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March 17, 1999

Batter Up

Dear Anglophiles:

One story from London, and then back to DC and reality. Dorothy and I are eating in a fish and chips shop in Bloomsbury. Well, an upscale, nouvelle, fish and chips shop — the fried fish was a whole Dover sole, with roe — but it was still served with chips, and the two most popular side dishes were mashie (mashed peas) and a dill pickle. The couple next to us are two ladies who had bid fond farewells to their sixty-fifth birthdays a few years back. One begins, loudly and very definitively:

“I hate my lobes.”
“Your. . . ?”
“My lobes.”
“Your lobes?”
“My ear lobes. I hate them. Huge, hulking things.”
“Oh, no, I. . . .”
“Yes, they are. Enormous. When I was a child, my mother bound my ears to my head, which is why to this day I hate wearing hats. But it didn't do any good.”
“But they aren't. . . .”
“I won't wear earrings. My lobes just flap in the wind. Like a red setter's ears.”
“Now, now. . . .”
”I think I'll have them bobbed.”
“Bobbed. Lopped off. Like a nose bob.”
“You don't. . . .”
“Yes,” said with great satisfaction, “that's what I'll do. I'll have them bobbed.”

Gary Imhoff


Pothole Report — 1200 Block of G St. NE.
David S. Harvey,

Called 645 7055 March 2, around quarter to four. Left message. Called same number March 3. Rang and rang, no reply. Call March 5 at 1.20, get long wait, then person who promises to “take a report.” Takes report.

March 15 — no sign of anybody (well it snowed, so let's hope it's just bad timing.) Will update you further.


Just Call Me Donna Quixote
Jean Lawrence,

News of The Greaseman made it out here to Arizona. Sue me, I think his “tired shtick” is pretty funny. The first thing I did when I moved here was call the radio columnist of the paper and see if I could get his show here. Sadly, no. Do I think he should have made those comments? No. I was pretty grossed out. Even for The Grease, they were WAY off the reservation (oops, might have offended someone). Does that mean he hasn't given me many hours of pleasure and laughter? He has. And I believe he apologized and even offered to do so in person to the family in Jasper. This guy isn't perfect, but I do believe he has a
quickness and wit. If you're so sure he doesn't, you must have been listening enough to make a determination.

Ducking now....


Double Standards
Larry Seftor,

During my occasional radio channel hopping I have sampled Doug Tracht (“the Greaseman”), and I have never liked what I heard. Nevertheless, I'm appalled at the fire-storm in response to his tasteless comments about the dragging death of a black man. Let's put this in context. In D.C. we live in a town where the mayor was caught smoking crack cocaine, convicted, sentenced to jail, served time, apologized, and then was re-elected to be mayor again. The fact is that the drug conviction of a mayor who leads a city plagued by drug crime is a much more serious problem that a “shock jock” who goes too far one day. If an apology and repentance can neutralize Marion Barry's behavior, then an apology and repentance should be able to neutralize Doug Tracht's behavior.


Education Monopoly
Ed T. Barron,

Mayor Williams proposes to add $115 M to the educational budget. Money's not the answer. Powerful interests such as the entrenched bureaucracy and the Teachers’ Unions block real reform in public education. That is certainly true in the case of the DCPS. The power of choice in educating children is not in the hands of parents, it is in the hands of the local and federal government. Since 90% of the all students are in public schools, the government has a monopoly on public education by definition. Parents from low income families have no real choice when it comes to educating their children. That's why vouchers make so much sense. The recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of Milwaukee's voucher experiment provides some hope that vouchers (mostly privately funded) will be more accepted in urban school areas.

In D.C. both Rep. Norton and Sen. Ted Kennedy have been fighting to preclude parental choice claiming that parents in D.C. don't want vouchers. Bushwa!!! About a year and a half ago businessman Ted Forstmann put up $6M and offered scholarships to 1000 students from low income families. With no big publicity campaign or support from the Washington Post, almost 8000 applications were received for the 1000 spots. More than 20% of the eligible low income families applied. That sounds to me like a lot od D.C. parents do want vouchers. It is timely to give more choice to the parents who want a better education for their children and to get them out from under an oppressive monopoly.

Money won't bring about the needed reform in the DCPS. Millionaire Annenberg poured a huge amount of dollars into the Los Angeles Public Schools. There was no measurable result. It's not the money, Mr. Mayor.


Child Welfare Power Struggle
James R. Marsh,

Check out our website for the drama involving Bill 13-69 and the power struggle between the child welfare receiver and DC Superior Court!! The Children's Law Center, Inc.,


Metro's Step Forward
William B. Menczer, William.Menczer@FTA.DOT.GOV

Ed Barron expressed some dismay over Metro's new procedures to obtain senior citizen discount cards for Metro Bus and Rail (“A Step Backwards,” March 15 issue). After speaking with Metro's customer assistance office, I learned why the changes were made. Metro found numerous cases of fraudulent use of senior citizen and disabled discounts. Now, Metro will request social security numbers which will be further verified to ensure that the applicant is indeed over 65 years of age. Metro will still accept applications at the Metro Center window and will mail the cards back to the applicant in 2 to 4 weeks.

