Archive for the ‘Bethesda’ Category

Earthquake rocks Washington, D.C. area

August 23, 2011

Earthquake rocks Bethesda at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday.

I was in La Madeleine in Bethesda eating lunch. The place started shaking like a train was passing by. Ground felt slightly like a trampoline. Lasted about 10 seconds. felt a very small aftershock afterwards. People started running out. Throngs of people standing outside office buildings in Bethesda.

Reports state that it was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered about 100 miles south of Washington, D.C.


News reporters spotted in Bethesda

June 9, 2011

Over the last few years I’ve seen a bunch of news reporters in Bethesda.  Ok, it’s not Hollywood, but we do get a bunch of TV news people here.

Here’s an incomplete list:

Howard Fineman, Huffington Post reporter and MNSBC regular – the Apple Store

John King, CNN, the Apple Store

Mike Viqueira, MSNBC – Fitness First

David Gregory, Meet the Press, MSNBC – Starbucks and Bethesda Avenue.

Tony Kornheiser, PTI – Bethesda Avenue, going to Landmark movies?

Lisa Sylvester, CNN – Bethesda Avenue

Greta Van Susteren, FOX – Capital Crescent Trail

Chris Matthews, Hardball, MSNBC – Landmark Theaters

Cokie Roberts, NPR – Regal Theaters

Wolf Blitzer, CNN – the Pines of Rome restaurant

George Smith, ESPN – Bethesda Avenue

Michael Wilbon, ESPN – Cafe Deluxe

David DuPree, sportswriter – Bethesda Avenue

Chris Gordon, local TV reporter – Bethesda Avenue

Tim Brandt, sports reporter – Bethesda Avenue

Years ago, not in Bethesda:

George Stephanopoulos, Austin Grill, Glover Park

Tim Russert, Cafe Deluxe, Glover Park

Chick Hernandez, Comcast Sportsnet – Chadwick’s in Chevy Chase

Laura Evans, FOX 5 News – Clyde’s in Chevy Chase

real celebrities?

the list is pretty thin – all I can think of is Sandra Bullock, 2000, Atomic Billiards, Cleveland Park, and another bar in D.C. around the same time, and Gary Sinese, Old Ebbitt Grill, 2011.

I guess our celebrities are the news people.  Next – sports figures.

Large crowd at Bethesda Apple Store for launch of iPad 2

March 11, 2011

The line stretched across six stores and restaurants as people waited for the iPad 2. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

At first I thought the long line on Bethesda Avenue at Bethesda Row was for Georgetown Cupcake.  At least the line turned out to be for something more useful, though I can’t imagine wasting time in line instead of waiting a few days.

The line that numbered a few hundred people stood outside the Apple Store in Bethesda for the launch of the iPad 2.  I will say this about the iPad – it has a lot of good, cheap applications for kids and adults with disabilities.

This blog is brought to you by Spend one night in the hospital and give someone a kidney that lasts 30 years.

People wait in line for the iPad 2 at the Apple Store in Bethesda.

New restaurants in Bethesda: Mussel Bar, American Tap Room, Taylor Gourmet Deli, Vapiano

September 5, 2010

Four new restaurants just opened in Bethesda on Woodmont Avenue, all near the intersection with Elm Street.  This won’t be a review, as I’ve only been to one of them, but i just think it’s interesting.

Mussel Bar replaced Levantes, which served middle eastern food.  I thought Levantes was pretty good, but Mussel Bar has been successful so far.  It has been described as like a “New Jersey bar.”  The inside has dark brown tables and there are picnic tables outside.

Next door is American Tap Room.  It looks good, and it’s nice to have traditional American restaurant in an area with Indian, Japanese, French, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Italian places, which are all great, though Austin Grill was cheap, good, and kid-friendly.  Cafe Deluxe is another kid-friendly option.

