Dear Intellectual Leaders:
The Internet may be good for commerce and everyday communication, but it
is great for circulating jokes. On another E-mail list, I received the following list of
creative ways to say that someone is stupid. It occurred to me that nothing on this list
is specific to our city. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to say that a
Washingtonian is stupid? Let me propose another contest come up with the best way
to call a Washingtonian stupid, and you'll win the grand prize that themail always gives,
the admiration of your peers.
A few clowns short of a circus.
A few fries short of a happy meal.
The wheel's spinning, but the hamster's dead.
All foam, no beer.
The butter has slipped off his pancake.
The cheese slid off his cracker.
Body by Fisher, brains by Mattel.
Warning: Objects in mirror are dumber than they appear.
Couldn't pour water out of a boot with instructions on the heel. He fell out of the stupid
tree and hit every branch on the way down.
As smart as bait.
Doesn't have all his dogs on one leash.
Her sewing machine's out of thread.
One fruit loop shy of a full bowl.
Her antenna doesn't pick up all the channels.
His belt doesn't go through all the loops.
Proof that evolution CAN go in reverse.
Receiver is off the hook.
Not wired to code.
Skylight leaks a little.
Her slinky's kinked.
Too much yardage between the goal posts.
Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold them together.
A photographic memory, but the lens cover is on.
During evolution his ancestors were in the control group.
Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming.
Is so dense, light bends around her.
If brains were taxed, he'd get a rebate.
Standing close to her, you can hear the ocean.
Some drink from the fountain of knowledge, but he just gargled.
She stayed on the Tilt-A-Whirl a bit too long.
The article in last Sunday's Post magazine section should
convince most sane folks that it is time to either close UDC or to drastically change its
mission. With a six-year graduation rate of only 6% and a total enrollment (part and full
time) of just over 5000 students, the District is pouring in almost $10K per student each
year. And for what? We'd be much better off giving needy students who qualify for entrance
into other (real) colleges and universities, a grant of $10K per year which (combined with
the Federal subsidy) would allow them to get into a whole slew of good schools. George
Mason is already conducting remedial courses for would-be college students who are
attending the 9th and 10th grades in D.C. schools. There's no grass growing on George
Mason. They are lining up potential students to increase, or maintain their enrollment in
the years to come.
UDC should reinvent themselves into a Junior College with remedial courses
to bring D.C.'s High School grads to a level where they can qualify for admittance to area
colleges and universities. Another role for UDC would be to offer courses for
non-college-bound students who need specific skill training and education in fields where
they can secure good jobs. It is likely that major companies would participate with
instruction and funds in this latter type program to create a bank of future employees.
For those following the long running saga of the Chevy Chase Community
Center: having no luck getting a straight story from the Recreation Department, I went to
the top the recreation director's office, which provided the number of D.C.'s
Office of Property Management. The good news is that a polite gentleman actually called me
back the same day! But the story essentially was the same: because of complicated PEPCO
problems and unanticipated elevator shaft woes (hence shafted), the building
won't re-open in late November as hoped. Mid- to late December is a better bet, but even
that will be up to D.C. inspectors. My informant apologized for the delay. I
responded that it was a heck of a delay well over a year so far for a project
supposed to take six months or fewer. Will the contractor be penalized? Too early to say.
Thanks to the D.C. library system and Fresh Fields (courtesy of this E-mail list) for
helping host the National Scrabble Association's Club 171 in the long interim. Now the
question is whether the center will beat Y2K. Any guesses?
Lorraine Swerdloff, firstname.lastname@example.org
Does anyone have details about the New Year's celebrations in DC being put
on by the White House and by the District? I'm interested in when/what kind of events are
Common Interests: D.C. Public Schools
Kathy Sinzinger, EditorCD@aol.com
The Common Denominator, D.C.'s hometown newspaper,
wants to know what D.C. residents and taxpayers think would solve the problems in D.C.
Public Schools. Do you support Councilman Kevin Chavous's proposal for reforming the
school board, which would require changing the city's home rule charter? Or do
you have a better idea? A chart comparing the current system to Chavous's proposal
accompanies a story on pages 15-16 of the current issue of The Common Denominator.
