Month: December 2020

Business Profile

……..Nerds To Go

By Bob Tagert ……..Nerds To Go As the Corona virus doubles down and cases increase, it is a very difficult time for many businesses…especially those who are starting a new business. Two months ago, Regis DeVeaux opened his own franchise of Nerds To Go next to the OTC office in the 300 block of South Washington Street here in Old Town. NTG is a small to middle size computer repair and service company. Their services include PC and Apple service and repair, virus, malware and spyware removal, wireless networking install and repair, data recovery and backup, child protection and monitoring as well as all iPod, iPhone and X-box service. They also have cellhelmet phone accessories available for purchase in the store. Although this shop has only been in business for two months, the concept has be developed since 2003. It all began in Connecticut with David Colella, a very successful businessman in the computer industry. By his mid-thirties Colella realized that he wanted more. He had several high-profile positions in the IT industry, but he felt there was still something better out there for him and his family. It was during this time of soul-searching that he first conceived Nerds To Go. The business model was founded on the premise of providing unprecedented computer and technical support service. They understood the need for technology support among residential computer users and small businesses and decided that they could fill that gap. Indeed, with more folks working from home during this pandemic the need has been accelerated. By taking people with top technical certifications from leading organizations like Microsoft, CompTIA and Cisco, and transforming them into customer-service juggernauts with their rigorous NTG training program, they are off and running. As the program developed, the team wanted to set themselves apart by actually…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Holiday Grab Bag

Holiday Grab Bag By Miriam R. Kramer As Christmas and Hanukkah approach, we are looking at a different way of celebrating. We will probably have holiday Zoom parties this year to satisfy social distancing requirements, since we are heading into another wave of the pandemic. Reading is one of the best ways to escape and cheer us up during this uncertain but hopeful time transitioning to a new presidency and the happy possibility of effective vaccines arriving soon. Please stop doomscrolling on Twitter or diving into Facebook. Take the opportunity to find stories to satisfy yourself and give to others in the spirit of the season. The Deepest South of All, by British author and outsider Richard Grant, tells a fascinating tale about his visits to Natchez, Mississippi, an insular city that celebrates its many eccentricities and internal historical contradictions. On the one hand, Natchez often promotes a whitewashed image of its Confederate heritage, with grand parties at which women still wear hoopskirts, belong to warring “garden clubs,” and celebrate Natchez’s array of well-kept antebellum mansions. Simultaneously it struggles to reconcile itself with its African-American heritage of oppression. Those descended from slavery attempt to bring Natchez into the twenty-first century, with their own set of peculiar, colorful histories brought to the forefront. Inextricably intertwined, the histories of Whites and Blacks make for a complicated and compelling tale of life in contemporary Natchez. If you enjoyed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the absorbing nonfiction story of Savannah by John Berendt, this account will almost certainly intrigue you. Don Winslow, author of the masterful, thinly fictionalized accounts of Mexican drug wars and their North American economic entanglements, The Cartel Trilogy, recently released Broken, a collection of short, haunting novellas that focus on criminals, the police, government agents, bounty hunters,…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

“Ending 2020”

“Ending 2020” By F. Lennox Campello “God is really only another artist,” once said Picasso, “He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the ant. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things.” 2020 has been a brutal year – one that will leave harsh memories in most minds on the planet – although personally I was in 7th Heaven when my first grandson was born this year to my daughter Elise out in the wilderness of Washington State. Let’s close the year with some artwork and nothing better than Bethesda-based artists Judy Gilbert Levey and Sara Leibman as their work will be on display throughout November and December 2020 at Gallery B (the site of the former Fraser Gallery) at 7700 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda.  Titled “Ending 2020”, the show will feature paintings by Judy and Sara, who are both Studio B artists, through December 19, 2020. Since the end of 2020 also apparently brings a vaccine(s) which will hopefully end the exaggerated fear of the Covidian Age – a vaccine developed in record time I add, 2021 will hopefully also bring the re-opening of our local area museums, galleries, art spaces, etc. I am curious as to what the post-Covidian Torpedo Factory will look like, since it appears to an outsider observer, who only hears the artists’ side of the story — that the City of Alexandria has really screwed up the management of human relations with respect to the artists (now mostly former artists) who once occupied Alexandria’s largest tourist magnet. When the National Gallery re-opens, go and visit one of the greatest museums in the world, and go find its most popular painting. If you ask the guards at the National Gallery of Art which painting in the collection they think is the…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, Take Photos Leave Footprints

Mixing Business with Leisure: How to Take Advantage of Your Next Business Trip – Travelling for ‘Bleisure’

