Winding Down the Year
Seems I never learn. I tried this last year without much success
few people replied so I'll try it again. There's one more issue of themail before
the end of the year and before the end of the century and millennium, for those who count
that way. Does anyone want to try his or her skill at predicting the future? What will
happen in the next week will Y2K be a big bug or a bust? What will happen in the
next year, decade, or century? Where will DC be when that other millennium New Years rolls
around next year?
I once knew a woman named Jeanne Dixon (no, not that Jeanne Dixon) who was
listed in the DC telephone book, and so got a lot of calls from people looking for
predictions. She always told her callers that she wasn't the seer they were seeking. Well,
nearly always. She was a grade school teacher, and one time a reporter from the Associated
Press called her to check out a rumor that Jeanne Dixon had said that space ships from
Mars were coming to earth to kidnap fourth grade students. She had had a tough day in
school that day, and instead of telling the reporter to find the other Jeanne Dixon she
said, Well, it wouldn't be a bad idea. The next day, newspapers around the US
reported. . . .
This is your chance. Astound us with the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of your
Street Cleaning and Parking Tickets
Brian Reeves, email@example.com
I agree with Malcolm Wiseman's point that street cleaning has been very
spotty since it has been rolled out over the past several years. Here are two thoughts
that the city might consider to improve this service. 1) When I lived in
Hoboken, NJ we were allowed to park on a street being cleaned as soon as the cleaning
machine passed. So even if the sign stated no parking 9-11 am for street cleaning, you
could park there at 9:30 am if the street cleaner had already passed. This is why the
ticket writers drove immediately behind the cleaning machine and only ticketed vehicles
that were in the way of the cleaner. The District used not to do this. Mr. Wiseman said
that the ticket writers came right behind the cleaning machine. If they are doing this
now, it is an improvement over the old policy of simply ticketing any vehicle parked on a
street during street cleaning hours. 2) The District used to suspend parking restrictions
for street cleaning during the winter (since the street cleaners don't come in the
winter). Have they stopped doing this? If so, the mayor and DPW have really dropped the
Starpower or Star Weakness?
Richard Robin, firstname.lastname@example.org
We got the Starpower kit and caboodle about a month ago (phone, cable
modem, cable TV). The first three weeks were paradise. Then last Friday (Dec. 17) our
cable TV and cable modem went out. The lower TV channels became snowy and the cable modem
stopped functioning. Now, a week later, after multiple daily calls to various Starpower
service numbers, cable TV is back on, but hope for the cable modem dims with each day.
Maybe sometime after Christmas? After the Millennium? The problem is that Starpower rode
into town on a wave of discontent with District Cablevision. Remember the downed statue of
Lenin: No Empire Lasts Forever?
But what has the new empire brought? Long waits on the phone and lots of
disconnects. Starpowers service line greets you with Average wait time is
under five minutes. Uh
make that 10 to 30, and on one occasion 45. (Make sure
you hit the bathroom before you call.) When you do get to a customer support line, the
reps often seems confused (What were you calling about now? You said you
were calling about your phone line?) and helpless. But they are apologetic. And they
have lots to apologize for: missed promised callbacks and tech dispatches.
There are a few bright spots. The cable modem techs appear to know their
business, but they work in tandem with the cable TV people, who don't seem to understand
that cable modem users opted for the technology because they want an always-on connection.
Clearly cable modem users whose troubles stem for problem on the outside CATV line get low
priority unless there's no picture whatsoever. Whatever the reasons for
Starpowers sluggish responsiveness, the fact is that now, eight days after the
initial blackout, I'm still using using a 28.8 modem on a phone line with no idea of when
the cable modem connection will become active again. Oh, and about that phone line. I had
signed up to switch from Bell Atlantic to Starpower, but the switch hasn't happened yet.
Maybe I'm still in time to cancel.