Is Ed referring to Tony Williams when he said that this “is one of the 2 steps back for every step forward we will be seeing in the new administration?” Metro is not an agency of the District of Columbia but the result of an interstate agreement between DC, Maryland, and Virginia, governed by a board of representatives from those jurisdictions. I don't think Tony has a controlling voice in how Metro is run. If Metro is reducing fraud, and thereby increasing revenues, is that such a bad thing?


Senator Park at Van Ness Yards
Phil Greene,

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but does anyone else think that it's funny that in the last month or so, Mayor Anthony Williams has A) announced strong support for a baseball stadium in the District, and 2) announced his intention to move the University of the District of Columbia to somewhere in Anacostia? Hmmmm, RFK Stadium is in Anacostia..... the UDC site would be a great spot for a ballpark....hmmmm. Maybe I'm crazy, but don't be surprised to see huge, Sikorsky helicopters carrying sections of RFK to Van Ness and on the return trip carrying academic buildings and untenured professors back to Anacostia.
And you thought that the replacement of the statue on top of the Capitol Dome was dramatic.


Jessica Vallette,

To respond to Ms. Treistmann's posting, I might be wrong, but isn't the soccer season after the baseball season? Also, RFK was originally built for our fair town's baseball team. I'm not against soccer and believe that DC United games are one of the few places where one can witness the amazing diversity of the District's population. Sorry if my posting was read as anti-United! Finally, many stadiums run two different kinds of sports, see MCI's basketball and hockey games. There's still no reason to prevent baseball from coming home to RFK, unless the game times and logistics conflict. Finally, I can't agree with
Treistman's characterization of Raljohn...a wonderful city? It is an example of the worst sprawl inducing in the area except maybe for Dulles Airport and Tyson's Corner. Mike Hill's idea is the best, start writing letters y'all or we might be stuck with the bad end of this stick!


Willie Schatz,

Sorry, baseball wannabees, but RFK is N/A. It's being used by DC United, a real team in a real game in which the ball moves all the time, not just once in a while. A game in which the players run and jump and jostle and MOVE, not stand around doing absolutely nothing until the little white ball just happens to come their way. A game that has united this town horizontally and vertically as no other has. A game during which you stay awake, not one in which you're nodding out by the top of third inning. As far as the alleged national pastime goes, it can stay in Balmer. This town has far more important items on which to spend its money than the stupid business of baseball. Meanwhile, if you wanna see sports like oughta be, Unite!


Baseball in Washington???
Ed T. Barron,

I dunno. At one time I was an avid (not rabid) Brooklyn Dodger fan. I grew up with avid and rabid fans all around me in Brooklyn and spent many summer days and many years in the bleachers at Ebbets Field watching my heroes play a wonderful game. An awful lot has changed since those days. We now have a bloated pair of leagues with so many teams that the quality of play is far from terrific. We have bloated players salaries that are far disproportionate to the worth of these players. We have bloated stadiums with sky boxes and seats so remote that a ball would have to be sent via FedEx to get to the remote regions where people sit. And we have bloated owners who can afford to staff their teams each year from those proselytized from other teams via the free agency auctions each Winter.

Player loyalty has disappeared. The days when a player stayed with a team his entire career are over (save for Cal Ripken of the Orioles). I would love to go to a ball game here in D.C. if I could watch a good team play and root for the same players (and recognizing them without looking at the score card) each year as we grew older together. But will Washington get a team? Despite the fact that D.C. is probably a good venue for baseball, the chances are somewhere between slim and none. The Expos will likely stay in Montreal and D.C. is not a favored place for further expansion. In fact, baseball will likely see a decline now that the Sosa/Maguire challenge is over. The “haves” will get stronger each year and the “have-nots” will fall further behind. Attendance has peaked and will likely go into a steady slow decline for the leagues as wholes over the next several years. If all my dire predictions are wrong, then bring baseball to D.C., and build the stadium right on the Anacostia River front near the Anacostia Metro Station. There's already too much going on in the area near the MCI Center and the new Convention Center. An Anacostia River front stadium would be a great boost to that community. Look for me in the bleachers. I'll bring Hilda Chester's cow bell.


John Heaton,

I want to clarify a point made in Michelle Treistman's message about RFK Stadium. Raljohn, the putative location of Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, is not incorporated. It's merely an acceptable alternate name for the 20785 ZIP code. You could as easily, and as accurately, say it was in Landover, Cheverly, or Hyattsville. For that matter, you could say it was in Largo, Baltimore, or Redskinville and no one would much care; as long as the ZIP code is right, the Post Office will deliver it.


