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May 13, 1996

The Man in the Tent

Dear Neighbors:

Since starting dc.story, I have made great progress in overcoming some seemingly insurmountable obstacles and invincible tasks. I love my job and the opportunity to serve. My unrelenting commitment, dedication, and hard work have, at the same time, often been accompanied by the neglect of my own healing, personal health, and well-being. Step four of the Twelve Step Program states that every person should take a "fearless personal moral inventory" of oneself. I have recently take such a personal inventory.

Consequently, I have determined that I must immediately engage in a program of spiritual and physical renewal. I therefore announce that, beginning today, I will spend a week seeking physical, mental, and spiritual rejuvenation. This will not be a vacation. It will be work--work on me.

I wrote those words but they just don't seem to fit. Actually, I'm merely taking a week-long vacation. But one no longer signs a leave slip and slips away, do they?

Keep you mail coming. I'll be back on 22 May. You can find the key to the liquor cabinet in my old sneakers.


Residents of Tenleytown may have noticed that Charles Cavanaugh, the man who used to live in the tent by Sears, is no longer camping out around the corner. Amy Koval reported in the Washington Times that District police rousted him from his site on 9 May 1996 and took him to DC General Hospital for psychiatric evaluation. Neighbors were apparently concerned about his mental state. They said that his tent reeked of human waste.

Jeffrey Itell



I was able to hear most, if not all, of the speech Mayor Barry gave today. He spoke in very spiritual tones, but also was clear that he spent considerable effort and time evaluating himself. I thought he did a very good job of describing how, to be healthy, he must remember that he is a human being first; a politician second. He also spent a portion of the speech discussing his need to not worry about things over which he has no control. I think every one of us, and maybe more politicians, needs to remember how important our families and close personal friends are for remaining sane and healthy. Remember what Paul Tsongas said when he first was diagnosed with cancer? (Paraphrased)..."At my death bed, I won't say to myself, 'I spent too little time at the office'."

I, like so many others of us, could quickly again be critical of Marion Barry, the speech, and his ability to continue as Mayor, but after this speech I am beginning to think that we need to give him credit for being so open and honest about his need to deal with potential personal problems before they become insurmountable. The reason I give the Mayor more credit now than I think I would have a few years ago is that I believe (as described in the "Washington Post" article recently) John Wilson's suicide deeply affected Marion Barry (and many of us as well). I was a fan of John Wilson (having lived in Ward 2 since 1979) and wish he had taken some time off to regain his emotional, physical, and spiritual well being. Even if you aren't a fan of either man, you have to admit that we all occasionally need to get a hold of what's important in life so we can go on. I hope this is what Marion Barry's retreat was all about.

Renee Schwager


Just for the fun of it, I ran District of Columbia through an anagram generator (URL below if anyone wants to kill time finding anagrams), and one of the first ones it produced was....."I toil bad cosmic turf." Hmmmmm.

Alan Grossberg


I'd sure be interested in a report on the progress (or dismissal) of Delegate Norton's tax plan on the Hill.

"David A. Price [Potomac] 71726.651@CompuServe.COM

[Tom Davis will (reluctantly) hold a hearing "soon"--reportedly at Newt's urging. jeff]


Dupont Circus

Now let me add another drug-related question. This is my first spring in Dupont Circle. Has anyone else noticed an increase in marijuana smoking? It appears to be very much out the open, even the chess players pass loose joints around.

You're obviously new to Dupont. Is no big deal. what you should worry about is the Love Boat (phencyclidine; PCP) smokers. About four years ago I was sitting around Dupont and some guy who had been 'flaking' around there for awhile evidently got a big bag of 'boat' and went off, wandered into the park and grabbed a big metal stanchion used to demark a 'don't-walk' zone, and beat a guy to deal, smack that quickly for no reason I could see. Guy was just sitting there drinking a soda and checking the babes and zap. History.

FYI, I've been out and about Dupont or about a decade, and it's pretty much the same, although over the last few years, it's taken a much more grimly turn. Used to be more of a drop acid do X love everyone scene, but now it's really much more frequented by the hardcore dealers element, who had it all to themselves over the winter, and speedily ran off anyone not there strictly to buy and turn the dealers on. As Spring arrived and it began to be more occupied by the traditional set, which is to say bike messengers after work and lunchtime and evening yuppies, this scene mellowed somewhat. As summer drags on, expect a mostly uneasy peace at present to give way to a much more relaxed scene.



I smoked pot openly in Dupont Circle nearly 30 years ago. It doesn't sound as if things have changed all that much. Now if someone will only release a pet turtle into the fountain, the picture will be complete.

stephanie "Just how long *is* the statute of limitations on that sort of thing?" faul



Has anybody noticed that folk are apparently installing their own free-enterprise speed bumps? There's one (yellow, plastic, about four feet wide, bolted to the road on Decatur NW (between Massachusetts and Florida). Is this unique, or part of a trend?

Paul Bickart


Well..... we can write, debate, question, argue, rant and rave ad nauseum about D.C.'s problems and the pros and cons of staying vs. leaving, and indeed we have.

But as the old cliche goes, one picture is worth a thousand words. If you want to get to the heart of the matter, see the very essence of it all, experience objectively yet personally the penultimate, bike, walk northeast on Western Avenue from Chevy Chase Circle. As you travel down this border separating Merryland from Dissed City, note particularly the stretch between Pinehurst Circle and Chestnut St.: one side is as smooth as can be, with every crack or pothole newly patched, the other resembles a war zone. Even without a street sign or compass or cars with license plates, you could tell where you were by the road conditions alone.