Across the street is Taylor Gourmet Deli, which has a wide variety of hoagies, and Vapiano, serving pasta, panini, and pizza.  I had one of the pizzas and it was very good.  The food is made from fresh ingredients right in front of you.  I’m not sure if they have wait staff – it seems like you go up and order and then you bring it to your table when your beeper goes off.  The place is large with rustic tables and some lounge-type chairs.  Seems pretty cool, but it could be one of the least likely to survive because it’s the furthest from the epicenter of lower Bethesda (Barnes and Noble), and there isn’t much else on Hampden Lane.

So the number of restaurants has increased by two overall on that corner.  On Bethesda Avenue, Organic to Go, across from Sweetgreen, went out of business.  I asked them once why they served Coke and Sprite since they were supposed to be healthy.  “Demand,” the guy said.  Well, looks like that didn’t work out too well.  Most of the places in downtown Bethesda do well, but if you’re even a block off the beaten path (Thai Corner, on Bethesda Ave. on the other side of Woodmont, and Pizza Zero, on Bethesda Ave. on the other side of Arlington Road, both went out of business) you can struggle.

All four places have outdoor seating.

HHS, NIH and other federal agencies should hire more employees with autism and other disabilities

July 13, 2010

Special Comment

The federal government’s Schedule A Programintended to facilitate the hiring of people with disabilities is severely underutilized. The hiring authority has rarely been used to hire people with cognitive, developmental or psychiatric disabilities. The federal government should develop and implement policies that ensure that people with autism and other disabilities are given an equal opportunity to contribute to the missions of government agencies.


The unemployment rate of people with disabilities is approximately 70 percent. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) created the Schedule A hiring authority to allow for greater recruitment and hiring of individuals with disabilities. Schedule A allows federal agencies to “provide disabled individuals a unique opportunity to demonstrate their ability to successfully perform the essential duties of a position with or without reasonable accommodation.”

OPM states that the Schedule A certification is used to “appoint persons who are certified that they are at a severe disadvantage in obtaining employment…Certification also ensures that they are capable of functioning in the position for which they will be appointed.”

The Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health

Unfortunately, the government’s record on hiring employees with disabilities through the Schedule A program has been abysmal. The agencies that should be leading the government are among the worst offenders, starting with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), its Operating Divisions including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

To see the rest of my article on, click here.

Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN) holds annual sports festival for D.C. area kids with disabilities

June 8, 2010

Kids Enjoy Exercise Now held its 9th annual sports festival Sunday at Hadley Park in Potomac, Maryland. The sports festival is an annual celebration in which KEEN families participate in sports and games with their children and siblings, along with volunteer coaches.

KEEN is a national, non-profit volunteer organization that gives children and young adults with disabilities a chance play sports and recreational activities in a non-competitive, welcoming atmosphere. KEEN athletes include children with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and autism.

For the rest of my article on, click here.

Honest Tea: Nectar from Heaven?

January 10, 2010

I’m still amazed at how great Honest Tea and Honest Ade drinks are. Honest Ade Cranberry Lemonade is the best – it goes down so smoothly and has just the right mix of cranberry juice and lemonade – followed by Peach White Tea and Orange Mango with Mangosteen. The Honest Kids drinks are really good too – they’re light.  The pomegranate drinks are a little heavy but maybe that’s just me. Honest Tea/Ade is organic – the most important part of that is that it’s free of pesticides – and it also has less sugar than other drinks. Some of their teas have no sugar at all.

A couple of Izze drinks are giving Honest Ade a run for its money, though. The Sparkling Blackberry is great, and the Sparkling Clementine and Sparkling Grapefruit are very good too.  Izze drinks have real juice and “no refined sugars, no caffeine, no preservatives, no artificial colors or flavors.” There are also a lot of Izze drinks I haven’t tried yet.

Ok, now Honest Tea has added Honest KOMBUCHA with probiotics. Sounds great.  This is just a little too much to keep up with, though. So anyway, here are my rankings:

1.  Honest Ade Cranberry Lemonade

2.  Honest Peach White Tea

3.  Izze Sparkling Blackberry

4.  Honest Ade Orange Mango with Mangosteen

5.  (Tie) Honest Kids, Izze Sparkling Clementine

(Yes, I know – I’m doing a blog about Honest Tea and Izze drinks while I have tons of unbelievably important stuff to do).

