(Updated at 6:20 p.m.) Nostalgia is the most dangerous emotion for Andrew Gifford, the grandson of John Gifford, founder of beloved former area ice cream chain Gifford’s Ice Cream.
Last month Gifford released his first book, “We All Scream: The Rise and Fall of the Gifford’s Ice Cream Empire.“ The book depicts Gifford’s abusive relationship with his parents growing up, the deaths of his grandparents and how his father ruined Washington’s largest ice cream empire.
When Robert Gifford, one of John Gifford’s other sons, took over the company, things quickly went downhill. Gifford described his father’s actions during the reading, explaining how he would never pay his taxes, cheated his customers and didn’t pay employees, ultimately leaving the company in financial ruin.
Despite the collapse, many local residents still remember Gifford’s fondly. And that means the brand is still valuable.
“It doesn’t matter what’s in the cup,” a person trying to reboot the company said last year, according to Gifford. “As long as I say it’s Gifford’s Swiss Chocolate, people will pay me anything I ask.”
“It’s these people who are so focused on this fantasy and nostalgia that frustrate me,” said Gifford. “I want the lesson to be nostalgia is dangerous, don’t give into it. Don’t buy $6 ice cream from someone who said they once bought machines from the people who once supplied Gifford’s 50 years ago.”
In the excerpt Gifford read during the event, he described how his mother decided to sit him down at the age of 6 and tell him that his grandmother was murdered by his grandfather. This was a lie: his grandmother had passed several years beforehand, but Gifford had been told she was still alive during his entire childhood.
“We All Scream” made an impression on members of the audience, most of whom grew up in the area and had warm memories of Gifford’s Ice Cream.
During the Q&A session, many questions were about what happened to the old Gifford’s ice cream flavors and recipes people adored, and if anyone could find any remaining Gifford’s products. Instead of focusing on the horror and abuse around the Gifford story, the questions were full of yearning and nostalgia.
“This was a beautiful thing that people loved but it needs to die,” said Gifford after the event. “It needs to end. There’s this obsession with the Gifford’s of old, when really it wasn’t that fairytale.”
Arlington Sports Hall of Fame Seeks Permanent Venue — There is an Arlington Sports Hall of Fame, but it does not have a permanent home. Boosters are seeking to change that, discussing a possible display in Arlington Central Library. [InsideNova]
Local Man Graduates Parris Island With Honors — Arlington native Allen M. Gibbs has graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island with honors. [Beaufort Gazette]
Police, Fire Departments Hold Book Drive — Starting Wednesday and running through April 30, Arlington police and firefighters will be holding a “For the Love of Reading” book drive, collecting specific books for elementary school students at Arlington Public Schools. Donation boxes are located at police headquarters in Courthouse and at local fire stations. [Arlington County]
Avalon Bay Donates to APAH — Arlington-based apartment, publicly traded building owner AvalonBay has made a $35,000 donation to the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. The company has raised $85,000 for APAH since 2015. [Yahoo Finance]
Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak
Orange Line Living founder Dan Lesniak is pleased to announce his new book, written to help agents grow their real estate businesses in innovative and competitive ways.
The new book, The HyperLocal, HyperFast Real Estate Agent, tells how Lesniak, an Arlington-based real estate agent in the D.C. area, started his career and rose to become one of the top agents in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country, all in his freshman year.
All proceeds from the book’s purchase from March 1-8 will benefit The Folded Flag Foundation.
Lesniak started in real estate in 2012 after a successful career as a Naval Submarine Officer and a Defense Contractor. In his first year, he closed over $22 million in sales, a feat matched by only a small fraction of agents, regardless of experience.
“Whether you are a new agent looking to start your career, an experienced agent looking for more growth, or a top agent looking to break into a new market, this book will give you plenty of strategies for how to compress time, quickly grow your business and provide more value to your clients,” says Lesniak.
The release of The HyperLocal, HyperFast Real Estate Agent is timely. With recent events in the United States bringing uncertainty to many areas, Lesniak looks to show agents that they can use these strategies regardless of the state of the market.