In Mr. Imhoff's impassioned tirade against Mayor William's appointment of
Rev. Willie Wilson to UDC's Board of Trustees, Imhoff questions whether UDC lacks the
perspective of a loud-mouthed racist demagogue. I would suggest that UDC is,
and has been without such a perspective, and I would challenge anyone to demonstrate
otherwise. UDC has consistently been in a fight to secure adequate funding against
overwhelmingly tough odds not ordinarily targeted at institutions of higher learning. In
the face of this adversity, success stories abound quietly, while missteps are emblazoned
on the local headlines. Students not unlike myself have had to balance rigorous studies,
employment, families and die-hard activism in a never-ending fight to defend the school
from the let them eat cake crowd that would deprive DC of a public four-year
university. Of all of the negative (and usually baseless) sentiments expressed about UDC,
racial demagoguery has never been raised until now. This blatant
mischaracterization of UDC is hurtful, destructive and somewhat emblematic of the same
traits that Mr. Imhoff himself decries. Mr. Imhoff should set the record straight and
correct his highly inflammatory and irresponsible statement.
I am deeply offended by your characterization of Rev. Willie Wilson. Do
you know Rev. Wilson personally or just saying what you've heard others say about him? I
am a regular visitor to Rev. Wilson's church when I am in DC. You would see me as white. I
think of myself as a person of far African descent since humanity began in African. Rev.
Wilson is a strong man who speaks truth and lots of people have trouble with that from
white folks who are racist, don't know history or are asleep to black folks who are
self-hating. Is his message strong medicine for the disease of racism that has been eating
away this country for many years? Yes, and we need it. All of us.
Too bad for you that you don't know Rev. Wilson. He is a sweet, loving
person who embraces so many different people. The day I knew I could be part of Union
Temple was the Sunday Rev. Wilson invited a group of Native American leaders to the church
to talk about their leader Leonard Pelletier and their work to get him released from
prison. They left with a large envelope of money collected at the services and the love
and moral support of hundreds of people. Check yourself out. You sounded a lot like a loud
mouth demagogue to me.
[Mr. Battle, I'm afraid, misread my posting. It is Mayor Williams who
appointed Rev. Wilson to the UDC Board, and Mr. Omer who said that Rev. Wilson would
provide a needed perspective to the UDC Board. I'm the one saying that the perspective
that Rev. Wilson represents wouldn't be a valuable addition to the UDC board. Ms. Savo, on
the other hand, reads me correctly. Willie Wilson led protests against Asian shop owners
because he didn't like it that people from their countries people of their race
operated stores in neighborhoods in Ward 8. That's the poison of racism, not strong
medicine against it. As Jay Leno says after the audience boos, Yeah, right, like I'm
so out of line. Gary Imhoff]
Historical Accuracy in DC Movies
Greetings, all I just wanted to clarify a few things. After
arriving on Earth in 1951 and being promptly seized by the military and as-promptly
escaping, I was due to my extremely human appearance able to hide myself
within the population of your charming city. I took residence in a rooming house at 1468
Harvard Street NW, in a large and well built house run by a charming lady. But alas, the
native suspicion of her native Washingtonian son exposed me for the alien visitor I am,
and O learned too late how well organized the city can instantly become to ferret out the
alien. I was shot, died, and my body was busted out of jail by the invincible robot
policeman Gort, who resurrected me for long enough for me to tell you what I really think
of your kind. After we took off I was placed in stasis, returned to my home world and had
my ego transferred to a new corpus, and resumed my life in civilization.
Unfortunately, due to my expertise on your civilization and my ability to
move among you, I was returned to your world in 1995. Nostalgia drove me to seek out my
old haunts. The rooming house is still there, but the streets are no longer the safe and
leaf-shaded avenues of genteel hospitality. The park nearby where I once passed
some days baby-sitting the landlady's child and learning about your people is now a
trash-filled and rat-infested mess, with no children playing, but lots of people dealing
openly in sex and drugs. Stupidity (something my people have learned to live without) had
driven the capital of the most free and advanced culture on your planet into a state of
disrepair and disorganization which bespoke imminent collapse. I was shot at, not because
I was an alien but apparently because I was wearing the wrong color jacket, but my new
personal shield returned the bullet to its origin, and I walked away. Yet there have been
advances. You stand at the edge of harnessing compact fusion, and your mathematics have
advance to the point where soon you may develop contragravitic technology and hyperspace
access. Your rockets have never been better, and more of you have them and the same
may be said of your weapons of mass destruction. Your microbiology and microengineering
are advanced to the point where you can change the nature of life itself, but most
importantly, I am tasked to see if you have changed your own nature.
As I move among you, and listen to you speak, I see that most of you have
for your concerns only your greed, your status, acquisition of possession and destruction
of any who might impede attainment of your goals, whether or not you are actually enemies.