A summary of part of the proposal can be read online at http://www.thecommondenominator.com. Your
comments on the issue may be submitted as a letter to the editor or to be posted online in
our Common Interests section (or you may specify that you are submitting for
both). Letters may be mailed or hand delivered to Editor, The Common Denominator,
680 Rhode Island Avenue NE, Suite N, Washington, DC 20002; faxed to (202) 635-1449; or
E-mailed to EditorCD@aol.com. For posting online,
please click on Common Interests at http://www.thecommondenominator.com
Has anyone had any recent bouts with nuisance properties? I'd like to talk
with residents about their experiences for a news story I'm working on for a class. I'm
looking into nuisance properties, specifically, the work of the old Nuisance Property Task
Force, formed under the Barry administration, that is currently looking to be
re-established. The group works on cleaning and barricading nuisance properties, and I
want to get a feel for how they're viewed by residents, especially if you've had contact
with them. Anything you could provide would help, but please contact me by Friday or
Saturday if you've got any info to share.
Be Careful What You Wish For
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
The folks in AU Park who complained about the large buses driving through
their neighborhood asked for, and got, smaller buses. These new buses are likely to create
less wear and tear on the streets but they are an assault on the ear drums. The noise
level of these buses while in a cruise mode is about twice the noise level of the old long
It is hard to believe that the procurement folks in the District did not
test drive one or more of the new buses before buying them. If any rational person had
actually taken a ride on one of these buses or observed one on the streets of D.C. they
would have been appalled at the high roaring sound the bus makes. If these buses are still
plying the residential neighborhoods in AU Park, then my sympathy goes out to those
neighborhoods. Here on Massachusetts Avenue the sound is just one small part of the
cacophony of daily ear intrusions. Double paned glass all around is the only solution
Yes, There Are Lots of Bars and Restaurants
Mike Fasano, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is to clarify questions raised by Peter and Kirsten. When I refer to
the 17th Street Strip I am talking about The Dupont East Moratorium Zone, which includes
17th Street and the restaurants around the corner on P, Q & R Streets. This strip
includes the following ABC establishments: 1. Skewers Restaurant (1633 P), 2. Cafe Luna
(1633 P), 3. Bua Restaurant (1635 P), 4. Sushi Taro (1503 17th), 5. Il Radicchio (1509
17th), 6. JR's Bar & Grill (1519 17th), 7. Peppers Bar & Restaurant (1527 17th),
8. Fox & Hounds Bar (1537 17th), 9. Trio Restaurant (1537 17th), 10. Trio Pizza &
Sub Shop (1624 Q), 11. Club Chaos (1633 Q; corner 17th & Q), 12. Mercury Grill (1602
17th), 13. Annie's Steak House (1609 17th), 14. Frontera Cantina (1633 17th), 15. Dupont
Italian Kitchen Restaurant (1637 17th), 16. Dupont Italian Kitchen Lounge (1637 17th), 17.
Townhouse Tavern (1639 R), 18. Sol Restaurant (1639 R; corner 17th & R), 19. Cobalt
Bar (1639 R), 20. Cairo Wine & Liquor (1618 17th), 21. Berose Liquor (1711 17th), 22.
Daily Market (1617 17th), 23. Pena Spanish Store (1636 17th)
Four of the 23 ABC establishments sell alcohol for off premise
consumption; nineteen are restaurants and/or bars. There are a total of over 2200 ABC
seats in these establishments. The corresponding population in the moratorium zone is
roughly 3600. ABC establishments account for roughly 40% of the commercial businesses in
the area and roughly 50% of street level frontage. This for a commercial zone that is
supposed to be a community commercial zone; and which (for the block on which
JR's and Fox & Hounds bars are located) is directly across the street from a
residential zone. However you slice it, it seems to me like we have a lot of ABC business
in the 17th Street area.
I'm not sure that we can ever agree on what the right balance is for our
neighborhood. And I am not opposed to any of the businesses we have now. I just think that
if you have too many bars and restaurants, your neighborhood becomes more like an
entertainment zone than a neighborhood. That may be OK for people who commute in from
other areas and even for some who live nearby; but it concerns me. I think we are at the
limit of what a neighborhood can have and still remain a neighborhood.