“There is no greater opportunity right now in the real estate industry than there is in the expansion market,” says Noah Ostroff, CEO of Global Living and a top-selling Keller Williams agent. “This will require you to grow in your existing market and know how to expand in new ones. This book is a great example of how to rapidly expand in any market and is a must read for expansion team leaders.”
For more information about Dan Lesniak and The HyperLocal, HyperFast Real Estate Agent, visit www.hyperlocalhyperfast.com.
To purchase the book on Kindle and support the spouses and children of the U.S. military, click here.
The preceding post was written and sponsored by Orange Line Living.
Now, over 180 years later, America’s national character seems to be changing. Americans across income classes are moving less, starting fewer businesses, marrying people more like themselves, and basing choices on algorithms that wall them off from anything new or different.
In other words, Americans have become complacent. They are working harder than ever to postpone or avoid change. A focus on safety and caution over everything else has resulted in an America that is less dynamic and more conformist than ever before.
That’s the primary observation George Mason economist Tyler Cowen makes in his new book, The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream. In it he documents the rising trends of self-segregation, stagnation, and risk avoidance in America. Of the book, author Malcolm Gladwell said, “His brilliant new book…has been on my nightstand after I devoured it in one sitting. I am at round-the-clock Cowen saturation right now.” At Foreign Affairs, Edward Luce said, “Cowen does a marvelous job of turning his Tocquevillian eye to today’s America.”
On Monday, March 6, from 6-7 p.m., the Mercatus Center at George Mason University will host a live interview at George Mason’s Arlington Campus (3351 Fairfax Drive) between Reason Magazine’s Katherine Mangu-Ward and Tyler Cowen on American complacency and what it means for the future of politics, the economy, and the very foundation of our culture.
The event is free of charge and open to the public, and copies of the book will be available for purchase after the discussion.
The discussion is especially timely given the current state of politics. In his book, Tyler Cowen notes that the short-term peace and calm that results from American complacency simply cannot last. He predicts a chaotic future as more Americans rebel against the economic stagnation and lack of mobility that result from maintaining the status quo.
While America may currently seem less stable and more restless than before, The Complacent Class suggests there is reason for long-term optimism as the upcoming process of social, economic, and legal transformation could ultimately reinvigorate Americans to bring back the dynamism, energy and ambition that Tocqueville observed in his time. Nevertheless, many Americans may soon wish to have the era of complacency back.
Click here to register for the free event.
Click here to pre-order a copy of The Complacent Class:The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream.
The preceding was written and sponsored by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
So many notable people died in 2016 that the losses have contributed to some Twitter users dubbing this the #WorstYearEver. Now the Arlington Public Library has compiled a list of its books, DVDs, and music files that users can borrow to find out what made some of these people stand out from the crowd.
The list is not comprehensive because the library does not own items relating to every single notable person who died this year. It does, however, include items related to 67 well-known authors, performers, activists, scientists, and public figures.
Some of the items on the list are:
- All You Need Is Ears by George Martin: An autobiography of the record producer and composer best known for his work with The Beatles.
- David Bowie: Starman by Paul Trynka: The book examines Bowie’s many artistic reinventions and broad influence on the entertainment world.
- Heimlich’s Maneuvers: My Seventy Years of Lifesaving Innovations by Henry J. Heimlich: An autobiography of the thoracic surgeon best known for inventing the technique to stop choking.
- Arnold Palmer: Memories, Stories, and Memorabilia by Arnold Palmer: An autobiography of the professional golfer who many consider the greatest player in the sport’s history.
- The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama by Gwen Ifill: The Peabody-Award winning journalist’s continuation of her long-time coverage of America’s race issues.
- I’m Your Man by Leonard Cohen (DVD): The documentary covers Cohen’s life and work and includes interviews with artists he inspired.
- Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (DVD): The sci-fi film features Carrie Fisher in her iconic role as Princess Leia.
- Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story by Robyn Doolittle: The biography covers the life of the controversial former Toronto mayor known for his drug- and alcohol-fueled antics.
- 40 Greatest Hits by Merle Haggard (eMusic): The music file includes songs spanning the country legend’s career.
An author talk at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd) will examine Donald Trump’s election and the implications of the U.S. no longer being a majority white Christian nation.
The talk by Robert P. Jones, author of the “The End of White Christian America,” is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 11 at 1 p.m.
