Too Damn Cold
Dear Fellow Freezers:
Now I'm just whining. I know this isn't Buffalo, or Canada, or Alaska. But
why do we live even this far north, when there are perfectly good underpopulated islands
in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the South China Sea, and all over the Pacific? If you
have central heating or an electric blanket, ignore the above, and go directly to the more
serious matters below.
Original Loose Lips Sealed
Paul and Trish McKenzie, email@example.com
The next issue of The Loose Lips column of The City Paper will
mark the end of an era. Ken Cummins, who kept us laughing each week with his informative
and insightful DC political commentary, will cease writing the LL column after 15½ years.
Those of us who have been avid readers of Loose Lips over the years have been treated to
an inside view of DC politics, and a sensible philosophy of where the center of gravity
was in the city. LL coined such famous phrases as Mayor-for-Life,
Hizzoner, and Lady McBarry. Although the Mayor was often the
target of LL's acerbic wit, he was an equal opportunity critic, attacking anyone from the
Control Board to the Northern Virginia Congressional delegation. We eagerly awaited the
Thursday publication of the City Paper, especially during election time when his
endorsements really counted.
When the column began it was a secret as to who actually wrote it. There
was speculation that one clandestine high level member of the city's inner circle was
writing all this informative stuff. Similar to Deep Throat, others speculated
that it was actually three or four highly placed metropolitan heavy weights spilling their
guts about information they knew other local news outlets would never publish. However,
alas, none of this was true. LL is really a very modest, sincere, regular guy from Kansas.
Washington owes LL a great deal of appreciation for the years of reporting
and illuminating the political intricacies of our city. The column has fostered a better
community because of LL's efforts, and he has not stayed beyond his welcome. It is not
often that one finds a good read in a column on city politics. LL did it for us his
successor has big shoes to fill.
Harold Goldstein, firstname.lastname@example.org
I have seen several comments here extolling the congresswoman for all her
lobbying efforts. Perhaps I am sadly misinformed, but I do not know of a single benefit
that the district has gotten from this Congresswoman that any old hack politico could not
have gotten in her position. She has been a TOTAL ZERO as far as I am concerned. I read
her disgustingly self serving mailings and all I see is how she has lobbied for this or
that but I fail to see any real accomplishments!
Through all the years of the District's failures the SINGLE CONSTANT has
been Congresswoman Norton. And with all her pontificating she's done nothing to keep the
federal payment where it should have been, to gain further autonomy, to keep us from the
grips of the control board, to do something about the sorry state of local public
education. She is a sorry excuse for a congresswoman. Let us not forget that the woman was
so totally out of control of her own personal financial situation. How can we even
remotely imagine that she'd be competent where she is now. So Marion Barry was a Teflon
Mayor? Well, this Norton character, then, is the slickest frying pan this side of the
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
Some of themail readers interpreted my comments about our
Congressperson Norton as being critical of her activities and efforts. Not so.
I decry the lack of respect that she commands from a Congress that has stripped her of her
credentials. A little patience is required here. It will be but a mere two years when the
Dems will take control of Congress (yes the people will remember) in the next
Congressional election. And that is why Norton and our new Mayor should be laying the
ground work with the Dems currently in power in both the executive and the legislative
branches of government for more support to make the Capital City a benchmark for U.S.
Not that it is any surprise, but the folks at the Department of Public
Works still have not got the message. The trash in the area of 12th Street, !3th Street,
C, D and E Streets and Maryland Avenue NE was not collected on Monday, January 4th. I
called the residential trash collection number in the phone book, got a message that said
the number was disconnected. I tried the main number for DPW, which was closed, but did
get a number for emergency management who gave me a number for trash. The first employee
(I hesitate to use the word worker) said that he didn't know anything about it, but in the
future I should call earlier if I wanted something done (it was 6:30 pm). I agreed and
said that I would ask my boss to let me leave work early on Mondays and Thursdays so that
I could get home to check whether or not the DC employees had done their job for the day.
