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June 13, 1996

Another Day, Another List

Dear Neighbors:

I saw The Phantom last week in preview and nearly gagged. Then I saw the fawning reviews and really gagged. Not everyone has the same taste, but geez, my friend Cheryl believes Spielberg ought to sue for copyright infringement. Monkey skulls, uncharted islands, swashbucklers. Do the producers think we haven’t seen Indiana Jones?

Everyone wants to be a movie critic. When I published the Northwest Side Story, someone inevitably called each week to volunteer (or request pay) to review films. I didn’t think it was worth the space then—what was the value of one person’s opinion?—but now I believe it's worth a small investment of electrons.

Here’s my proposal. I want to start a weekly email newsletter of movie reviews written by you. I will publish the list on Wednesday to better prepare you for the weekend ahead. Now here are the rules. All reviews are limited to two short paragraphs. Each review must begin with a title line with the film’s name. You must sign the review with your name and email address. (Separate lines please.) Review new releases or rental videos, but try to stick to video rentals that are must sees or require warning labels (as in "This film may be dangerous to your dating life"). As benevolent dictator, I will post only the most interesting entries (and my own). Oh yeah, one other rule: Don’t give away the plot.

I need help with the final piece of this program. We need a rating system. Stars, points, and thumbs are out. I’m open to any other suggestions. (For example, a great film could be a Lincoln and a stinker could be a Filmore.) The more clever, the better.

To join the list, send me an email message with the word Movie in the subject line. I’ll probably figure it out even if you use the word Film.


And now a word about our mayor, last seen changing clothes and eating sandwiches with the low-rent crowd in Logan Circle. (Even Superman only needed a phone booth to change clothes.) Just like the days when the man was hanging around with cocaine dealer Charles Lewis, the city is abuzz with rumors about Barry. Betting pools on the date and manner of his demise are now appearing around town. And, no, we won’t start one here.


Jeffrey Itell


Too Negative About D.C.?

Lessee. I moved into town in 1984 or so. I grew up in the 'burbs, and couldn’t' wait to get downtown. The early 80s were amazing. I grew to love the city, especially the nightlife and the club scene, which in the Reagan/Bush years was pretty phenomenal.

Sometime about 87, though, things changed. The media blitz about crack and related drug-crime seemed almost to be a nonstop advertising campaign, and the streets I loved turned into dangerous battlefields, where none could for a moment be sure that there wouldn't be a stray round flying through the walls. In about 1992, I decided I had had enough, and got the heck out of Dodge.

The place seems to be getting a little safer these days, but there's still, in my humble opinion, still a vast psychological numbness of the soul, a guardedness and hypervigilance which is all too often looking for a scapegoat, and some topical witch to burn.

Hopefully, the Barry Administration will suffice; I think most of the city's problems can be laid at his door. The crack cocaine epidemic, like most 'successful disease' has adapted well and seldom kills the host any more, and at any rate, that was a national problem not purely of the District's making nor of the Mayor's making, although it must be admitted that his involvement in the problem instead of involvement in the solution does shed an interesting light on the local course of treatment or lack thereof. One can only hope that the Control Board will have the same effect on this city's ills as the institution of the sanitarium had on the spread of tuberculosis.



City Council

Jim Kingdon wrote asking if any web site(s) provided DC city councilmembers voting records (information currently available on the web for many cities, but not DC). DC City Desk ( is moving in that direction, currently reporting council and control board schedules, candidates for the fall elections and community events. Check it out and let the editor (Bonnie Cain- editor of the Bulletin Board) know you are interested in council member votes.

