Tom Sherwood's Notebook: 09/27/11

We haven’t watched “Sesame Street” in a long time (the son is now 33), but we always liked the song that went “One of these things is not like the other; one of these things just doesn’t belong.”

It’s an elementary way of getting children to associate and think critically.

You have three pizzas and one chocolate cake, which doesn’t belong?

It’s not a hard concept.

And certainly adults should understand it, which brings us to the D.C. Council.

There won’t be any Muppet puppets of the members anytime soon, but maybe we can devise some simple games for the members.

For Ward 5 member Harry Thomas, which one of these doesn’t belong as you repay $300,000 in city funds that had been intended for youth sporting activities?

A. Government-paid tee time at Pebble Beach.

B. A $68,000 Audi SUV.

C. A $140 tab at Hooters.

D. A moralizing speech you gave about how the city must raise income taxes on the wealthy to care for the poor and disadvantaged.

For Council Chairman Kwame Brown, which one of these doesn’t belong when you repeatedly promise to be “open and transparent?”

A. Refusing to release detailed accounts of your transition funds.

B. Refusing to release detailed accounts of your inauguration funds.

C. Blaming your brother for not explaining where tens of thousands of unaccounted-for dollars went in your 2008 at-large campaign.

D. Calling for a secret meeting of council members last week and then calling police when reporters got wind of it and refused to leave the room.

Well, actually, none of those belong under the banner of “open and transparent.” So that game is over.

The game that’s not over is the one going on at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where investigators are looking into both Thomas’ and Brown’s personal and political finances.

We don’t know how many innings it will take before U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen calls his game, but a lot of citizens want to know exactly how badly Brown and Thomas have played and if there will be any penalties.

• Well played.

In the real world of sports, we’re happy to note that the Washington Nationals were roaring through the month of September with a 13-3 streak, including four-game sweeps of the Phillies and the Mets.

It has been terrific to watch and read about, regardless of the outcome of the last few games in Florida. It has us even thinking about buying into a season package for next year. We did that the first few years but felt like we were attending too many games.

Our NBC4 sports guys and Tom Boswell at The Washington Post are cautioning that season-ending bursts don’t necessarily foretell better days ahead. But we like to think they do and that they’ll hold on at least through spring training and the early days of April.

But for this sparkling September, we say congrats to the Nats.

• Well done.

We admit we live in the city in part to avoid the horrendous suburban traffic nightmares that play out on the eights on WTOP 103.5 FM.

One of the masters of the traffic mess each afternoon is the station’s Bob Marbourg. The good news comes that he has been named to the Broadcasters Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio.

Marbourg has been on the traffic beat since November 1979. He first reported on traffic from the air in a plane he flew. That wouldn’t go over so well in the “securicrat” world of today.

But Marbourg has a clear voice and you can clearly tell when he’s aggravated by some of the not-so-smart things motorists do. He doesn’t go easy on transportation departments or other government agencies that don’t respond quickly enough to wrecks and other traffic jams.

We have to stop here. This item is about as long as a Marbourg traffic report.

• It’s not a tax.

It’s a fee. The Department of Motor Vehicles wants more of your money.

As of Oct. 1, the fee for a duplicate driver’s license will increase from $7 to $20. The same goes for any change of address or duplicate registration card.

And residential parking fees are jumping from $15 to $35 annually. But if you’re a senior citizen, the increase is just to $25. Enjoy that $10 savings, folks.

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