17th Street Bars and Restaurants
Ralph Blessing, email@example.com
Peter Luger asks how a proposed JR's expansion would have anything to do
with a pet food store relocating or a plant shop closing. I suspect it may have something
to do with the need to have a critical mass of stores open during the daytime to attract
pedestrian traffic, which is the source of potential customers upon which small businesses
depend. Awhile back my wife was told by the owner of the Artistic Lamps store on
Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park that the proliferation of new restaurants, coffee
shops, etc. on the block might force him to go belly up, since those newer businesses
attracted most of their customers at night. A store like Artistic Lamps, on the other
hand, depends on potential customers being out and about throughout the day. But as the
number of like businesses decreases, their
space taken over by the latest trendy restaurant, fewer and fewer potential customers
frequent the area during daylight hours.
Cell Phones and Safety in the Park
Kathy Chamberlain, Hillcrest, SE, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cell phone towers ARE about safety, and I wish we had at least one in our
neighborhood. Almost two years ago while taking my morning walk, I came across a dead body
although at the time I wasn't entirely certain he was dead. Not having a cell phone, I ran
into the street and flagged down the next car that passed. It was a Saturday morning so
traffic was light. The driver happened to have a cell phone and let me use it. The signal
was weak, so it took several tries to get through to 911. This incident happened on 28th
Street, S.E. which runs through Fort Circle Park, an extension of Fort Dupont Park. Most
people who live near Rock Creek Park won't have the slightest idea where this is, but
suffice it to say it is a beautiful national park in east-of-the-river DC which has
something in common with Rock Creek Park: poor cell phone reception. The emergency team
informed me that the man was dead (blunt force) but had probably only been dead for 1-2
hours. His body was still warm. By the tire tracks nearby, they surmised that he'd been
dumped from a car. This meant that if I had walked at my usual time, about an hour
earlier, I might have witnessed the drop-off scene. I briefly considered discontinuing the
daily walk very briefly. Instead I got a walking partner and invested in a cell
phone. The walking partner is great, but the cell phone is almost useless. I've tried
every carrier. Reception is poor throughout my neighborhood. BAM, why don't you put a
tower on this side of the river? By the way, the police later told me that the dead person
was not from around here, but from NW, and that parks all over the city serve as
convenient drop-off points, especially during times when there is little traffic. Rock
Creek walkers/joggers: consider yourselves fortunate to be getting a cell phone tower.
Speaking of road service, I am very happy with the service I get from
GEICO for just about $10/year. I've been locked out of my car at the MCI center at 10:30
p.m. and gotten help, I've been in VA and MD and gotten help. (NOTE ON THE MCI Lock Out: I
was on the phone to GEICO getting help when literally 15 employees surrounded me in what I
took to be a menacing manner because I was holding them up from going home!) GEICO members
may want to check it out.
And about stakeholders. Haven't we kicked this around enough? It's just
the latest "thing." No one says it in real life, just in the annual reports.
Let's not get stuck on this it's just the latest business-school-talk. We'll all be
over that soon after all, no one calls anything a paradigm anymore, do they?
I've enjoyed at least a decade of excellent service from AAA since moving
to the District. The operators have been helpful and reassuring, and the tow truck
operators and locksmiths have been relatively quick to respond and unfailingly helpful
under pretty distressing circumstances. I can't think of how I would have managed without
my AAA membership.
District Cablevision has struck again. After a big push to provide
reception for channels 4 and 5, and improve reception for channels 7 and 9, things have
fallen to business as usual. I had two weeks where I could actually watch local network
channels (channel 11 became unviewable as a result however), then beginning on Sunday all
my network channels started to have the bars, shadows, and in some cases snow. When I
called District Cablevision they said it would be 11 days before anyone would come out to
look into my problem. I suggested that it might be a bigger problem since my neighbor was
also experiencing difficulties. This is not a customer oriented company. And, if it is
true that starting in January satellite TV is able to carry local network channels, I
think District Cablevision will finally see
real competition. What surprises me most is the silence of the local networks on this
issue. One would think they are directly injured by this lack of good reception. I haven't
watched channel 4 news in years because of the lousy reception. In the meantime, if anyone
has successfully gotten District Cablevision to timely respond to a complaint and have the
problem resolved permanently ... all past fixes for me have only lasted a few months ...
please let me know how you did it.
