City Desk

The Needle: Ben Stiller Edition

Take The Long Train Home: What's more frustrating than having to squeeze onto a crowded six-car Metro train even though the subway system can handle eight cars in each station? Watching a ten-car train go by. The transit agency recently disciplined some workers for allowing a train too long to fit properly in stations to run all the way around the Red Line, from Shady Grove to Glenmont, before anyone noticed, on Dec. 2. It's not the first time this has happened, and we bet it won't be the last. -1

Today In Ben Stiller News: Forget fancy economic development plans—maybe the District should just hire Ben Stiller as a tourism promoter. The Smithsonian says visits to museums downtown declined last year, because a long bump from the 2009 release of Stiller's Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian finally wore off. Meanwhile, HBO is set to produce a comedy about a Jewish family living in D.C., written by Jonathan Safran Foer and starring Stiller. Which, presumably, will lead to more visits by out-of-towners to the Sixth and I Synagogue, where his mom is the boss. +1

State Of The Traffic Is Bad: Not only will Mayor Vince Gray not be a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama's at tonight's State of the Union speech, but streets between the Capitol and the White House will all be jammed up due to security-related closings. Which basically means Gray should probably watch the speech from home like the rest of his constituents anyway. Prediction: Obama will not mention D.C. statehood, anxiety on Twitter will follow. -1

Goodnight, Sweet Prince: The Nationals ended the season just barely below .500 last year, and the thinking in baseball circles was that the team was maybe just a few moves and a few years away from becoming a serious contender. But given the chance this winter to make one of those moves, the Nats whiffed like a batter chasing a Stephen Strasburg fastball, reportedly letting free agent first baseman Prince Fielder sign with the Detroit Tigers because they didn't want to pay him for as many years as he wanted. Is it too early to say wait 'til next year if pitchers and catchers haven't even reported to spring training yet? -1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 40 Today's score: -2 Today's Needle rating: 38

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  • Typical DC BS

    Good for the Nats being smart. Although Fielder's deal is only for 9 years (he'll only be 36 at the end of this deal), which isn't too bad. Around $24 million a year is a big nut, though.

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