By Scott Dicken Mixing Business with Leisure: How to Take Advantage of Your Next Business Trip – Travelling for ‘Bleisure’ When people hear that I have to travel a lot for work, and particularly when they hear that I spend a lot of that time in Sub-Saharan Africa, they imagine me spending ten minutes in the office followed by a two-week, five-star, safari with my employer footing the bill. Unfortunately, the reality doesn’t up to their imagination (but boy do I wish it did). The typical itinerary is that I spend ten hours in the office, followed by an evening dinner with a client. I then return to my hotel room, crack open my laptop, and stay awake until 1am catching up on my actual day-to-day workload. That itinerary is followed from the moment I land until the moment I leave. However, with limited personal travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and business travel likely to be the first travel sector to start back up (I took my first international business flight in 7 months just a couple of weeks ago) the idea of combining business and leisure in one trip to help mitigate the risks of multiple trips is likely to become ever more popular. By adjusting your work-life balance and putting business up front with some party at the back (yes, I did indeed slip in a mullet analogy), you too can reap the benefits of “bleisure”. Admittedly, it’s not always easy to pull off, and it depends how receptive to the concept your employer is. However, if you can manage it, then it will completely change your perception of business travel and allow you to visit more places, experience more cultures, and stretch your annual travel budget much further; all whilst mitigating some of the pandemic risks…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Taking Care of Tannenbaum!!

Taking Care of Tannenbaum!! Christmas is coming! The presents have been purchased – most of them anyway – and now is the time to start thinking about that tree. Christmas trees come in all shapes and sizes, from the huge natural tree that towers above the White House lawn every season to little artificial ones with shiny aluminum needles.  For many families, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without a cut natural tree gracing the living room. There are a wide variety of Christmas tree types available on the market, each with a distinctive shape and color.  Scots pine, white pine and white spruce are among the most popular and widely available.  And, in certain areas, local species are offered for sale as well. Every year beginning in late fall, Christmas tree lots spring up in shopping mall parking lots, at home and garden centers and near local convenience stores.  Gas stations also get into the act.  Christmas trees are even available by mail order on the Internet.  While trees bought at these locations can be perfectly acceptable, an alternative worth considering, depending upon your location, is a tree farm.  Buying from a tree farm has a number of advantages.  The first is freshness.  When you see your tree being cut or you cut it yourself at a tree farm, you can be sure you are getting the freshest tree possible.  The second advantage is selection.  While most farms specialize in only one or two species of tree, the many different shapes and sizes available mean that trees are available to suit almost every taste.  Finally, a visit to a tree farm can be a real outing both for you and your family.  Many tree farms also have activities like wagon rides which turn buying a Christmas tree from a chore…

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Social Media Message

How to Celebrate the Holidays Virtually!

How to Celebrate the Holidays Virtually! By Ashley Rosson Unfortunately, as COVID rears its ugly head again, a lot of us will be quarantined to our state or even our houses and not able to visit family members for the Holidays! I decided to scour the Internet to find some of the best ways to celebrate the Holidays virtually. 1. Cook at the same time over video chat! If some of your favorite memories is cooking with your family members, bring your computer, tablet, or smartphone, so you can cook “together” while staying safe in your own home! Maybe even make the same meal, so it will feel like you are sitting down to share a meal together. 2. Make some cocktails together virtually! You know you will be able to indulge because you are in your own home! There are even services, such as the Home Hire Bartender, that will send you all the equipment you need and will provide you with a virtual bartender to teach you to make some fancy cocktails! You, of course, supply the booze! 3. Open up presents over video chat. It’s always fun to thank your loved ones for a gift right when you open it. Wait until everyone can join a video chat, then take turns opening up present to ooh and ah at all the gifts. 4. Set a fancy dress code. Have everyone in your family get a little fancy to make the holiday feel special. If you want to stay comfy, you can always just be fancy from the waist up!! 5. Try a virtual game night. If you all have the same board game, you can set up your pieces and play like you’re together. Or play an interactive game like charades or trivia. The Washington just…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month

Pets of the Month Your holiday shopping can support animals in need at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria! Learn more about gifts that bring smiles to people and animals at Your gifts support adoptable animals like Princess Peach, Claire, Tank and many more! Schedule an appointment to meet any of our adoptable animals at Princess Peach, Adult, Female Turtle Princess Peach is ready to be the top gal in her tank. Like any princess, Peach requests her favorite snacks, the sunniest basking spot and frequent visits from her loyal subjects and admirers. If you’re looking for an aquatic princess to dote on foot and foot, schedule an appointment to meet Princess Peach at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria! Claire, Adult, Spayed Female, Brown Tabby with White Domestic Short Hair Hi! My name is Claire and I am looking for a calm, quiet home with caring people. I am a very sweet, gentle girl, who can initially be a little on the shy side. I think I would make the perfect lap cat once I get to know you. I am also a real talker — I will greet you with a friendly meow and wait for attention. I love gentle head pets and am particularly fond of back scratches. Once I get what I want, you will hear loud purrs of contentment. You will probably hear more talking from me when I want something to eat! However, I admit to being a tad overweight, so you will probably have to go light on the treats! I can’t wait to meet you! Schedule an appointment to visit with me at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. Tank, Adult, Neutered Male, Brown and White Terrier Tank is a big ol’ goofball who loves his toys as much as he…