Thoughts on Moving Back to DC
Nelson Jacobsen,

Having recently gone through a DMV experience, which was prompted by our family moving back into DC, which was prompted by the city finally awaking from the malaise of bad insider government and electing an outsider to the top post, I am concerned with a number of things all of which are prompting me to post this message. Activist citizens are concerned with many issues; understandably not all of them can be reconciled with what is best for the city as a whole. We need to expand our tax base, and that is not going to happen unless DC makes great strides to encourage small and large companies to locate within the District. And the middle class that is here to stay and others to move into DC. Lets not forget RICH PEOPLE DON'T PAY TAXES. I previously worked at a Hi-Tech company that brought thousand of tax dollars into DC Coffers and high-paying jobs. Yet one activist did not like the fact that a business was in their neighborhood, which was zoned mixed use, caused the company many a problem and the city to spend time answering their mail and attending local meetings. This activist, however, had no problem with the Crack house two doors away. Well, the company moved to Maryland.

Having worked with the DC Council to go online I have seen the problems faced by contractors dealing with the city, namely interdepartmental turf protection — are these workers, many whom don't even live here — working for US or themselves and issues they are dealing with they may not be best suited to make the decisions. I would cite the deal that DC is in with local Ma Bell in which the schools are supposed to have high-speed internet access, yet many don't even have computers, let alone heat. And this is paid for by a set-aside fund for libraries and schools. Heck, even look at the District's dot US domain — it has ci in it. We are a district, not a city. We should be This issue is important in structuring how our government implements internet sites and policy. Note, I had to convince the person who made up the domain name system John Postal that DC was not just a city.

Back to DMV — I had a very surprisingly easy time with the Drivers Permit part, and would have expected that the Title part would be not much different, but the building was on fire the day I choose to take care of the Titling and I had to come back another day. This is the Capitol of the free world yet we end up with petty bickering over words and turf. The world will not take us seriously until we are serious. And I still believe that Mayor Williams is serious about making DC great for the 1st time. So let's help or get out of the way.


Utility Rates for Churches
Barbara Lock Goodman,

After the executive director of our synagogue retired, I volunteered to work on the books until a replacement was found, keeping records of donations and of paid bills. I was astonished to learn that churches and synagogues in D.C. are treated as COMMERCIAL enterprises by the utilities: Washington Gas Company, PEPCO and Bell Atlantic! Our gas bill last month was over $1, takes a lot of small donations to get anywhere near that amount. What on earth are they thinking of and what kind of churches or synagogues do they go to? Our synagogue is over 100 years old with an aging membership. Even in its palmier days, it would have taken a lot to collect the kind of money each month needed to pay such outrageous bills. Is there anyone in the D.C. Government who can work to modify these rates? I understand that some years ago members from some churches and synagogues met to work for a change in the rates that utilities charged charitable institutions but they got nowhere. I would be interested in working with others interested in this matter.


Caio Baby
Annie McCormick,

Caio Baby has closed? I believe the reason was the nasty host/hostess, and/or manager. I went there for lunch in December 1997 and since my lunch date was late, they actually asked me to move to the bar as they could use the table for paying customers (as if I was not going to pay...). It doesn't surprise me that it closed. In my opinion, it's because of their nasty attitude. I took my business elsewhere.


Y2K Is No Excuse for Guns
Connie Ridgway,

I am upset with Mr. Hardman's suggestion that people keep a "disassembled shotgun" for the predicted upcoming disasters following a Y2K computer failure. If what he says is true (and all of it is pure speculation) — people get hysterical during disasters; this is not a good time to have a gun. Please, some of your suggestions may be valid and I'm sure you have good intentions, but don't tell people to get a gun.


ISO Spanish Language Instruction
Sara Cormeny,

I'm looking for Spanish-language instruction in the DC area for a beginner to modern foreign languages (though he does know some Latin and gets the idea of verb tenses, gender and the like). Any type of instruction is welcome (classroom, private tutor, ESL-partner), along with advice on what the “best” type of foreign language instruction for an adult who wants to read and speak, though not necessarily write, in Spanish. Classes must take place outside of business hours, and preferably in downtown DC, near Metro, or in the Reston area. Please send me email at , and thanks very much!


Furniture Refinisher Recommendation
Ed Kane,

In response to E. J. Lieberman's query in your last issue, I have been blessed to find an outstanding furniture repairman/refinisher. His name is F.W. Schoenbauer, and can be found at (301) 843-0958. His address is 319 Bucknell Circle, Waldorf, MD 20602. He is highly gifted, and very inexpensive — a fine, but rare, combination.



