro Italian Grill
Sarku Japan


Montgomery County Government should consider practicing what it preaches.

Just 30 days after county politicians staged a PR event to condemn improper use of disabled parking permits, the county has placed construction-related materials in a handicapped parking space, inside a county-owned Bethesda garage.
"Respect the Space?"  Mmm... not quite.
The space in question is just inside an entrance of the Cordell-St. Elmo Ave. public parking garage.   Renovations have been underway there for several months. It is also the most convenient spot for a disabled person who has difficulty walking.

Given that parking is the tightest it's ever been in downtown Bethesda, and this being the biggest shopping week of the year, why isn't this space available to those with disabilities?

The sign on the space warns of a $250 fine. You can be sure that you or I would have to pay the fine if we blocked the space.  So why shouldn't government live under the same rules it imposes upon citizens?

How about one set of rules for everybody, for a change? Stop the self-serving PR about disabled parking, if you're not going to "Respect the Space" yourself.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Shopping for Thanksgiving dinner in downtown Bethesda? Before you pick up your perishables, stop in at Cork and Fork on Bethesda Lane.

There, wine experts will advise you on the perfect selections, whether your dinner is traditional turkey or fish, or whatever new tradition you're inventing!

Cork and Fork is open from 2-8 PM tonight and Wednesday.


Sometimes I wish the Halloween season could be longer, but this story seems to be left over from that holiday.

This sign is taped to what appears to be a dental office on Del Ray Avenue, around the back of the Palisades luxury apartments:

"Surgery in progress.  Please
do not knock on door."
It captures the imagination!  And is somewhat humorous (unless you are the patient!).

You have to wonder, what exactly would happen if you did knock on the door? Would it really cause a catastrophe? Have receptionists been outsourced? Can the surgeon not just ignore a knock on the door? Is he afraid he'll be startled during a delicate surgical procedure? Is he operating directly on the other side of this wall? Who, pray tell, would answer this door if you did knock? Do people usually have elective surgery after dark?

Heard any good knock-knock jokes lately?


I sense a sidewalk theme today!  I promise this is the last sidewalk story today, but it's an important one.

A sidewalk project has begun around Bethesda Row. Unlike the controversial sidewalk retrofits left unfinished by the SHA all over town, this work goes beyond just intersections.

Right now, portions of the sidewalk are being replaced along Bethesda and Woodmont Avenues.
I bring this to your attention, because I witnessed a woman trip on one of these yesterday on Bethesda Avenue.  Fortunately, she was able to regain her balance, and did not fall.  But these can be dangerous, particularly with the larger crowds of shoppers this week.  Someone could get seriously hurt, or even killed, depending how they land on a hard surface like that.


After what seems like a year, the sidewalk in front of future Class A office building 7550 Wisconsin Avenue has reopened to pedestrian traffic.
This restores a significant pedestrian route from "Old Town" Bethesda to the Bethesda Metro Center, particularly for residents of buildings like 8200 Wisconsin Avenue.
Meanwhile, the transformation of the office tower continues, most fully realized now in the gleaming, new main lobby.