From a press release:
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington will host a talk with Robert P. Jones, the CEO of Public Religion Research Institute on Sunday, December 11, at 1:00 p.m. Jones will discuss his new book, The End of White Christian America, which has been hailed by The New York Times Review of Books as “quite possibly the most illuminating text for this election year.” Drawing on decades of public opinion and demographic research, Jones challenges us to grasp a new reality — that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation — and examines what influence this had on the 2016 presidential election.
The presentation and discussion will provide unique insight into:
- The ways both political parties are responding to these shifts, including Donald Trump’s surprising appeal to white conservative Christian voters;
- The stark disagreements between white and black Americans over the fairness of the justice system and the #BlackLivesMatter movement;
- The apocalyptic tone of arguments over same-sex marriage and LGBT rights;
- How these recent demographic and cultural changes are shaping — and often distorting — our understanding of principles such as equality, fairness, and religious freedom.
Image courtesy Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
Garvey to Hold Book Discussion — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey is launching a series of community book discussions on various topics. Tonight Garvey and School Board Chair Nancy Van Doren will discuss the best-selling book “Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.” The discussion will take place at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) from 7:30-9 p.m. [Facebook]
Beer Store, TechShop Collaborate for New Kegerator — Crystal City Wine Shop (220 20th Street S.) has teamed up with nearby TechShop to create a new kegerator. The custom-modified refrigerator allows the store to offer varieties of craft beer that aren’t available in bottles or cans. Customers can take the beer home in fillable cans known as crowlers. [Washington Business Journal]
Cosi Files for Bankruptcy — The Cosi chain of sandwich and salad restaurants has filed for bankruptcy and closed 40 percent of its locations. Among the closed stores: the Cosi in Courthouse. A rep for the company told us yesterday: “The decision to close this restaurant was based on its financial performance and market density. At this time, we do not have any plans to reopen this restaurant.” [Nation’s Restaurant News]
Flash Flood Watch Continues — Forecasters are expecting several more inches of rain to fall between now and Saturday. The potential for flash flooding along streams and low-lying areas remains and a Flash Flood Watch is still in effect. [Twitter, Twitter]
It’s September — Bid an especially hot and sweaty August adieu, September is here. Get ready for kids going back to school, fall beer tastings, outdoor festivals, Pumpkin Spice Lattes and cooler weather. As a reminder, however: it’s still summer until Sept. 22.
Author Talk at Kenmore — Best-selling author Ann Patchett will be discussing her new book Commonwealth, which is set in part in Arlington, at an event on Thursday, Sept. 15. The event, at the Kenmore Middle School auditorium, is open to the public, with RSVP; it’s sponsored by One More Page Books and Arlington Public Library. [Eventbrite]
CEB CEO Stepping Down — Tom Monahan, the CEO of the publicly traded, Rosslyn-based firm CEB, is stepping down. The search is now on for a new chief executive for the 4,500-employee company, which will be moving to a gleaming new office tower after construction wraps up, likely in 2018. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Mullen reconnected with fellow lawyer and University of Virginia School of Law alum Michael Kun, who sought her help with what became “We Are Still Tornadoes,” a novel about best friends who follow different paths after high school. Kun, an author whose books include “The Locklear Letters” and “My Wife and My Dead Wife,” shocked Mullen with his writing proposal.
“I thought, ‘Why would you want to do that?'” Mullen said. “He’s a successful novelist, and I’ve never written anything before. We talked it through and basically agreed that we’d be honest with each other, and if it wasn’t going well, we’d just say, ‘Well this was fun,’ and move on.”
The novel centers around Scott and Cath, who grew up together in a small Maryland town. Through the use of letters between the friends, Mullen and Kun weave together a story of what happens when Cath goes to Wake Forest University and Scott stays behind to follow his musical dreams.
In order to keep the concept of writing letters back and forth a realistic one, the book is set in 1982, before online communication became widespread.
“It was a time when people wrote letters,” Mullen said. “It had to pre-date email because I don’t think that email has the same charm as writing letters, although members of the younger generations might disagree.”
To add authenticity to the missives, Mullen and Kun actually sent letters to each other throughout the writing process, with Mullen drafting Cath’s dispatches and Kun penning Scott’s notes.