Photos from Snowstorm in Washington D.C.

December 19, 2009

The Washington, D.C. area got about a foot and a half of snow today. Here are a few pics – one from NW and three from Bethesda, MD.

Barnes and Noble at Bethesda Row

Christmas Tree on Bethesda Lane

Rita's Crepes on Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda

Chesapeake Street, NW

Honest Ade Cranberry Lemonade: Greatest Drink Ever?

October 30, 2009

I’m starting to think that Honest Ade’s Cranberry Lemonade is the greatest drink of all-time.  I love it so much.  It is the best.  It has just the right amount of sweetness.  It’s very easy to drink and goes down smoothly.  I can chug these things.  Regular cranberry juice is either too strong or too bitter, while regular lemonade usually has too much sugar in it, but this drink has just the right amount of sugar – about 12 grams per serving.  It could possibly use a couple fewer grams of sugar but you have to be realistic.  Buyers might not buy it if they took any more sugar out.  The cranberries and lemonade are an amazing blend.  If I saw you with an Honest Ade Cranberry Lemonade I might just assume you were a good person.

The ingredients are:  Purified water, organic cane sugar, organic lemon juice concentrate, organic lemon extract, organic cranberry juice concentrate, organic cranberry flavor, carrot extract (for color), and citric acid.  The only thing is that it can get expensive because they only sell it in 16.9 oz. bottles.

Water is actually the greatest drink of all time but I think this one is second.  Fresh squeezed orange juice would make the list too. Sometimes I’ll buy one Orange Mango with Mangosteen for every five or six Cranberry Lemonades just so the Orange Mango with Mangosteen won’t feel left out, but it can’t compare.  The other one I’ve been having lately is the Honest Tea Peach White Tea which doesn’t have the aftertaste of many teas and it has 150 mg of superantioxidant ECGC per bottle.  Remember, peaches came in ranked at number three on my list of the 10 most underrated fruits ( Actually, the list goes to 11.  But what are you going to take out? Lingonberries?  Nectarines?  Blackberries?  I don’t think so.

The Honest Kids drinks are also very good.

Honorable mention goes to the Honest Ade Superfruit Punch with Yumberry and Goji Berry.  Do you realize there is actually a review for this drink on the web at  Then there are actually two comments after the review!  Get a life, people.

Wait a minute… D’OH!

(By the way, “D’OH” is not an acceptable scrabble word.  I tried to use it the other night.  It’s urban legend that it has been added to the scrabble dictionary).

Nice segues by me, by the way.  My previous post was about NFL quarterbacks Vince Young and Jay Cutler.

Ok.  Now I’m officially blogging just to avoid doing important things that I need to get done.  So until the next post…

Sports for Children with Autism

July 23, 2009

There was a good article in the Washington Post yesterday about a boy with autism who swims on a local swim team.  Kids with autism can benefit a lot from playing sports, as can their neurotypical peers from having them on the teams.  Swimming is one of the better sports for kids with autism because it is both individual, without a lot of complex requirements, yet still social in that kids are still part of a team.

Participating in sports can help kids with autism and other disabilities in many ways.  Sports give kids with disabilities confidence, improve socialization, get more oxygen to the brain, improve coordination, help them stay in shape, help them sleep better, improve cognitive function by improving proprioception (the body’s sense of where it is in space), and reduce inappropriate behaviors.  Improvements in fine and gross motor skills often go hand in hand with improvements in academic and cognitive function.  Certain exercises can relax kids and even help align both hemispheres of the brain.  And of course, sports are also a lot of fun.

