Tourmobile No More: Those blue trolleys trundling around the Mall will officially be a thing of the past next year. National Park Service spokesman Bill Line says Tourmobile’s contract to provide transportation (which probably was never as ironclad as NPS officials used to claim in terms of protecting the trolley monopoly) won’t be extended after it ends on Dec. 31. What will replace it isn’t yet decided, but whatever it is, chances are it won’t look as goofy. +2

The John Beck Era Is Upon Us: The Washington Redskins will take the field for tonight’s preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts led by a guy who hasn’t played a down in professional football for three years. Ladies and gentlemen, meet John Beck, your home team’s new starting quarterback. On one hand, the prospect of sending him out to play actual meaningful games is a little terrifying; on the other, the team was 4-12 two years ago and 6-10 last year, so how much worse could things get? -2

Squirrels, The Silent Enemy: When power goes out in the D.C. area, Pepco is usually quick to blame trees. A recent outage in Arlington, though, had a furrier cause: a squirrel. About 8,000 people near Ballston lost power last night when a squirrel tripped several breakers at a substation. Dominion Power got things turned back on quickly—apparently trees are more troublesome. -1

Bye Bye Bayi: The last time basketball made this much international news was when the Lithuanian Olympic team was all the rage in 1992; the Georgetown Hoyas’ brawl with the Chinese army team Bayi Rockets has gotten the team more publicity than anything Greg Monroe or Austin Freeman ever did when they were in school. There won’t be a chance for a second act, though—despite reports that Bayi and Georgetown would play again Sunday, the team is actually scheduled to meet the Liaoning Dinosaurs in Shanghai instead. No word on whether Vice President Joe Biden, touring China on a goodwill mission like Georgetown’s, will attend—or whether the Marines will be there to back up the Hoyas. +1

Yesterday’s Needle rating: 64 Today’s score: 0 Friday bonus: +2 Today’s Needle rating: 66