Did anyone else see the item in the Post last week about how the
telecommunications company StarPower plans to cut up every single street in the District
between now and 2001? Every single street? Is this insane?
DMV = Delightful, Magnificent and Vibrant
Brian Reeves, email@example.com
My apologies if this has been covered recently (I haven't read in a couple
of months). But I like to give kudos to the city government when they deserve it. My
inspection sticker and registration expired over the weekend. So I had to visit the DMV
this morning. I arrived at 8:10 am (they open at 8:15 am). The line to get in the place
was all the way down the hallway and around the corner. I got in line expecting to spend
the entire morning there. Boy was I pleasantly surprised. The line started moving at 8:15
am on the dot. When I got to the entrance, the woman in the doorway asked what I was there
for. I told her and she directed me to the proper line to get a number. By 8:25 am I had a
What's with these numbers, you ask? Well, they now have this cool
scoreboard-like contraption hanging from the ceiling that tells you what number is
currently being served and at what window. Each teller also has an electronic
display above his/her window showing which number they are serving. So you don't have to
stand in long lines anymore. Now you sit in one of the 80-100 seats they have and read the
paper. You also don't have to constantly look up at the "scoreboard" to see if
your number is up. When a number comes up, a pleasant voice announces "number J147
now being served at window 13." And lastly, there is even a ticker at the top of the
display giving Times Square-like news and information.
Anyway, back to the story. My number was called by 8:45 am. I presented my
documentation for new stickers and registration. That took about 5 minutes. Then the
teller told me to sit down and wait for my number to be called again. Before I could even
select a seat, J147 came up again. This was to visit the cashier. I wrote my check and got
my receipt. By the time, I finished paying, my new stickers and registration were waiting
for me at window 11. I was walking out the door around 9:00 am. And, believe it or not,
the computers were briefly down during my visit. They've also done a minor renovation so
the atmosphere is slightly more aesthetic. And while I was there, I overheard a DMV
employee refer to me as a "customer." The experience was so painless that I
purposely only got a one year renewal so I can go back as soon as possible (just kidding).
One of your correspondents asked if a long delay on a 911 call to the
police is typical. Here is an experience I had with the police when I tried to report a
death threat against me: on the night of Tuesday, November 9th, I was standing in front of
a convenience store at 11th and H NE when a drug dealer ordered me to get off the street.
When I refused, he threatened to kill me. The next evening, Wednesday, I phoned 727-1010
and told the police dispatcher why I needed an officer to come to my house. Many hours
later, an officer arrived at 2:30 a.m. but was not interested in taking my report. On
Thursday, I tried phoning 727-1010 again, this time while eating dinner at a restaurant. I
waited for an hour, but no cop ever showed up. When I stepped outside, I saw a police
cruiser speeding aimlessly up and down H Street, but he never dropped by to interview me.
On Friday I walked orange hat with three police officers. They promised to take my report
but were diverted elsewhere during our walk and they failed to call me back even
though I gave them my phone number. I tried calling 727-1010 again on Saturday, but
couldn't even get an operator to send me an officer. On Sunday, five days after I first
tried reporting the incident, I cornered an officer I knew in a fast food place and got
him to take the report.
We who walk orange hat patrol with the police risk our lives and it is
amazing to me that they value us so little that it took me five days to find a cop who
would report a death threat against me!
The Phantom of the Opera
Jason Juffras, firstname.lastname@example.org
Was anyone else offended by Mark Richards' reference to gay
boys at J.R.'s on 17th Street? I'm glad that Mr. Richards is so broad-minded as to
acknowledge these gay boys as an integral part of his operatic
neighborhood one of the J.R.'s staff even lives in his building, as he tells
us but he would do better to treat people with respect rather than as sources of
amusement (or should I say derision?).