The Washington, DC Film Society Presents “Capital Oscars” Academy Awards Celebration
Ky Nguyen.

Start off the week with a bang! On Sunday, March 21, 1999, 7:30 p.m., celebrate Oscar Night with Washington's film community at the Washington, DC Film Society's seventh annual fund-raiser: “Capital Oscars” at Fellini Restaurant, 18th and M Streets, NW, Washington, D.C. Fellini is a great find for any lover of film and food, an Italian restaurant named for the legendary film director Federico Fellini, who artfully blended reality and dreams. Watch the stars of the big screen at the 71st annual awards ceremony telecast live from Hollywood and projected on BIG screens. Arrive early for the first-ever Oscar pre-show.

Treat yourself to Italian hors d'oeuvres, sip your favorite drinks, and bid on items in a silent auction featuring fabulous prizes including tickets at the National, Warner, and Woolly Mammoth theaters, and dinners at Cities, Red Sage, Planet Hollywood, and Red, Hot & Blue restaurants, then relax with a One Step Down jazz club membership or a weekend at Washington Plaza Hotel! Dress is creative black tie. Cash bar. Door prizes include two tickets to the gala opening of Filmfest DC, Washington's own international film festival, now in its 13th year. Join us for a capital evening at the Washington area's hottest party. Tickets are $35.00 ($25.00 for Film Society members or with invitation available at Fellini and all 4 Washington Video store locations) and may be purchased in advance. Reserved tickets will be held at the door. For ticket sales and further information, please call (202) 554-3263 or visit on the web at . All proceeds support the work of the Film Society and its parent organization, Filmfest DC. The Washington, DC Film Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to an appreciation
of quality mainstream, international, and independent films.


April Book Sale
Martha Saccocio,

Please donate your old books. The Friends of the Tenley-Friendship Branch of the D.C. Public Library will hold our semi-annual book sale Saturday, April 10, from 11:00-4:00 pm. (Friends of the Library may be admitted at 10:00am). The library is located at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Albelmarle Street, N.W., across from the Tenleytown Metro. Book donations are being accepted at the library everyday except Sundays.



Going Back to Bali Open House and Sale
Patty Friedman, 202-232-3449,

Fri, 3/19 1-9pm, Sat 3/20 10-6pm, Sun 3/21 11-7pm, 1916 1/2 New Hampshire Ave NW b/w T/U, 16th & U/Dupont Circle area Metro-Red/Dupont Circle North or Green/U St-Cardoza, Street parking.

Bring your friends, have a cocktail and an Indonesian Nosh while you shop for Beautiful Balinese Handcrafted Creations...ALL must go — Lamps, jewelry, batik bedspreads, wall-hangings, paintings, art, clocks, candles, home furnishings, and gifts. New items too!



Rooms for Rent, DC Chevy Chase Area
Nick Chang,

Two rooms in a house available in Chevy Chase area. $350 and $300 including utilities, plenty of street parking, near bus and Metro station, dryer and washer, shared kitchen, no pets and no smoking. Please contact Sally Tsou (202)362-8053.


House to Share
Sven Abow,

Mt. Pleasant: Room available in cute townhouse across the street from beautiful Rock Creek Park. Available immediately, W/D, $500 + 1/2 utils. Sven, 202-483-6836,


Roommate Wanted
Jeffrey Unger,

Professional female 25+ to share sunny, spacious, furnished 3 bedroom 2 bath Woodley Park apartment. CAC, healthclub, roof deck, doorman, parking, metro. $625 includes utilities. Short/long term, available April 1 and May 1. Call Lori at (202) 265-5375


Dave Nuttycombe,

From's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
The Council's Solo Mission: A month after vowing to restore exclusive D.C. occupation of the Wilson Building, Mayor Anthony Williams has little to show. The mayor has yet to untangle the legal and financial thicket that keeps the District out of its building. Nor has Williams called in chits with his White House and congressional admirers to ease the federal government out of its space there. Monday's budget proposal — which ignores the re-occupation and its potential costs — completes the picture of mayoral indifference. “It's not a major initiative in the budget,” said Williams in response to a question from LL.
“Fuck the mayor,” said a councilmember who steadfastly insisted upon anonymity. “If he doesn't want to be associated with restoring the city's municipal symbols, we'll do it by ourselves.”
Read the entire Loose Lips column this Friday at

From's CITY LIGHTS page, here are a few early warnings for upcoming events:
Friday, March 19: Bill Kirchen & Too Much Fun and the Towering Bouffants, 9 p.m., Friday, March 19, at Lewie's, 6845 Reed St., Bethesda. $6.
Wednesday, March, 24: Black Stars of the Silver Screen, 7 p.m. at the Oxon Hill Library, 6200 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill. Free.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at


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