Good Morning, RVA: ’TIS THE EVE!

Light some luminaries and get out the scissors and tape!

Photo by Anthony Topper.

Good morning, RVA! It’s 66°F and the goose is getting fat. This is my last GMRVA for awhile, and it’s a good thing, too, because I’m running out of ways to talk about rain. Will my outerwear ever dry out? Will my car-to-seaplane conversion be successful? Is there even any water left in the sky? You’ll just have to wonder, because Ross Catrow is back at it next week. Oh, and the forecast calls for thunderstorms with highs in the mid-to-upper 70s–your typical Yuletide atmosphere. Similar jams tomorrow albeit with somewhat lower temps.

Water cooler

Police Chief Alfred Durham confirms plans to take some dang action on the gun violence that’s plaguing our city, according to Ted Strong from the RTD. He’s come up with this Most Violent Person list that targets 20 people in Mosby, 20 in Gilpin, and 20 in the Randolph area. The idea–based on Project Exile–is to bust these MVPs for having guns, as they are already felons? I’m not really clear, but details are expected to follow early in the year. I cautiously applaud his efforts, I think.

The RTD’s 21st annual invitational high school basketball tournament has separated the athletic wheat from the also athletic chaff! Congrats to the Highland Springs girls team (even though they beat out Monacan High, my alma mater!) and the St. Christopher’s boys team. The whole TDIT is a really cool thing that I previously knew nothing about!

I’m interested in this comment thread on Style’s 2015 culinary year in review. Do we give too much attention to the same chefs again and again? Is it because we have bought into a sort of culinary cool-kids crowd, or is it just because that is what the readers want? It’s the age-old media conundrum. Personally, I think it varies by journalist–and not just RVA journalists, by a long shot! Some get more starstruck and into the cool kids aspect of being invited to the swank openings and having chefs ply you with free food, and some take the pageantry with a grain of sea salt. All of them are bound by what they think their readers want to know. It is a simple fact that Style’s Brandon Fox is very, very good at her job, and I would describe her as the very opposite of a foodie fangirl. But it’s a fascinating business, and I’m going to say that the commenters do have a point about food journalism as a whole.

(I am ultra aware, while opining about the State of Food Writing, that our Food News goes up today–penned as always by Stephanie Ganz, who is also very, very good at her job. To use Stephanie’s particular job to illuminate you: She knows that we want humor, relevant info, and the lowest possible amount of starry-eyed idolatry. She also knows that we want her to keep an eye out for food-related issues, like food deserts, hunger work, and health initiatives in schools. She ALSO knows that you want to know about new places to try, innovations to look out for, and practical, helpful information to use. She has to be aware that some readers are totally into trying a $16 burger and some devote a lot of energy to providing cheaper, healthier food to kids who survive on chips and soda because that’s all they can get. And, even more complicated, those two categories of readers have significant overlap! Think about that–this all amounts to a very tall order and requires the right kind of person and a lot of hard work. This has been your window into the job of a good food journalist! Now back to our regularly scheduled blathering.)

Here’s a riveting read about the bill that granted restitution to the hostages in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. You might need a refresher first.


  • Rams play Liberty on Sunday at 5:00 PM at the Stu.
  • Spiders shoot webs at Texas Tech on December 29th at 9:00 PM.
  • Hokies host Tulsa on Saturday at 5:45 PM.
  • Wahoos play Oakland on December 30th at 6:00 PM. There will be no sports whatsoever today or tomorrow, thank goodness! Did I say that out loud?

This morning’s longread

What Christmas cards would look like if they told the truth

Christmas cards can feel a lot more like “We had a professionally done advertisement for our family that we would like to show off” instead of “I wish you, personally, a wonderful year ahead, and I have said so with a message that I wrote to you with my own hand.” And while we maybe don’t think that an honest account of our struggles would be as festive as a beautiful family portrait, this piece will prove that wrong.

“It’s been our hardest year yet,” my husband said. He paused for a minute. “But our kids sure are great.” We don’t have the energy to pretend we are okay, because we aren’t really. But the light around us remains, we take our mercies as we get them, we see a new year just around the corner. Maybe, just maybe, this one will be a little bit easier.

This morning’s Instagram

3 D A Y S

A photo posted by Joel Woods (@joelwoodsvisuals) on

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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