Kids with autism often like swimming, trampoline, and swinging.  This gives us clues on what kind of sensory input they need.  What is the best sport for children with autism?  I tried to answer the question a couple of years ago at  I think the real answer is, “Whatever they like best.”  In order to find out whatever they like best, we need to get rid of our preconceived notions and expose them to as many athletic opportunities as possible.  I learned this after coaching a child in soccer a few years ago who ultimately ended up playing hockey.  I never would have thought hockey would be a great sport for kids with autism because of the need to skate and handle a stick simultaneously, but it turns out that it can be great, and it just goes to show that we shouldn’t put limitations on anyone.

Sports can be more effective for kids with disabilities when they are mixed in with academics and social skills.  You can do a half hour of sports followed by a half hour of schoolwork, followed by a half hour of social skills.  Each area helps the child generalize and build on the previous one. Sometimes people make the mistake, though well intentioned, of segregating each activity to the point where each one is facilitated by different specialists who, worst-case scenario, don’t coordinate and communicate with each other.  In any case, each activity should transition and relate to the others, and ideally, you can do some academic work while moving at the same time.  One example is to play catch or jump on a trampoline while answering questions.  This helps with sensory integration.  Yoga is also great for balance and relaxation, and deep breathing and meditation exercises can help improve the attention spans of children and reduce unwanted behaviors at the same time.

For a high functioning child, you can have him or her play in a league with typical peers, preferably a couple of years younger than the child who has autism.  The child has a “shadow” who helps integrate him or her with the other children athletically and socially.  I’ve facilitated in this way, and also coached Special Olympics soccer, and both can be great depending on the situation.  See for ideas on drills.  It’s the same concept as in school – sometimes it’s best for kids to be mainstreamed into the typical school environment, and other times it’s best for them to be in a self-contained (special education) classroom, and often the best of both worlds is a combination of both, depending on the situation.

Exercises are great, but it’s best to do ones that are meaningful in the context of sports, so that children can eventually be part of a team, or at least play in impromptu games after school, or even use imagination to make up their own games.  It’s how kids learn best – not just sitting at a desk doing work, but getting along with others, being spontaneous, thinking on the fly.

A lot of people are familiar with the amazing story of Jason McElwain, an autistic teenager who scored 6 three-point baskets for his high school team a few years ago.  This type of success doesn’t happen a lot, but it would never happen if too many limitations are put on children who have autism and other disabilities who want to play sports.

I’d like to add one other thing.  While parents shouldn’t push their kids too hard into sports, they should expose them to sports and in some cases kids may need a nudge.  You wouldn’t tell your child who says, “I don’t want to do math” that it’s ok to avoid homework just because he or she doesn’t want to do it.  Math is necessary and good for kids.  Sports may be good for them as well, so don’t be so quick to say, “He doesn’t want to do it.”  In any case, it’s better to try something new that to do the same things over and over.  Sometimes I think parents are more autistic than the kids themselves – not willing to try anything new, just doing the same old x number of hours of therapy sitting at a desk in a vacuum.  And playing sports is certainly better than sitting inside and watching TV.

Ok, that reminds me, I have one other thing to add.  Today, a lot of kids play video games, and one video game that can be beneficial is the Nintendo Wii, which has simulated sports that can create an interest in real sports (tennis, bowling, baseball), as well as fitness (yoga, exercises, and running).

For people in the Bethesda/Montgomery County, MD/Washington, DC areas, there are several sports-related opportunities for children with autism.

  • Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN, is a free, volunteer-run sports program for kids with disabilities.  There is a waiting list that was up to a year long the last time I checked, but they don’t turn anyone away unless they are over 21.  KEEN has a general sports program, a swim program, a music program, and a Teen Club for higher functioning children to do outings.  KEEN has chapters in Bethesda, Washington, DC, and several more across the country, and even a few in England, where KEEN began.
  • Sports Plus, based in Germantown, MD, has sports leagues for kids with high functioning autism (
  • Fitness for Health in Rockville has some excellent equipment and specializes in one on one training sessions.  See
  • Special Olympics provides sports for not only children but also adults with disabilities:  The Special Olympics national website is
  • There are a few youth hockey programs in the area such as the Montgomery Cheetahs (

Elsewhere, check with your local schools and governments, or search the web to see what is out there.