The latest fad among spammers, in an attempt to make their E-mails seem
more legitimate, is to begin their messages with a line like, I saw your address at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/2000/00-09-24.htm,
and thought you might be interested in this exciting opportunity to make money at home in
your spare time. As you probably realize, no live person actually saw your address
it was just collected by an automated spider that crawls the web
gathering all the E-mail addresses it finds.
I don't mind unwanted junk advertising E-mails, but then I don't mind junk
snail mail, either. However, some other people, among them some themail subscribers, hate
spam. If you hate spam, you're out of luck, since you're going to get it whatever you do;
but there are some things you can do to reduce it. First, never reply to spam mail, and
never ever write to the address it gives that's supposed to get you off the list
any reply just confirms that the spam reached a live E-mail address. Second, spammers get
your address whenever you post anything public to a newsgroup, bulletin board, chat
room, or to a web-based discussion group like themail. When you write to a public forum,
you can disguise your address in a way that people can still reach you, but automated
spiders probably won't. For example, you can write your address as email@example.com, or as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately, some real people won't get the idea, and will try to write to your
disguised address and some smarter spiders will learn to correct commonly used
A third, better idea is to get a free web-based E-mail address from a
company like Hotmail, Netscape, Excite, Yahoo, or dozens of others, and to use it for all
your public correspondence, reserving your private E-mail address only to write to friends
and your company E-mail address only for business. This isn't perfect, either; you still
have to check your free account for any real, non-spam mail, and your other addresses will
eventually get on some spam lists anyway. But it will help. Fourth, you can set up
anti-spam software go to a site like http://www.download.com
and search on the word spam to find several examples and set up the
filters in your E-mail program. Unfortunately, if you set up rules to filter out all of
those messages about money and loans, you'll never get that E-mail from your former friend
saying, I need your address to send you the money from that loan you gave me twenty
years ago and if you filter out all those messages about sex, you'll never
know what you're missing.
Whats in a Smell? Brush Up Your
Charlie Wellander, jfa-cwr@CapAccess.org
Demonstrating the difficulty of ascertaining the exact form of DC's name
or a familiar quotation, a recent correspondent did not quite nail the quote. It is:
What's in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as
sweet. Romeo and Juliet, II.ii (not ...smell the same.).
But attar of roses is not often what I whiff around here. Shakespeare's
slightly smelly sayings have more olfactory affinity with DC politics:
A very ancient and fish-like smell. The Tempest, II.ii
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds. Sonnet 94
...this foul deed shall smell above the earth Julius Caesar, III.i
O! My offense is rank, it smells to heaven. Hamlet, III.iii
Tenleytown Towers To Councilmember Kathy
Stephanie Faul, email@example.com
Dear Councilmember Patterson: Thank you for your efforts against the
broadcasting behemoth under construction at Tenleytown.
The continued proliferation of electronic towers at Tenley Circle needs to
be stopped. While the health effects of such facilities are not proved, the practical
problems associated with broadcast transmitters are easily documented by the experiences
of people who live nearby. As a child I recall listening to WTOP on the movie projectors
at Alice Deal Junior High. As an adult I listen to WRQX on my telephone and, until I
replaced it, on my answering machine. (I can't hear the station that interferes with my
computer modem, but there certainly is one.) My car's remote keyless entry system is
useless its weak transmitter is no match for the overpowering signals from the
towers. Ironically, even listening to the radio is problematic: Reception is limited to
the few stations actually transmitting in the neighborhood, since the strength of their
signal interferes with more distant broadcasts. Adding new broadcast towers will only
amplify these problems and will further limit neighbors' ability to use common electronic
devices. Please keep working to reduce broadcasting activity in the Tenleytown area.
The Price of Residing
William M. Mazer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Residence prices are zooming out of sight. Every few years, a
realtor-driven buying frenzy occurs in DC, particularly in Georgetown. Multi-bedroom boxes
are now being bid in the many million dollar range, often double the prices of even a few
months ago. But it is my feeling that we are at the edge of a precipice because oil prices
are essentially out of control. Even if current politically driven oil price steadying and
reversals occur in the short term, a retrenchment is bound to occur in the longer term in
the concept of how many thousands of square feet of living space are required per person
in order to assure a minimum quality of life. Prices of other energy products, such as
natural gas, will follow oil prices.