Alan Grossberg


Here is further elaboration on the National Capital Service Authority, the agency that Congress would establish to assume responsibility for D.C. streets, water and sewer, and solid waste. It would be outside the DC government, which obviously has little interest or ability to manage public property. The Authority would take an Act of Congress with a board appointed by the President and the Congress, similar to Metro and the airport authority, which are run exceptionally well. It would be like the Board of Works, which ran public property well under the old regime before Home Rule. There is no other way that our streets are going to be managed any better than they are now, which is dangerous and imprudent, as well as costly. I'll bet the claims for potholes cost more than the cost of keeping up the streets. Congress is now considering establishing an authority to handle water and sewer, so adding streets would be within the general scope of what is now pending. Rep. Davis advises that the matter is already too complex to take on streets. I would hope he could do better.


[I'd say that's an urban legend. The Post ran a story the other day stating, I believe, that the city has seven traffic signal systems. The one for the West End was busted for awhile and snarled traffic. jeff]

Nope. Not at all an urban legend. The lights in certain zones are designed to expedite persons traveling at exact speeds falling into discreet timed zones which precess outwards (or inwards) from 'initial impulses' at certain times which I am not at liberty to discuss, but which you can figure out if you've got the feel for it. One such zone is designed to facilitate travel from the White House to Olney Maryland, a relic of the early Cold War when the traffic synchronization system was developed.

It also helps to have a synchronization transmitter in your vehicle.

And if you believe any of this without checking it out yourself, you're a twit. But if you look into it far enough, you'll see I'm _mostly_ _sorta_ right on the money.



Urban Mysteries Solved

After reading several issues of people churn on the African-American cemetery I finally got the will power to reach behind me and open (God forbid) a book on DC. From Douglas Evelyn and Paul Dickson's "On This Spot: Pinpointing the Past in Washington, D.C.", Farragut Publishing, 1991, pg. 203:

Mount Zion Cemetery - In 1879 Mount Zion United Methodist Church leased a burial ground for blacks here from the Montgomery Street (now Dumbarton United Methodist) Church. It adjoined a cemetery for free blacks operated by the Female Union Band Society, and the two together were known as Mount Zion Cemetery. Burials ceased in 1950. In the 1970's the cemetery was saved from being replaced by a townhouse development and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today it is being restored and can be interpreted as evidence of the historical role of blacks in Georgetown's development.

For those Washingtonian's whose sense of history goes back no further than the Starbucks Invasion, Georgetown was an active center of African American culture right up until the 1950's The community began being forced out by rising rents after discovery of the neighborhood by New Dealers under FDR (trailblazers of gentrification).

Daniel Emberley


FDR Memorial

While out walking at lunch the other day, I noticed a rather small marble block outside the National Archives (SE corner of Penn. and 9th St, NW) inscribed in honor of President F. D. Roosevelt. A nearby plaque indicates that the block was put there by the President's friends in response to a statement by the President that, if a memorial were ever erected in his honor, that is (1) where he wanted it to be and (2) the kind of memorial he wished to have. With that in mind, can anyone tell me why there is a second (huge) FDR memorial under construction in Potomac Park?

Greg Jones


I just returned from a wonderfully acted Sam Shepard play, The Curse of the Starving Class, presented to a small but enthusiastic audience. If you like good theater, or are a Shepard fan, find your way to the Clark St. Playhouse in Arlington (Easier said than done. Call for reservations and directions. It's not too far from Crystal City. )The Washington Shakespeare Company (WSC) are doing two of Shepard's plays at the moment - haven't yet see Food for Love, but intend to. Admission to the "Curse of......" is free, to encourage people to discover this gem of a developing theater space and talented group. The direction and acting were superb, staging very well done, and the theater has a relaxed , inclusive atmosphere. Do go... they deserve our support.

Edna Small


Naturalist Sherry Mitchell, author of Creating Sanctuary: A New Approach to Gardening in the Washington Metropolitan Area, will give a slide lecture on "Gardening for Wildlife" at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, 1996, at the Tenley-Friendship Branch of the District of Columbia Public Library. A book signing will follow. The lecture is sponsored by the Friends of the Tenley Library, the Tenley-Friendship Library, and the Wild Bird Center of Washington, D.C. It is in memory of Henry Clay Mitchell, "Earthman," the garden columnist of The Washington Post.

Mrs. Mitchell is a garden columnist, instructor, and landscape designer. She will give advice to gardeners in the Washington Metropolitan Area on how to design and nurture natural havens in their backyards. She will discuss how to plan a garden that saves time and money, how to select the most appropriate plants for the area, and how to attract birds and butterflies. Her emphasis is on working with nature rather than against it.

The lecture is free to the public. The Tenley-Friendship Branch is located at Wisconsin Avenue and Albemarle Street, N.W. Take the Red Line Metro to the Tenleytown Station.

Contact: Beth Meyer 202/727-1389


There's a new food-delivery service in Cleveland Park: To Your Health.

To Your Health delivers healthy, tasty meals to your door weekly, at $12.50 to $15.00 (for meat dishes) a meal. Meals include a main course, side dish, and sometimes a salad. One sample menu item from the previous week was, Moroccan Stuffed Pepper with Bulgar Chicken and Lemony Cauliflower (6.8g fat); another, Vegetarian Napa Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Wild Mushrooms/Tomato Thyme Sauce, Spring Roasted Vegetables, and Saffron Balsamic Pilaf, (12g fat.)

I'm awaiting my first delivery -- it sounds good.

For more information contact the chef/proprietor, Missy Keyser 966-4963 Fax: 237-2160

Bill Adler


Gracious, four-plus bedroom, three and one half bath, furnished home with large landscaped yard available June thru October in Chevy Chase, DC. Quiet neighborhood. $2500 monthly. Call Ed Prentice at (202) 364-1539.


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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