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Well, you can’t accuse the Vatican of a Friday news dump. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, tells WTOP that he didn’t expect Pope Benedict XVI to resign.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Pope! [Post]
  • Tommy Wells wants a hearing on colleague Jim Graham. [Loose Lips]
  • Mayor Vince Gray won’t rule out a congestion tax. [WTOP]
  • GPS monitoring allegedly doesn’t stop reoffenders. [Post]
  • Weekend stabbings at 14th and U. [WJLA]
  • How a series of whacky bills made Virginia’s legislature a punchline. [Post]
  • Post ombudsman joins the piling on the Washington Pigskins’ name. [Post]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY: Evicted: A politically-connected health center in Anacostia has been evicted by its landlord, the Salvation Army.

Mugged for Mugs: Copper mugs thefts by customers are sweeping Washington’s restaurants.

Splish Splash: Arena Stage’s new production of Metamorphoses features a pool of water onstage and a splash zone in the first few rows. But you won’t actually get soaked in one way: the seats are $15 there.

Muslims on Metro: Another round of “anti-jihad” ads is headed to Metro.

LOOSE LIPS, by Loose Lips columnist Alan Suderman. (tips? lips@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Adrian Fenty, gone but not forgotten. [AP]
  • District having hard time producing records related to $29 million in federal Skyland grants. [Examiner]
  • Vince Gray‘s profile in courage [Post]
  • Colby: This city has a bunch of bush-league pols. [Post]
  • City’s homeless children being ignored. [Post]
  • Gray wants ethics reform passed now. [NBC4]
  • District grapples with charter/DCPS divide. [Post]
  • Charter schools spending big dough on school construction. [Examiner]
  • David Alpert, so hot right now [Post]
  • Gray thinks maybe the CFO’s office should be under his control. [Post]
  • Gray has not ruled out congestion tax. [WTOP]

Housing Complex columnist Aaron Wiener is on vacation.

ARTS LINKS, by Ally Schweitzer (tips? artsdesk@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • D.C. didn’t fare well at the Grammys last night—sorry, Wale, Benny Blanco, et al.—but D.C. producer Alvin Risk did appear onstage as part of Skrillex‘s entourage. It’s something. [Twitter]
  • Parking-lot attendees stole nearly $1.4 million from the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.; two employees get jail time [Post]
  • Phil Kennicott on the George W. Bush paintings: “… this might be the best thing that has happened to the arts in a long time.” [Post]
  • Also, Kennicott on Kriston Capps‘ recent City Paper cover story about the Hirshhorn Bubble: “The bubble feels almost like a coy comment on the museum-addition game, a relatively inexpensive way of attracting attention and expanding event space without actually using any bricks and mortar.” (He also supports the idea.) [Post]
  • In order to consider a Fairfax parent’s request to ban Toni Morrison‘s Beloved from schools, the Fairfax County School Board had to read the book. [Post]
  • Mount Vernon acquires George Washington watercolor for more than $600,000 with help from an anonymous donor [Post]

FOOD LINKS, by Jessica Sidman (tips? hungry@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The 10 best spots for French fries [The Plate]
  • H Street NE’s Sova is closing/changing ownership. [Frozen Tropics]
  • Where to eat frog legs [Eater]
  • Daikaya opens Feb. 14 (we think for real this time). [Washingtonian]
  • Meet the chef of forthcoming French brasserie Le Diplomate. [Post]
  • Why to dine alone [NPR]
  • Inside TakEatEasy, now open near Dupont [PoPville]
  • Sneak peek inside the renovated Persimmon restaurant [Bethesda Mag]