The buyers of these residential multi-bedroom, sewing room, laundry room,
dressing room, utility room, library, den, and football field-sized entrance foyer
monsters may find that they bought at the peak. Holding on will require shutting off and
leaving unheated what has suddenly become superfluous space, with no buyers in sight. A
few months ago I took the Washington Post to task for poor mouthing the sizes of
the lockhouses now being rented out along the canal. Living space per family occupant in
the hundred square feet range were apparently inadequate. DC's little one and two bedroom
houses will be our future premium residences.
James Treworgy, email@example.com
In regard to auto inspections when renewing for two years versus one and
why renewal costs $75: first, inspections are every two years no matter what. Inspecting
your car is basically unrelated to your registration that is, it's entirely
possible to end up on a totally different inspection cycle than registration if, for
example, you take your car off the road for a while and don't inspect it, but keep your
registration valid. Until about a year ago they were required every year, but all
inspection stickers issued now last for two years.
As for the fees, the annual registration cost is $65. You are probably
paying $75 because a residential parking sticker costs $10 and they automatically bill you
for that with the registration renewal. However, this is not required (but probably a good
investment) I seem to remember being asked if I wanted one when I used to live on a
zoned street and registered my car. On the other hand, those of us who currently live on
unzoned streets cannot acquire one at all, which is a rather annoying law, since there are
very few unzoned streets in DC and it means I can't legally park anywhere near my house
except the actual block on which I live (or other unzoned areas in DC) for more than two
hours. In effect, my parking privileges are no different than any other car in the United
States' in DC even though I have DC plates. But that's another story.
Car Renewal/Car Inspections
Rick Otis, firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to Ann Carper's E-mail about the differences in registration
fees: my understanding is that DC charges based upon the weight/size of the vehicle. So if
you own a large old clunker from the '70s (or a new Caddy), you'll pay more than for a
brand new mini.
[The DMV's site doesn't have the information on it, but I think James
Treworgy is correct, and basic registration for cars in DC is $65 for any private
automobile. While some other states, such as New York, do have a sliding scale based on
car weight, my heavy, real steel, 1973 clunker costs just $65 here. Gary Imhoff]
A question about DC car inspections I am hoping the readership can answer.
I just purchased a used car in DC. The previous owner just had the car inspected and the
car has a DC window inspection sticker valid through 2002. The "new" DC
stickers, however, now have the car tag number on them. Does this mean that I must have
the car reinspected? Seems ludicrous that these types of inspections should be tied to
ownership as opposed to the car itself (of course I paid an inspection fee when I
purchased the car). Any ideas? Do I have to have the car reinspected? (And, more
importantly, do I have to go to the DC inspection station to have it done?)
Digital Parking and Registration (Update)
Andrew Aurbach, email@example.com
I filled out the on-line vehicle registration and residential parking
renewal forms on September 2, 2000. I received the license plate stickers on September 23,
2000. I still haven't received the residential parking permit. At least I can drive it, if
I can't park it.
DC Department of Motor Vehicles
Ed Kane, ERMK@aol.com
I went today (Saturday) to the DC Dept. of Motor Vehicles office at 616 H
Street, NE, and was well served. The office was crowded (maybe Saturday is not the best
day to go), but the staff was both polite and efficient. Total time spent to get a copy of
my vehicle registration certificate: 30 minutes. Not bad!
Did anyone else miss their recycling pick-up today (Wednesday)? There has
been no explanation yet from DPW.
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
An article in last Wednesday's Northwest Current echoed
complaints from AU Park residents about rowdy behavior by AU students. The article quoted
an AU spokesperson as saying that student behavior off campus was not the responsibility
of the school. That, folks, is definitely the wrong answer. That's equivalent to a parent
saying that he has no responsibility for the actions of his children when they are away
from their home. AU takes in a large Freshman class each year recognizing that many will
drop out in the first semester. Most of these Frosh are fresh out of the box teeny boppers
and many are not necessarily here to really focus on their school work. Because the school
accepts so many new students, they cannot house many of these students on campus. Everyone
has a horror story about living near a student rental house. A lot of these
first time college students, and particularly those who seek to live off campus, are not
yet committed to or focused on why they are attending a university. They are here only to
party big time.