He passed me on to someone else who did not identify himself and told me it was my fault
because I should have known that I was to put the trash out a day late because of the
holiday. What holiday was that, I asked. Friday. But this was Monday. Yes, he said the
trash would be picked up on Tuesday because the trash trucks were picking up Friday's
trash on Monday. End of conversation. He hung up. I tried DPW on Tuesday morning. No
answer. Called Carol Schwartz someone said they would check in to it, and no
further word (come on Carol, you wanted the Public Works Committee, get on the stick and
do your job or give it back to Sharon Ambrose). Finally called Camille Barnett's office
and spoke to the first person who was helpful. She told me that the person who said the
trash was to be picked up a day late this week was lying and apologized on behalf of the
city. She promised to get the trash picked up by the end of the day (it was now Tuesday).
It was not picked up by 6:00 pm; a neighbor on Maryland Avenue called the DPW and
presumably got the same employee who again, 24 hours later, blamed her for putting her
trash out on the wrong day, and said it would be picked up a day late because of the
holiday. (Can anyone identify this guy and can him?) End of story: trash was collected
around 8:00 pm. Thanks to Dr. Barnett's staff for being the only responsive people in this
sorry saga. Final question for extra points: why can't DPW do its job?
Good News Prediction: No C2K Downside for DC
Charlie Wellander, jfa-cwr@CapAccess.org
Along with many unknowns, next year surely brings us our decennial count
of the populace. Census 2000 (C2K?) and reapportionment may result in Pennsylvania and New
York each losing two representatives in Congress, while Ohio may lose one; all due to
other states gaining more population. But no matter how many erstwhile DC residents have
picked up and perambulated to more palatable political pastures, my good news prediction
for DC is that we will not have any decrease in our representation in Congress!
Natural Gas Free Market
Marcus Rosenbaum, firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to Ed Kane's posting about natural gas competition, I got the
same brochure and called Washington Gas. To the woman who answered the customer service
line I asked, Is there any reason I should stick with Washington Gas rather than
pick a cheaper supplier? She answered: Well, we've been around over a hundred
years. I decided to go with a competitor.
Population Down, So What's Up?
Steph Proudly swelling the census for almost 50 years Faul, email@example.com
All this talk about population loss is meaningless unless the
number of households is counted as well. People who live in city centers tend not
to have children, which skews the head count. Look at it this way: If three households of
two parents and three children move out and five childless couples and four single people
move in, this triples the number of occupied dwellings but looks to the head-counters like
a population loss. Yet the latter scenario is even more beneficial to the city from a tax
standpoint. In any case, I have some nominees for emigration.
I served on a grand jury a few years ago, for five weeks. It was one of
the most fascinating, gripping, stressful occupations I've ever done. It was somewhat like
serving in a war zone, in that life becomes more vivid and intense. The contrast to my
boring, bureaucratic government job couldn't be any more complete. We heard about 104
cases, turning in indictments in all but a few. (The joke is that a grand jury will indict
a ham sandwich, if the prosecutor wants it to.) The chance to learn about the law was
fascinating. I also learned about a part of life that would be otherwise unknown to me.
The stress comes from hearing about vicious, immoral crimes day in and day out. One's
sense of safety is at least temporarily set back, as one hears incessantly about all the
nasty things that can happen. One gets a new perspective on the criminal geography of the
city, as neighborhoods that one passes day in and day out suddenly are seen as the site
for major heroin traffic, burglary and assorted crimes. Grand Jury proceedings are
supposed to be secret, so I can't go into specific crimes but they certainly
included several murders, burglaries, child abuse, sexual assault and a plethora of gun,
drug and auto theft charges.
All in all, it was something well worth doing, assuming one has a reasonably strong
constitution. Grand Juries also vary somewhat according to their specialties.
Interestingly, 90% of the grand jurors were African American, so socioeconomic issues come
up in this very intense environment.