Mullen and Kun discussed little beyond the novel’s framework and basic plot before starting the process, leaving the rest to the individual writer.
“We exchanged letters back and forth, and we just let it evolve,” Mullen said. “We surprised each other with the letters to a certain extent, and we would give each other a little bit of feedback along the way.”
The exchange of letters took over three years, something that Mullen attributes to both her and Kun’s busy lives as lawyers with families.
“I would only write when I had a significant block of time to really sit down and pay attention to do my best work,” Mullen said. “I really wanted to respect the process.”
When she was writing, Mullen’s oldest daughter was beginning her freshman year at Harvard University, giving her somebody to base the collegiate experience on. Both of her daughters also provided feedback in terms of how authentic the letters sounded. One major change was the inclusion of profanity, something her daughters felt came off as more authentic.
“Mike previously had a rule that he did not want his characters to curse because he wanted his daughter to eventually read his books,” Mullen said. “When my girls read it, they were like, ‘Mom, they have to curse, its just not realistic. It’s the way teenagers talk.'”
One challenge they faced while writing the book was finding a way to describe events that occurred while both characters were in the same location.
“You’re not going to write to each other about things that you have experienced together,” Mullen said. “It’s challenging sometimes to describe events with enough detail to be interesting to the reader and at the same time not include so much detail that its unrealistic from a letter-writing standpoint.”
At the same time, she said that the epistolary format helped make the writing process easier for her as a rookie novelist.
“I only had to write one letter at a time,” Mullen said. “For a lot of first-time authors, what stops them is trying to figure out what they’re going to say from start to finish.”
“We Are Still Tornadoes” is set to come out Nov. 1.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com
Steamy Stretch Starting — It’s hot and humid outside today and through the end of the week. Afternoon storms are possible each day. During this hot stretch, authorities are warning people to stay hydrated and to make sure their air conditioners are in good working condition. [Washington Post, Twitter, Twitter]
Ultra-Nationalist Group Based in Arlington — The National Policy Institute, the “institutional center” of the nationalist movement that has come out of the woodwork in the U.S. thanks to the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, is based here in Arlington. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called the think tank a “white supremacist” group. [Forward]
New Book About Arlington — Local author HK Park has published another book about Arlington. This kid-oriented, 44-page paperback is called “How Your City Works!! Behind The Scenes In Arlington, VA.”
Discussion of Pike Development — Arlington County Board members Libby Garvey and Christian Dorsey discussed the approval of the Rappahannock Coffee site redevelopment in the county’s Board meeting wrap-up video. [YouTube]
Signature Theatre Announces New Cast — The cast for the Signature Theatre production of “Jelly’s Last Jam” includes a Tony Award winner, a Helen Hayes Award winner and a star jazz pianist. The musical begins at the Shirlington theater in August. [Playbill]
Arlington’s Got Talent Winner — Lyfe, a spoken word artist, is the 2016 winner of the Arlington’s Got Talent competition. [InsideNova]
Photo courtesy B. Heather
Crystal City Bus-Only Lanes Opening Soon — Bus-only lanes in Crystal City, part of the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway, are set to open April 17. It’s the region’s first Bus Rapid Transit line. [Washington Post]
Civ Fed Wants Lower Taxes — The Arlington Civic Federation voted Tuesday to call for a one cent reduction in property taxes. The current annual rate is 99.6 cents for every $100 of assessed value. [InsideNova]
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Visits Today — Anthony Doerr, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “All the Light We Cannot See,” will discuss this best-selling novel at the Washington-Lee High School auditorium from 7-8:30 tonight. The discussion is part of Arlington Public Library’s 2016 Arlington Reads program, the theme of which is “the human displacement of World War II.” [ARLnow]
WW2 Exhibit at Library — In addition to the Doerr event and two other author talks, Arlington Central Library is hosting “an artifact-rich exhibition on Arlington County in World War II. It’s the story of a community undergoing rapid transition from fading farms to new home to the Pentagon, all while sending its young men to fight in Europe and the Pacific. ” [Arlington County]
GMU to Hold Talk With Camille Paglia — On Tuesday, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University’s Arlington campus will be holding a discussion with Camille Paglia, the “cultural critic, intellectual provocateur, and feminist icon.” The discussion will be hosted by GMU’s noted economics professor Tyler Cowen. RSVP is required. [Mercatus Center]
Former Willow Team is Now at the Watergate — Tracy O’Grady, the chef and owner of the former Willow restaurant in Ballston, is now running Campono, an Italian restaurant in the Watergate complex. O’Grady’s husband Brian, who also worked at Willow, is on the Campono team as well. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anthony Doerr will be the featured speaker for Arlington Reads 2016.
Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See” earned him widespread literary fame after it was published in 2014. The New York Times bestseller won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction last year.
The novel tells the story of “a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.”
Doerr is scheduled to speak at Washington-Lee High School’s auditorium on Thursday, April 7 from 7-8:30 p.m. Doors will open to the public at 6 p.m.
Two other authors will speak as part Arlington Reads 2016, the theme of which is “the human displacement of World War II.”
Julie Otsuka, author of “When the Empire Was Divine,” will speak on Thursday, May 5 and author Richard Reeves of “Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II” will speak on Thursday, May 19. Both events will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street).
Widening Critics Still Questioning I-66 Deal — “Widening the highway for four miles from Beltway to Ballston will not relieve traffic congestion, according to every expert I’ve spoken to,” writes WAMU transportation reporter Martin Di Caro, regarding the I-66 deal struck by Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette, meanwhile, says the overall plan for tolling I-66 is worth the compromise. [Twitter, WAMU]
Arlington Probably Won’t Sue Over I-395 HOT Lanes — After mounting an expensive legal battle over a plan by Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R) administration to convert the HOV lanes on I-395 to High Occupancy Toll lanes, Arlington appears poised to accept a similar HOT lane plan by VDOT and the McAuliffe administration. There are some key differences between the two proposals, observers say. [Greater Greater Washington]
Arlington Man Arrested in D.C. Cold Case — Arlington resident Benito Valdez, 45, has been arrested and charged with an alleged accomplice in a 1991 triple homicide cold case in the District. [Associated Press]
Chamber Concert in Lyon Park This Weekend — On Saturday, IBIS Chamber Music will hold a free concert of chamber music in the newly-renovated Lyon Park Community Center (414 N. Fillmore Street). The concert will start at 7:30 p.m. and feature music by Schubert, Beethoven and Debussy. [ARLnow]
Local Resident’s Cat Story Appears in Book — A story by Arlington resident April Riser is featured in the new book, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat,” according to a PR rep for the publisher.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
That’s the takeaway from the library’s list of top books and DVDs for 2015, which was released Thursday.
The top 10 print books in circulation last year:
1. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins
2. “All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel” by Anthony Doerr
3. “Gray Mountain” by John Grisham
4. “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt
5. “Yes Please” by Amy Poehler
6. “The Paying Guests” by Sarah Waters
7. “Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson
8. “A Spool of Blue Thread” by Anne Tyler
9. “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee
10. “Gone Girl: A Novel” by Gillian Flynn
2. “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
5. “Despicable Me 2”
7. “House of Cards: The Complete First Season”
8. “The Wolf of Wall Street”
9. “Gone Girl”
10. “Saving Mr. Banks”
See the full list of books, eBooks and DVDs here.
The session will be held at the Central Library at 1015 N. Quincy Street on Wednesday, Feb. 24 from 7-8:30 p.m.
It will involve both a book discussion focusing on the need for pet emergency preparedness across the country, as well as a talk about ways residents can train their pets in case of an emergency, such as unusual or extreme weather events.
The discussion will focus on Cathy Scott’s book “Pawprints of Katrina: Pets Saved and Lessons Learned.” It’s a journalistic account of the aftermath of the hurricane that hit Louisiana more than a decade ago, telling the stories of pets who were separated from their owners because of the storm. The book recounts the rescues of these pets as well as the reunions with their families.
After discussing the book and the issue, participants will receive safety advice and a free pet preparedness starter kit. The kit will include a collar strobe light, a collapsible food/water bowl and a waste bag dispenser.
Copies of the book will be available to borrow from the Central Library reference desk starting on Jan. 25.
Photo via Turner Publishing