City Desk

The Needle: Google Bus Edition

LeasingSocial: Business is good if you're in coupons these days—just ask the producers of TLC's Extreme Couponing, a show that probably would never have been greenlighted in a less frugal-minded era. How good, exactly? Good enough that LivingSocial had to rent a whole new office to prepare to expand. The D.C.-based Groupon rival will take over all seven floors of a Chinatown building dating back to 1890. No word on whether they'll get their lease free if three other companies also rent from Douglas Development through their personalized link. +1

Biting the Hand that Feeds You: For a guy whose main claim to fame is being on a cooking TV show—where none of the audience can actually taste any of what he made—Spike Mendelsohn seems to be awfully impressed with himself. The Top Chef alum has decided that D.C., where his Good Stuff and We the Pizza restaurants are, is a "second-tier city where you can be a big fish in a small pond." Mendelsohn isn't the first person to argue that D.C. is no New York. He may, however, be the first person to argue that D.C. is no New York using his own ability to succeed here as evidence for his case. -2

All Your Bus Are Belong to Google: It's been obvious for some time now that any need to recall information will, sometime in the not-too-distant future, be outsourced to Google. For Metro subways and buses, the future is now. Google Maps has, after a wait of some time, added the local transit system to its database; you can now plug in two addresses in the D.C. area and get directions on how to ride the train or bus between them. "But surely, Metro's own Trip Planner service already does this?" you may be asking. If, that is, you still use an email address. +2

Now Batting, George Washington: About a month into the baseball season, the Washington Nationals (also sometimes known as the Washington Natinals) are just a game below .500. But they rank 23rd out of 30 major league teams a stat that matters more to the bottom line: attendance. Which means it's already time for some Bill Veeck-style marketing. So tickets for Monday night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates will cost only $1. Sure, there are fees that add a few more bucks to the total, but still—what's more fun, sitting in the outfield on a nice spring night, or eating a McDonald's Fruit 'N Yogurt Parfait? +1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 77 Today's score: +2 Today's Needle rating: 79

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