Grace Reading Series Begins Sixth Season
Robert Andrew, email@example.com
The Grace Reading Series begins its sixth season of poetry coffeehouses
with a reading by emerging poets Mel Belin, Anne Marie Blum, and Paul Napier on Thursday,
November 18, at Grace Church in Georgetown.
Mel Belin's book Flesh That Was Chrysalis has just been published
by The Word Works, Inc. In 1998 Belin was the winner of Potomac Review's third annual
poetry competition. He has published poems in many journals, including Midstream,
Antietam, Poet Lore, Cumberland Review, Blue Unicorn, Potomac Review, Visions, Edge City
Review, and Minimus. His work was also included in the anthology Hungry as
we are (published by the Washington Writer's Cooperative press). Belin has read widely in
the Washington, DC area, and has also had his poetry exhibited in a poetry and arts
collaboration at the Spectrum gallery in Georgetown and the Strathmore gallery in
Bethesda. Anne Marie Blum is a widely published poet who also writes plays and dramatic
monologues. Her poems have appeared in the North American Poetry Review, Orpheus,
Green Mountains Review, Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, and elsewhere. Blum's play,
Cafe de l'Espoir, was produced by the New Works Theater of Virginia in 1994.
Paul Napier is a nature writer as well as a poet, and his poetry employs traditional forms
and meters to focus closely on the natural world. His poetry has appeared in Mass.
Ave. Review and the Federal Poet, and he is vice-president of Washington
DC-based Federal Poets.
From its inception, the Grace Reading Series has aimed at providing an
intimate setting for bringing new poetry to the community. Admission is free for the
reading, which begins at 7:30 pm at 1041 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. During each reading,
reduced-rate validated parking is available courtesy of Colonial Parking underneath the
Georgetown Park shopping mall, and coffee is donated by the Coffee Beanery on M Street in
Georgetown. For general information, call 202 333-7100, and for specific information on
the Grace Reading Series contact Jeff Brown at 703-351-9226 or the Church web site at http://www.GraceDC.org.
Join Walk to Help the Homeless
E. James Lieberman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, Nov. 20, 10:00 am. Join Mia Hamm and thousands of local citizens
to walk 5K for the homeless Fannie Mae Foundation sponsored. Start and end at
Freedom Plaza, 13th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Age 5- 25 (youth) is $10; adults are $20:
this gets you a T-shirt and refreshments. You can designate your contribution to a
specific organization. You can pre-register at http://www.helpthehomeless.org
or call 877-WALK-HTH for information.
Hi boys & girls, we're all young compared to our parents! Missed you
at the Best Western in College Park, hypnotized most of the 55 people last Monday. Next
Saturday, we have our next performance. Van Ness-UDC campus auditorium , 11 am - 4 pm,
around 3 pm, 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW, 202-362-2068.
Friends of Ft. Bayard Park (at the intersection of Western Avenue, River
Road, Fessenden Street, and 47th Street, N.W. are forming a group for the improvement of
the playground and the beautification of the park. All interested neighbors (on both the
DC and Maryland side) are invited to share their ideas and get involved at an initial
planning meetings. Saturday, November 20, 4-5:30 pm, River Road United Presbyterian
Church, 4420 River Road, N.W., River Road and 45th Street. For further information, please
call either Maria Alonso-Vazquez at (202) 966-5633 or Paul Fekete at (202) 686-1759.
Monday, Nov. 22, 1999, at 8:00 p.m. New location for this meeting only,
Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street N.W. Agenda includes tour bus issues, alley
closing in Square 2140, BZA variance for 2940 Newark Street, DC Voting Rights, and update
on Congressional action on DC appropriations. ANC office: 2737 Devonshire Place, NW, (202)
232-2232, fax 232-0667. For more information, call 232-2232 or 363-6658.