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Notes from the Publisher, Single Space

A Holiday to Remember: If Only for the Lesson in Gratitude

Open Space By Lori Welch Brown A Holiday to Remember If Only for the Lesson in Gratitude I have to admit, I’ve experienced some pretty crappy holidays.  Ghosts of Christmas’ past still haunt me.  Too many years to count as a single adult vanquished to the kiddie table.  The year Mom was sick, and I yelled at her for not following up with the doctor.  The year after she passed that I fell into a deep depression.  I drank my way through that Christmas, got sick, and swore off Marlboro Lights.  I smoked my last one December 28, 2008.  The year I was coerced into driving 2.5 hours to my dad’s new girlfriend’s house where I would be spending Christmas Eve—alone with just the two of them—and was greeted by them sporting matching, what appeared to be, wedding rings.  Surprise!  They hadn’t actually gotten married, but that’s another story.  To make matters worse, the only wine on hand was Liebfraumilch. But, this year.  Wow.  It will be one for the record books.  Finally, my dad is in the same state as me, and I will be able to see him (if I’m lucky) for 30 minutes sitting six feet apart wearing masks.  But, hey.  I’m thankful for that. In this mother of a year, I’m chalking that up to a blessing. And, frankly, that’s what we have to do.  Look for, search out, the blessings.  They’re there, but not as easily recognizable as in years past. Maybe the big, universal master plan is to teach us all to be grateful for the mundane.  To be grateful, not for the big, fancy dinners with the good china, but for Taco Tuesdays.  To be grateful for the home you have, not the Airbnb castle in Scotland where you were planning to spend…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

White House Egg Nog – One for the Ages

By Walter Scheib et al. White House Egg Nog – One for the Ages This recipe from former White House Chef Walter Scheib, The American Chef, was published in this space shortly after he left his post on Pennsylvania Avenue and we have decided it might be a nice thing to do annually.  We met Walter at the inaugural Food & Wine Festival in National Harbor 10 years or so ago and formed a nice friendship then. Chef Scheib co-authored a column called “Cooking Fran and Wally” with longtime Old Town Crier contributor Frances Killpatrick for several years in the mid 2000’s. He was the Executive Chef at the Whitehouse from 1994 to 2005 during the administrations of both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He died in the summer of 2015 while hiking in the mountains surrounding Taos, New Mexico. He is remembered for his memoir, The White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen. We hope you enjoy this holiday memory. White House Eggnog 6 or 7 egg yolks (5 ounces, pasteurized if possible) 1 cup sugar ¾ cups each, bourbon, cognac, dark rum, such as Meyers 6 or 7 egg whites (7 ounces, pasteurized if possible) 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups heavy cream 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 1 quart milk, more if needed Freshly grated nutmeg for serving 1.      Put the yolks and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip until yellow ribbons form, 5 to 7 minutes. 2.      Add the bourbon, cognac and rum, whip well, scrape down the sides and mix again. Transfer the mixture to a 6-quart bowl. 3. In a separate clean mixer bowl using a clean beater, whip the egg whites and salt until very stiff. Fold into the eggnog mixture. 4.      Wipe out the…

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History, History Column

Separation of Church and State

Written by ©2020 Sarah Becker Separation of Church and State “A nation’s character, like that of an individual, is elusive,” Congressional candidate John F. Kennedy [D-MA] said on July 4, 1946.  “It is produced partly by the things we have done and partly by what has been done to us…It is well for us to consider our American character, for in peace, as in war, we will survive or fail according to its measure.” “The informing spirit of the American character has always been a deep religious sense,” Kennedy continued.  “Our government was founded on the essential religious idea of integrity of the individual.  It was this religious sense which inspired the authors of the Declaration of Independence.” “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” “Today [America’s] religious ideas are challenged by atheism and materialism,” Kennedy then concluded.  “Inspired by a deeply religious sense, this country…has always met and hurled back the challenge of those deathly philosophies of hate and despair.” “Whilst we assign ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which convinced us,” James Madison wrote in his 1785 Memorial and Remonstrance.  According to a 2007 Pew Research Study “fully one in four adults under 30 (25%)…describe their religion as atheist, agnostic or ‘nothing in particular.’” The Bill of Rights, Amendment 1, as ratified in 1791: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”  Alexandria’s St. Mary’s Catholic Church was first suggested on…

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