Almost a majority of your children are starving slowly in poverty, and are not educated to
rise from it. The mad wander through your streets, competing with vermin to feed from your
abundant waste food, and they are eating better than are many of your children. An entire
class of people, in the generations I was home, have been raised in a sort of idle slavery
and they know not how to fend for themselves, and yet you are turning them out of housing
with no training and no resources. With quiet weapons, you are fighting silent wars. And
you stand on the edge of space, and wish to come be among the established, peaceful,
generous, and extremely concerned elder civilizations. I am not alone in my watching, but
I alone of the watchers remember when life was beautiful, and had value to you. Human
nature can change, and can change quickly, but it appears that it has changed for the
worse. Can you change again, and change for the better? Time is running out unless you do.
We look through a glass but darkly:/ What we see is more colored by
our beliefs,/ than what we believe is colored by what we see.
I now live in Seattle after a lifetime in DC. I was just talking about
this with a friend here I am reading The Street Lawyer and get a huge kick
out of trying to figure out why in the heck they would say the largest homeless shelter in
DC is on 17th and L, etc., etc.? As for movies, what about the steps in The
Exorcist, or my personal favorite, Kevin Costner jumping from the Whitehurst Freeway
over a wall and smack into the middle of Georgetown Park. All the President's
Men was fun too, as were the scenes in Adams Morgan with Tom Cruise in A Few
Good Men. Thanks for the nostalgia.
My Favorite DC Film Moment
Nick Keenan, Shaw, email@example.com
Toward the end of the film Mars Attacks, DC has been reduced
to rubble by marauding Martians. The filmmakers shot the scenes in an area at the
ssouthern edge of Shaw along Massachusetts Avenue that conveniently had been reduced to
rubble in the riots of 1968 and never rebuilt. As a neighbor, I enjoyed the irony that the
filmmakers actually had to spend several weeks cleaning, painting and otherwise repairing
the area to improve it enough to look post-apocalyptic!
DC Movies Off Sets
Anne Drissel, firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1985 I moved to Santa Monica, CA, and lived briefly in a condo on the
oceanfront adjacent to the (in)famous Venice Beach. I still had my northern Virginia
license plates and inspection sticker on my sporty looking red car. At one point while
driving on the front street, I was stopped by a harried guy carrying a clipboard who told
me I was supposed to have turned in my license plate and sticker with the prop manager. I
looked around and realized I was driving through the middle of a set shortly after a
shoot that was evidently supposed to mimic the DC area! I never
did find out what movie was being shot then.
Best DC Movie, The American President
Dan Parker, DanDC68@hotmail.com
Annette Benning speaking with the president about the traffic problems:
someone should blow up Dupont Circle. In reality, someone should prohibit
people with suburban tags and out of state tags from driving the circles.
I was intrigued by Gene Hoffman's reference to naval JAG in Falls Church.
The program, whatever its other virtues, really messes up my sense of local geography. Bud
and his wife, who are low ranking officers, live in an extremely nice house in Rosslyn.
Mac, now a Colonel, has a deluxe apartment in Georgetown, while Harm has a restored
warehouse floor somewhere behind Union Station. All of the above, although unsettling,
isn't as bas as Efram Zimbalist's ride home in the FBI where he apparently zigzagged past
every recognizable landmark in no particular order.
Georgetown Missing Metro
Carl Bergman, email@example.com
Stephen Kurzman mentions several solid reasons for no Metro stop in
Georgetown, alignment problems, disruption of older buildings, etc. I clerked the
appointed Council's Transportation Committee during the planning for almost all of the
downtown stops. I, too, wanted to know why there was no stop. The answer was simple.
Metro's planners saw the system as a commuter's employment shuttle. Georgetown was not an
employment center and the city had no plans to make it one, therefore no stop. Even if
Georgetowners had opposed the line, the planners would have paid them heed. Hence, the
stops on the Mall and Arlington Cemetery were add ons, pushed by the Smithsonian and the
Park Service to their credit.
Metro wound up fitting well into much of DC, but not due to its planning
staff. Metro's DC configuration owes a great deal to the then city planning office. The
office set up a Transit Development Team that examined each station in detail for its
impact on its neighborhood. The team did brilliant work and managed to cajole Metro's
planning staff headed by Walter Fauntroy's brother into several significant
changes. For example, they fought Metro's plans to put hundreds of commuter parking lots
in DC neighborhoods. Metro made a strong case for hundreds of parking slots in DC, but
folded when team members noted that Metro planned not a single parking space in Arlington
Why No Metro Stop in Georgetown?
