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Hoya Paranoia: Big East basketball is tough—plays that might be called technical fouls in other conferences barely merit a glance from the refs. But that doesn’t mean the Georgetown Hoyas were ready for what they got today in China, in the second game of their “goodwill tour.” A bench-clearing brawl ended the game in the fourth quarter, as a crowd of Bayi Rockets fans in Beijing threw things at Georgetown players, who exchanged punches with the Rockets, then left the arena. (One widely circulated photo showed guard Jason Clark being stomped on by two opponents.) Presumably the Syracuse game will look kind and gentle by comparison. -1
Silt Spill: The mysterious substance befouling the Anacostia River (and causing several clean-up attempts by officials worried it was oil) has finally been identified, and it is… silt. Yes, the same stuff that naturally occurs in, oh, just about every river in the world. Evidently there was more of it than usual recently, in part because it rained last weekend for what felt like the first time ever, and it amassed in sufficient quantities to look threatening. No word on whether authorities will be called out next to deal with the sudden presence of odd green plantlife growing on what had previously been patchy bits of dead straw on people’s lawns around town. +2
Carsharing Is Carcaring: For years, Zipcar (and before the companies merged, FlexCar) has been able to park its sharable vehicles on District streets either for free or for a $200 annual fee. Those days are about to end; a serious rhetorical battle is about to begin. D.C. officials auctioned off 84 curbside parking spots Zipcar used to use, leaving the company with only 12. The change only affects 10 percent of Zipcar’s vehicles, but the Zipcar folks are unhappy enough about it that they’ve told customers who don’t like where the spots are relocated to or what rental rates do to contact DDOT boss Terry Bellamy. What, exactly, does a pack of angry Zipsters look like? We’ll find out soon enough. -1
Take Me Out to the Opera: The Washington Nationals won’t be playing baseball late next month; they’re already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs this year. But the ballpark won’t be going unused—the Washington National Opera will broadcast Puccini‘s Tosca to the stadium on Sept. 22, with free seats available in the outfield grass. No word yet on whether Ben’s Chili Bowl and Shake Shack will be open. +1
Yesterday’s Needle rating: 63 Today’s score: +1 Today’s Needle rating: 64