John Rosenthal asked about experience serving on the Grand Jury. I did
about two years ago. I served for 8 weeks, 3 days a week. I loved it. I felt as though we
were an important part of criminal jurisprudence. I felt I was part of the process of
protecting victims' rights, as well as ensuring that an accused was only indicted if there
was probable cause, not mere suspicion. We never indicted a ham sandwich, by the way.
Public Library Hours to Be Extended
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
Some happy news to report regarding the public libraries in DC. Starting
Jan. 19, 1999, MLK library will be open four evenings a week until 9 pm. (Mon.-Thurs.)
Over the coming months branch libraries will also be extending their evening hours from
one evening to two evenings per week. (i.e. Mon./Wed. or Tues./Thurs.) In other library
news, Washington Post reporter Juan Williams will be talking about his new book: Thurgood
Marshall: American Revolutionary at Takoma DC Public Library on Tuesday, Feb. 9, from
7:30 to 9 pm. This book received a strongly favorable review in the New York Times
two weeks ago. I have a copy of the review on my hard drive and can email it to any
interested dcwatch subscribers. (Or you can track it down on the New York Times
web site. http://www.nytimes.com ) Further info about
news and events in the DC libraries can be found at http://dclibrary.org
In response to Sarah Woodhead's request for a reasonable hotel in the DC
area, I have had success in the past with the Days Inn on Connecticut Avenue (near
Albermarle) in upper Northwest. It is a short walk to the Van Ness Metro stop, and the
rates have been reasonable in the past, particularly if your visitors are able to use any
of the traditional discounts AAA, AARP, etc. They seem to have attracted a lot of
tour bus operators in the past year or two, and it has become increasingly difficult to
Interested in a good hike? The Wanderbirds Hiking Club meets every Sunday
at 8:00 a.m. at two locations in the area. One is 17th and K Streets, NW. We take a bus to
the trail, hike a few miles, return to the bus for beer and munchies, and then back to
17th and K. We have two challenging hikes every week (rain, shine, or weather) which
include a moderate hike and a long hike, and beginners are welcome. If you are interested
in signing up for a hike, or if you would like a copy of the quarterly hike schedule, you
can call Sandy Carroll at 202-554-4161, or Herb Cooper at 301-460-3064. On Sunday, January
10, we will be hiking at Seneca Creek State Park on the Greenway Trail. Every week we have
a good, healthy outing. Come with us!
Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Together
David Sobelsohn, email@example.com
Can pro-life and pro-choice activists work together towards such shared
goals as reducing the rate of teen pregnancy and educating the public about adoption? Find
out on Saturday, January 23, one day after the 26th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when
Common Ground of the Nation's Capital holds a one-day workshop at American University. The
general public is invited; there will be a $10 charge. CGNC is the local affiliate of the
Common Ground Network for Life and Choice, a national group that brings together
pro-choice and pro-life activists for peaceful dialogue and cooperative action. CGNC
participants include Ann Stone, president, Republicans for Choice, and Frederica
Mathewes-Green, NPR commentator and former communications director, Feminists for Life.
For further information about the January 23 dialogue contact Megan Park, firstname.lastname@example.org .
Discover New Worlds with Galileo
David Sobelsohn, email@example.com
Footlights DC's only modern drama discussion group meets
monthly to discuss plays from the modern theater. Membership is free; we pass the hat to
make expenses. At our meeting Tuesday, January 19, we will celebrate the centennial of one
of history's most influential dramatists: Bertolt Brecht, author of Mother
Courage, The Threepenny Opera, and our January play, Galileo
(1947), about the persecution of the famous physicist. Controversial Brecht biographer
John Fuegi (Brecht & Co.) will lead our discussion, which also features
Chris Henley & Jim Stone, co-directors of the upcoming Washington Shakespeare Co.
production of our play (under the title Life of Galileo). Our discussion takes
place from 7:30-9:30 p.m. (dinner at 6:30) at Delray Vietnamese Garden, 4918 Del Ray Ave.,
a few blocks north of the Bethesda metro off Old Georgetown Rd. For reservations e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202) 638-0444. We
will attend Life of Galileo at 2 p.m. Sunday February 21 at the Washington
Shakespeare Co., 601 S. Clark St., Arlington. Tickets are $11. For tickets e-mail email@example.com or call (301) 897-9314. You can
attend either the discussion or the performance or both. For general information about
Footlights visit our website at http://www.footlightsdc.org
or call David Sobelsohn at (202) 484-8303.