Harold Goldstein, firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course you won't find anything in the public record about Georgetown
residents not wanting a Metro stop; it was a very racist action and there could be no
public record. Metro planners were essentially told, off the record, that they were not to
consider any options through Georgetown. I worked for Doug Schneider, who became the first
Director of the DC Transportation Department (previously Department of Highways) in a
group of 5 preparing for the process. Doug, who died maybe 10 years ago, was quite clear
on what had happened and why that, as well as other less than solid planning decisions
Doug was, himself, not the most objective man in his decision making. He
hated cars and was responsible, when the nation went to right turn on red, for
putting up thousands of signs in DC that said "no turn on red." DC has more of
these signs still than any other city I know (except NYC) but the vast majority have been
removed (after threats by the DOT to remove funding).
Merry Christmas in themail
Lea Adams, email@example.com
Kudos: Mark Richards' piece on Washington (George) and Washington (DC) was
typical of his work, which is as historically accurate, informative and reader-friendly as
DC research gets. Moreover, it ties together the "intention of the Founders"
(which is amazingly revolutionary in its ability to reflect and embrace
today's realities) and the real needs of living people for the kind of leadership those
old white-wigged guys provided. Maybe if we had the same freedoms enjoyed by our peers in
the several States, we'd have better schools and local government services.
It's hard to expect our kids to live up to the lofty ideals our early Presidents had for
the capital district, when those ideals are not available to them, except in civic and
government high school texts and on C-Span. Keep up the wonderful work, Mark. The truth
about our past is an absolute prerequisite to building a sturdy bridge to the future.
Movies: I almost forgot there was a huge party scene in St.
Elmo's Fire which was filmed in a house at 30th & P Street in Georgetown, owned
at that time by Tony and Muffy Stout (their break-up a couple of years later was featured
on the cover of Washingtonian mag as DC's most expensive divorce).
Georgetown Metro Stop: People forget was a holy cow Georgetown became from
the '50s through the '80s, what with virtually every old-moneyed family or nouveau riche
wannabe in town living there. I remember the huge debate over selling DC Lottery tix
within the confines of historic GeorgeTowne, and how the Congress simply
overruled the city's interest in doing so. What's past is prologue. How about the corner
of Wisconsin Avenue and Calvert Street? It would access Georgetown easily by bus or a
ten-minute downhill walk, and break up the span of westernmost DC that now terminates with
the Tenleytown stop.
Holiday wishes for peace, prosperity and the love of friends and family to
all DC Watchers who correspond with themail. Happy Y2k (don't forget to practice your
rhythmic skills, however meager in case of an emergency affecting more modern
systems of communication, the drum will always work)!
The Millennium Extravaganza, December 31, 1999
Michael Karlan, firstname.lastname@example.org
December 31, 1999: The Millennium Extravaganza, A Celebration of the 20th
Century. Sponsored by the D.C. Society of Young Professionals and Event Concepts, Inc. At
the Wyndham City Center Hotel, 1143 New Hampshire Ave., N.W. Featuring five themed party
areas; the Washington Symphony Orchestra; three live bands; three djs; five hour premium
open bar; heavy hors d'oeuvres buffet; complete breakfast buffet; ample dance space,
seating areas and dining tables; midnight champagne toast and confetti explosion; private
room options; and one night discounted accommodations available. Tickets $199. To order,
or for more information, visit http://www.dcyoungpro.com,
E-mail email@example.com, or call (202)
I'm looking for a studio/one bedroom in the Mt. Pleasant/North or Mt.
Pleasant area for May 1. Can pay approximately $600.
Office Sublet Available in Downtown Silver Spring
Jon Katz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office sublet available in nice building in the greenest and most scenic
part of downtown Silver Spring. One-room office in trial law firm office suite. 1400
Spring Street, with a view of Woodside Park. Reasonable rent; month-to-month option
available; access to large conference room. Heat/air conditioning runs Monday through
Saturday. Building stays unlocked Saturdays through 1:00 p.m. Contact Jon Katz at
email@example.com, or (301) 495-4300.
I'm looking for a good roofer to properly fix my standing seam metal roof
on Capitol Hill.
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