Deborah Dougherty



And, although it cost me TWO HOURS to renew my D. C. driver's license, I must say that the DC employees of whom we have too many and love to bash, were not the problem. At 9:30AM the line was L O N G and moving very slowly - there are 6 or 7 customer windows but only staffed by 3 people! After a while the word filtered back that the electronic optical testers were out of commission that caused branch lines to creep in - those who needed eye tests and those who didn't. Then, of course as that problem was corrected and I finally reached a window (it's now about 11AM and since this is a "furlough" day they are closing at noon) the computers went down which meant that the paper work couldn't be processed nor did the cameras work. Some genius finally realized that the electric typewriters could do the paper work and things began to inch slowly forward. It was hot and frustrating, but the staff couldn't be faulted - they tried - just another case of lousy and out-dated equipment in our poor broken down city.

Jan Morton


I have also suffered at the hands of the D.C. Dept. of Motor Vehicles/Dept. of Public Works/Transportation Systems Administration. (Does anyone know the official name of the place?) For example, last year my vehicle registration renewal notice never arrived. (This caused a fair amount of anxiety and dozens of phone calls to the DMV office to determine what I needed to do to renew. I was put on hold once for 60 minutes until I could take it no more.) Apparently, the lack of mail was a result of a sudden budget crunch last year at this time. Three years ago, I spent a lovely early summer morning at 301 C Street transferring ownership, registration, etc. The total time involved was about 4 hours and could/should have been about 45 minutes if I didn't have to go "back and forth" from window to window several times.

Anyway, imagine my surprise and delight to find a registration renewal notice in my mailbox last week. My registration does not expire until the END OF JULY. I am overwhelmed -- so much time -- almost 8 weeks. I am pleased with the turn of events, I just hope my completed form does not get lost in the mail.

David Glass


My son got a 'heavy duty' moving violation for allegedly not stopping in time for a stopped school bus. According to him, his sight was obstructed as he came around a corner slowly (he swears) by a double parked UPS truck so he couldn't see the school bus there, and he stopped as soon as he saw it. He needs some knowledgeable representation before the hearing examiner for a hearing scheduled in December. Any ideas (or among members of the list) as to who provides such representation in Traffic Court in DC?

Paul Foldes


I have a question about what to do about crazy drivers. This morning, I was driving down the Cathedral hill and a red/pink car started to tail me into Rock Creek Park. I stopped at the stop sign and waited for traffic to clear (about 30 seconds at most). Once the traffic cleared, I took the left and slowed to allow a bicyclist to cross. Mr. red car pulled out behind me, passed me by driving in the oncoming traffic lane, and proceeded to scream at me and almost run over the poor biker. Mr. red car then continued to speed through traffic and ride up on everyone's tailgate and just be obnoxious. I don't have a cell phone to report this fool while driving and the police said that they can't do anything. I do have the tag number - DC 715-098 and a basic description would like to do something with it. Can I report it to the DMV? I always hear stories about how easy it is to get information. Would the park police do anything? Any ideas?

Kris Hoeschler



>While we're on DQ, I've been jonesing for Arby's Roast Beef and a clam boat from Friendly's. Where are the nearest ones?

There may still be an Arby's on Rt. 7 across from Tyson's Corner and there is a Friendly's at the corner of 124 and 118 in Gaithersburg.

Leslie Ruskin


There is, or was, an Arby's on Rockville Pike right near Old Georgetown Road, near the White Flint Metro station. Incidentally, Serio's is right across the street from White Flint Metro, and while they might not serve ice-cream, they do have one of the best selections of fresh produce in the Metro area.




Re: Steve Goldstein's and Bobby Levinson's quest for info on D.C. pools, I suggest they consider the new Francis Pool at 24th and N Streets N.W. They charge a couple of bucks per visit (more for non-D.C. residents -- yet another reason to live in town). In 3 visits last summer, my wife and I found the place to be exceedingly well run. It does indeed have a nice shallow end for kids, many lanes, a deep end with a diving board, and a large area just to tread water and hang out.



