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March 31, 1996

Suburbia Not

Dear Neighbors:

I've heard second-hand rumors about a recent break in at 34th and P Street, NW. The victim struggled with the assailant who allegedly fired his gun several times at the woman before escaping. Fortunately, the gun refused to fire. Any confirmation or contradiction of this event would be greatly appreciated. Regardless, with Spring finally approaching, it's probably worth reminding you of the risks of leaving lower level windows open.

Readers of the Northwest Side Story remember my fondness for zoo stories. I'm delighted to report that the National Zoo has put together an interesting and sophisticated web page. Point your browser to and make a bookmark. And if you don't understand what I mean but want to, see my ad at the bottom of this message.

Now, if you want to see an uninteresting and unsophisticated use of web technology, check out the District of Columbia's home page at


Jeffrey Itell



One of the thing I miss most about California is eating in restaurants without worrying about cigarette smoke ruining my dinner. I found a couple of smoke-free restaurants (i.e. Pesce's and Pizzario Paradiso, on P St) that I enjoy.

I'm looking for places that are 100% smoke-free or have a non-smoking section that is physically separated from the smoking section. I'll be listing these restaurants on a web page. Thanks!

Michael Tacelosky



I spoke with the always friendly people at Firehouse Bakery on Q Street about their experience with crime. After the robbery last month they installed some security cameras. So far, the only crime caught on tape was the total loser stealing the "Pennies for Aids Patients" Jar. Just when you think people can't get any lower...



Re: commuter tax?, the bit about getting a parking ticket while attending a Smithsonian event downtown.

I've left out the original author's name because I'll admit I have no sympathy. (Warning: what follows is written by an otherwise mostly-normal DC resident who has never gotten a driver's license.) Metro runs from the 'burbs to downtown, making for a convenient ride that goes right under traffic. Parking downtown is available, if expensive, and anyone who has seen downtown gridlock can understand why the enforcement of parking regs is onerous. And -- as I gather -- Metro parking is available at Park and Ride, although presumed full at noontime.

I guess my question is, what's the problem here? All of the above from the parking lots to Metro to the Smithsonian itself represents HUGE investments in infrastructure for our use, but since it's not quite perfect, this person might bail on it entirely? I don't get that -- are we at the point now where so much of our lives is made simple that a minor inconvenience now seems like a major attack on our collective dignity?

The Post yesterday contained a recipe for homemade gefilte fish, which seems to take about as long as balancing the federal budget. My recipe has always been: 1) pop open jar; 2) place on plate (optional). This seems to be the equivalent of saying, since the jar is stuck and took hot water to open it, I'm going to stop celebrating Passover.

Ok, so maybe that's a bit overblown. I always respond with hyperbole. Ask anyone I know.

Jeff Porten



I think I can speak for Mr. Grossberg to say that I believe his reference to the "bland. . .suburbs" was directed not literally to each and every burg on the fringe, but to those who believe that the City is evil, crime-ridden, filthy and corrupt with drug dealers offering crack on every corner and think that they are safe, warm and protected across the District line in the Suburbs. Extremes are, of course, extreme, and probably shouldn't be bandied about unnecessarily, but I believe he used it here as a vehicle to get the point across, not to point fingers or name names.

A. Sanford



In response to the writer on DC schools: She is correct in her analysis, but incorrect about where Franklin Smith sends his kids to school. Both his school-age children are enrolled in DC public schools -- his son in fact plays football on the Anacostia High School varsity team. In addition, Marion Barry's son Christopher is a student at DC's Woodrow Wilson Senior High School.



I think there is a somewhat foolish notion prevailing; if the city cuts funding to public schools (from pre-K thru adult ed), some people think it will motivate an increase in efficiency. From a logical standpoint this makes sense: "Gee, we're losing funding. We'd better get our act together and get the most use out of every dollar." In all of the reality that I'm familiar with, however, it works in the opposite fashion. "They're paying us less, so we'll work less." And cutting jobs is its own morass.

If anything, most budgetary systems actively discourage efficient operations. As we all know, an institution operating efficiently and under budget gets rewarded by a decreased budget in following years!