Tasting Society International January/February 1999
Calendar of Events
Charlie Adler, firstname.lastname@example.org
January events: 1) California vs. Australia/New Zealand Wine
Tasting, Thurs., Jan. 14th, 7-9 p.m., Wyndham Hotel, 1400 M St., NW, $45. 2)
French Country Wines, Thur., Jan. 21st, 7-9 p.m., Wyndham Hotel, 1400 M St.,
NW, $38. 3) Wine Basics 101, Wed., Jan. 27th, 7-9 p.m., Wyndham Hotel, 1400 M
St., NW, $35. February Events: 4) Wines of Spain and Portugal, Thurs., Feb.
4th, 7-9 p.m., Wyndham Hotel, 1400 M St., NW, $38, 5) California Dream Wines!,
Tues., Feb. 9th, 7-9 p.m., Wyndham Hotel, 1400 M St., NW, $40, 6) Wine Basics
101, Thur., Feb. 11th, 7-9 p.m., Wyndham Hotel, 1400 M St., NW, $35, 7) Mardi Gras
in Washington, DC. Jambalaya, Gumbo, Dixie Beer and Zydeco Crayz Band! Feb. 16th (Fat
Tuesday), 8-12 a.m., Wyndham Hotel, 1400 M St., NW, $55, 8) Wine 102: Fool the
Experts!, Wed., Feb. 17th, 7-9 p.m., Wyndham Hotel, 1400 M St., NW, $35.
Reservations: RSVP at (202)333-5588 or email: email@example.com
or the reservation form at our web page at http://www.tastedc.com/reservations.html
CLASSIFIEDS DONATIONS WANTED
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
Did Santa leave a shining new computer under your tree last month? There
are tons of grassroots nonprofit organizations in the DC area who would be immensely
grateful to receive a donation of your older computer. If you need ideas of places to
donate, I'm happy to share info about some of the organizations I know of doing yeoman
community work. I won't clog dcwatch with descriptions of the organizations I'm a big fan
of, but will gladly share this info via email with anyone who is interested. I'll also
give two hours of free Mac consulting to anyone who donates an older Mac to a nonprofit
organization. (Offer valid for the month of January.)
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, email@example.com
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
The Passing Of Power In D.C.: There was a moment during Mayor-for-Life Marion S. Barry
Jr.'s farewell speech on Saturday afternoon when it appeared that Hizzoner might never
relinquish control of the District government. After several minutes of waxing nostalgic
to an unresponsive audience, Barry burst forth with a few inspirational words about
unifying the city. The crowd voiced its approval, and Barry stood smiling at the podium.
It looked like a perfect time to step down, hand the Seal of the District of Columbia to
successor Anthony Williams, and fade into private life for the second time in 27 years.
But in the spirit of Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet, Barry held on, waiting out the
ovation and continuing his retrospective. That was just what Williams supporters had
Read the entire Loose Lips column this Friday at: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/lips/lips.html
From washingtoncitypaper.com's CITY LIGHTS page, here are a few early warnings for
Sunday, Jan 10: Food for Thought farewell, featuring Bill Danoff, John Jennings, Lisa
Walker, and Robert Lighthouse. At 6 p.m. at Food for Thought, 1758 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Tuesday, Jan. 12: Joel Glenn Brenner reads and discusses her book, The Emperors of
Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars, 7 p.m. at Politics &
Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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