While we're on the subject of good things about the city, I read with rapt fascination the recent item in the Northwest Side Story about the DC Government leasing a pothole "terminator" vehicle that could fix potholes quicker and easier than anything we currently have. As a D.C. driver (two parking tickets, one tow - really, I didn't see the sign), I watched the growing deterioration of my own street this spring with alarm. Because Ordway on the eastern side of Connecticut deadends into 27th, it's a relatively quiet cul-de-sac, but we get a fair amount of traffic because people think they can cut through (the "dead end" sign is at the END of the street). As a result, we accumulated perhaps 100 potholes of various sizes in a one-block stretch of road - some tiny, some deadly. My hope that the pothole fixer would visit was small - like much of D.C., Ordway saw not a single snowplow all winter. I figured we were near the bottom of the Public Works list.

My faith in government has been restored - just a few days ago, I started a drive to the store and actually found myself slowing down so I could admire the patched potholes as I was driving over them. I don't know whether it was the pothole terminator or not, but I feel much better about paying taxes these days.

Donna Ancypa


As I read all the comments about what's good and not-so in DC, I write from NY -- where the potholes are as bad as ours and as great in number as ours. Strange how we all put down DC when other, less publicized cities have similar mishegoss

Joan Eisenstodt



The old "NIMBYs" of yore who didn't want Metro in their neighborhood are largely a figment of the imagination. Before the late Jack Eisen left town, some years ago, I had reason to talk with him about the perennial "Why Metro Doesn't Go to Georgetown" issue. I also recall my mother attending a number of neighborhood meetings when Metro was being run under her street. Some facts: (1) Metro was planned in the early 1960s. There was no particular reason for it to go to Georgetown, which was not then what it is today. (2) Metro was planned as a complement to the automobile transportation grid; the Metro would run under I street and the automobiles would run along K street. Since I street doesn't go to Georgetown, no Georgetown stop. Yes, there were neighborhood meetings, but where my mother was living an entire street full of lawyers couldn't get the route moved. This was even though it would have been cheaper and easier to run the red line up to Wisconsin Avenue under the public land at Wilson High School, there was strong neighborhood opposition to the destruction of two private houses for ventilation tunnels, and residents feared noise and damage from construction. However, the Tenley Circle stop (a.k.a. the "Sears" stop) was placed where it is anyway. If you ask my opinion, the biggest stupidity of Metro is that there's no interchange at Farragut West/North so everyone has go to through Metro Center. But the point is that such faults are indeed stupidities and not the products of conspiracy.

Stephanie Faul


Help Wanted

Hi! I am moving up from Florida July 1 and I've really enjoyed DC story. So maybe someone out there can help me. I am looking for places to find quality cheap furniture. We are selling all of our furniture before we go and will be buying everything new when we arrive. Any suggestions? Also, does anyone have any ideas on whether I should sell my pickup truck here in Florida or if I will get a better price in DC.



Any pet owners who have had experience with veterinary specialists, they are willing to share for publication in major national magazine, please contact me with your name and phone. I'm interested in how high fees run, how much you're willing to pay to get your pet well, or how you decided whether it was worth it. I'm particularly interested in exotics, anything other than dogs or cats, or unusual problems.

Karen Feld Btwm32a@ PRODIGY


Looking for a used Sears leaf mulchers --the kind that will also do sticks up to 3".


Efficiency for rent at River Place, Rosslyn. $612 per month including utilities. Amenities include a/c, carpeting, huge closets, pool, health club. Walk to Metro. Available 7/1. Call George 703-243- 4252.

Julianne Welby


Roommate needed. Available July 1st. 3417 Dent Place, NW, Georgetown (just off Reservoir Rd. and 35th. Parking: plentiful on street (Seriously!). Details: 3 Bedroom high ceilinged townhouse with 2 and 1/2 baths, wood floors, large yard in the back for parties or BBQ's (max. cap. 200 people), w/d, Cable, very cozy. I'm only looking for one additional roommate (I'm using the 3rd bedroom for a part time office). The bedroom available has it's own bathroom and private balcony, and it's about 11' x 12'. I'm asking for $600/mo plus 1/3 of utilities, male or female.

Charlie Adler (202)333-8992


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