Tasting Society International Calendar of Wine
Charles Adler, email@example.com
1) November 16th, Tuesday, Wine Basics 101, Radisson Barcelo
Hotel, 2121 P St., NW, valet parking, Metro Dupont Circle (Red Line), 7-9 pm, $39 per
person. Our most attended event! 2) December 2nd, Thursday, New Zealand Embassy:
Oysters and Wine, Embassy of New Zealand, 37 Observatory Circle, NW, 7-9 pm, $55 per
person, portion of proceeds benefit Leukemia Society of America. 3) December 7th, Tuesday,
Holiday Wine and Champagne Extravaganza, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9:30 pm,
$35 per person in advance, $45 at the door. Over 100 wines and champagnes to taste and
order at 10-15% off! 4) December 8th, Wednesday, Best of the Best for 1999,
join Ann Berta, wine columnist for Washingtonian Magazine, as we celebrate her
current favorites. Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9 pm, $55 per person. 5) December 14th,
Tuesday, Wine Basics 101, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9 pm, $39 per person. 6)
December 15th, Wednesday, Delicious Dessert Wines, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-9
pm, $50 per person. Admit it, you love your wine sweet! Price includes wine and a variety
of desserts and sweets. Reservation: secure web form at https://labyrinth.dgsys.com/clients/tastedc.com/order.cgi
or phone (202)333-5588.
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE
Ski Equipment: Olin Mark V 195/198 cm alpine skis asking $125;
Kneissl 205 cm alpine skis asking $125; Fischer WaxFree Cross Country Skis 215 cm,
asking $90; Nordica ski and cross country boots also available; in good condition.
Recommended for tall skiers, over 6'. Call David at 483-8558 or 486-6938.
Mrs. Dalloway Needs More Room (of Her Own?)
Charlie Wellander, jfa-cwr@CapAccess.org
Mrs. Dalloway is a beautiful gray Siamese cat who would love to sit on
your warm lap and purr. She is an adult cat, age uncertain. But being a bit older has its
perks! She won't destroy your furniture and her litter box habits are excellent. She is
spayed and up-to-date on all of her vaccinations and health checks. She is an indoor cat
and would probably be happier as a single cat.
We adopted her seven months ago from the DC shelter. She is very
affectionate. She hops up on your lap as soon as you sit down and she purrs and purrs.
Unfortunately, our resident cat will not accept her and we can not keep her much longer in
our now divided small apartment. We are looking for a good home for her. If you think you
might have room in your home and your heart for Mrs. D., please call and leave a message
for us. We will call you back and tell you more about her. Judy and Charlie, 202-363-7350;
or E-mail jfa-cwr@CapAccess.org
Our Kingdom for a Good Plumber
Paul Penniman, firstname.lastname@example.org
For thirteen years we have had various plumbers unsuccessfully work on the
toilet in our "powder room," as they delicately call it. Can anyone recommend a
really good plumber? I know my neighbor Matt would hate to see me start peeing in our
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, email@example.com
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
STAFFER PHIL: Early this month, colleagues of At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson
exacted some long sought revenge on the first-year legislator.
Mendelson had proposed a measure that would have exempted teachers at the Duke Ellington
School of the Arts from daytime parking restrictions in the surrounding neighborhood.
The proposal never even reached the council dais. Some councilmembers faulted it for
singling out one group of teachers for special treatment; others wondered how it would
affect local residents. Nearly all councilmembers, however, chided the proposal on other
grounds -- namely, it came off Mendelson's desk as emergency legislation.
Only Mendelson could prompt that kind of reaction. In his nearly 11 months on the council,
Mendelson has served as the council's procedural Barney Fife, a process fanatic who
quibbles over the wording of resolutions, holds up council meetings to clarify rules, and
his specialty inveighs against emergency legislation at every opportunity,
save when he himself proposes it.
Read the entire Loose Lips column here: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/lips/lips.html
From washingtoncitypaper.com's CITY LIGHTS page, here are a few early
warnings for upcoming events:
SATURDAY: Dolls of Color on Parade show and sale for consumers and collectors.
At noon until 7 p.m. the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Conference
Center, 4301 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $4.
MONDAY: William Wegman: Memories of Fay Ray, at 6 p.m. at the National Museum of Natural
History, Baird Auditorium, 10th & Constitution Ave., NW. $13.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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