It comes down to the "trickle down" theory in operation at so many institutions. A dollar swiped from my paycheck supports inefficient bureaucracy, and only a few pennies in my estimation go toward paints and pencils, books and cd-roms. Cutting funding to schools is a knee-jerk reaction that simply results in the trickle of support that actually reaches students turning into a dry creek bed.

The way to get DC public schools running more efficiently is to be a wee bit proactive; hire more good teachers. You can't get a school to run well just by squeezing it financially. You need good, committed people and you need a way to get good people and a reason for them to be committed. I know that's not a brilliant or particularly insightful point, but I'm just emphasizing that cutting funding is barking up the wrong tree.

For some odd reason, I am seriously considering going into teaching Biology as a career. That is, I am taking on a position of low prestige, low pay, and the Herculean task of doing everything with nothing, with the added pressure of knowing that the quality of one's teachers has as profound an effect on individuals' lives as any other factor. I just pray there is a rising class of concerned teachers as insane as myself. Others could help by showing cultural/financial support, instead of punishing schools for failure to perform miracles. I know I'm preaching to the choir a bit here, but I have faith in the ripple effect.

Jeremy Eddy



I went to the opening of a new club on Wednesday night: The Ozone on 18th Street next to Sesto Senso (the old Roxy). It's kind of a throwback to the 70's Disco era clubs, so I know you'll love it (don't forget to wear your chai!)

Restaurant Updates:

Jaimelitoes on Washington Harbor will reopen as a new Mexican concept managed by Capital Restaurant Group (the same people who own Paolo's, Georgetown Seafood, Georgia Brown's, etc.)

Georgetown Seafood, Bob McKay 202-333-7336, will open in the former American Cafe at 19th & M St.

Rumor has it that El Bodegon on 17th St, NW is changing ownership.

Joe Englert and Danny from La Fonda are opening "The Rock" on 6th St., NW in the hot East End Corridor (Joe is planning to open at least 4 new bar/restaurants this year, each with different concepts, he's a real fascinating guy and can be reached at 202-296-1557).

Disclaimer: None of this information is guaranteed, and only serves entertainment purposes.

Charlie Adler



Hunters in the Dark

I hear gunshots in the night.
Remember pleasant coon hunting shotguns
Echoing pine hill laughing woods.
Now deadly each shot
Young splashing boy blood
Only reporting fact moment sensations.
There are gunshots in the night
Never men young selling
Tomorrow dream themselves
On three o'clock drug corner mornings.
Wiggle hips street lights
Women walking colors.
Delhi Manila and New Orleans are not offensive.
Yet America's capital empty faces
Silently scream obscenely and intolerably.
Hear the gunshots in the night.
Not country boys Old Crow sipping
Crazed star filled road sign shooting laughter
The night here is fierce
And we each face it alone.
I hear gunshots in the night.

Joseph R. Poisso <c> 1996 joseph.poisso@


16 April 1996***7:30 p.m.***Education Building Auditorium***National Zoo Free, but RSVP by e-mailing to

Dr. Michael Robinson, National Zoo director, will present an illustrated talk, "Mercenary Animals and Seductive Flowers: The Pollination Story," in celebration of the Zoo's new Pollinarium exhibit and Earth Day 1996. In his richly illustrated lecture, he describes intricate interactions between plants and animals that result in the biological process of pollination. Robinson will also explore the intriguing specializations in plants and their pollinators, ranging from insects to birds and bats. As a special attraction, the Pollinarium (located in the Invertebrate Exhibit) will be open before the lecture, from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m.

Office of Public Affairs, National Zoo Washington, D.C. 20008 (202) 673-4866, FAX (202) 673-4607

Margie Gibson NZPEM053@SIVM.SI.EDU


Your moderator--Jeffrey Itell--is hanging out his shingle as a PC/Internet consultant. If you've bought your Gateway 2000 and haven't figured out how to convert it from a paperweight to your information gateway for the new millennium, I might be able to help you. Inquire at


For fast, reliable Internet services and cutting edge Websites contact Michael Mann at Interstate Internet Web:


Jeffrey Itell Publisher: dc.story

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