AU should recognize that they have some children who are not
mature enough to handle the challenges of going to a university and AU should accept
responsibility for seeing that the behavior of these students conforms to the accepted
behavior of the neighborhoods that the students pass through and live near. It is surely
the undergrad students that are causing the problems since those who are attending the AU
Law school on Massachusetts Avenue, just a chip shot from my home, are quite well behaved
and causing no noticeable problems. The time to address and correct rowdy behavior is
right at the beginning of the term. AU should step up to that.
Three Missives in One
Ken Katz, Forrest Hills, email@example.com
So many things, so few bytes. (1) Low Voter Turn-Out: Ummm, I don't know
about others, but as a registered democrat in Ward 3 I had NO read 0
competitive races. The ONLY reason to vote would be (1) to write someone in I thought
better in the one meaningful race (at-large council), and the two un-meaningful races, or
(2) to show that I voted. Well friends, this is no more of an election than that in the
old USSR when there is only one name on the ballot. Importantly of course, the means to
this end were different for us than for those Soviet citizens. Now, for those of any
political denomination residing in other wards, if there was a competitive race then, yes,
you should have voted. Or if you had someone to write in, you should have voted. But I for
one am fed up with people blindly and stupidly touting the recent turnout as if it were
some meaningful measurement. Now, the low turnout in November, that they can complain
(2) Infill: it is a word, not a concept, and definitely not a
substitute for planning. Whether a particular instance of infill is good or
bad has nothing to do with a concept called infill; it only has to do with
local planning and city-wide planning. It is certainly true that the metro region would
benefit from more people living in the city, as would the city itself. But given that one
of the hallmarks of D.C. is that many of the residential neighborhoods are tree-lined and
not built-up to within an inch of their lives very distinctive relative to most
Atlantic/mid-Atlantic cities well, you can follow the point. Anyway, what is
lacking for sure is local and city planning. Generally speaking (or typing as the case may
be), one can surely see why from a developer/builder's point of view that
infilling on Connecticut Avenue in NW is a good thing. However, from the
city's point of view, surely we would be better served by attracting/directing this growth
to vacated parts of the city or those that by all rights should benefit. That is, if you
prefer meaningless argot, refill before infill.
(3) Thank you, Wilson High Students: For (I think) the second year,
Tenleytown Metro station has been brightened mightily by three artworks depicting the
leonine aspects of metro travel. Always brings a smile to my face and spirit.
David Pansegrouw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps Sharon Cochran didn't read themail of September 10 wherein Leila
Afzal's post tells of her direct experience with overcrowded classes in DC public schools.
While Ms. Afzal's post is the comment in themail that I was responding to, it is not the
only account of classes larger than stated goals for class size that I have read lately. I
also add my experience of being a new parent in the DCPS; my son just entered pre-K in a
DCPS. His class looks to me to be crowded and his school does not seem to suffer from
abundant unused space.
Ms. Cochran notes that 6 to 9 year olds are a growing population and that
she hopes classes can be added for them. Gotta have some space to add classes. A lot can
be done with unused school properties other than sell them, as other posters to themail
have pointed out, that can result in income to DCPS and keep the properties in the system.
I am not saying that no properties should be sold but rather that selling of DCPS
properties needs to be examined extremely closely; the cost of replacement is far greater
than income from sales. A previous poster to themail pointed out the much smaller
footprint of city schools versus suburban schools one way to counter that is a
student population with less density per school. Also, an unintentional benefit of schools
is that they provide open space I think this is worth thinking about when infill
issues are discussed.
I firmly believe that a good school system is what will keep people in the
city. Younger single people have a way of getting together and kids result, so I am
skeptical of the argument that younger people moving into the city don't have kids so
schools aren't needed. Counties such as Howard and Loudin are adopting their own slow
growth policies, making infill more and more of a reality whether you like what gets built
in the city or not. As for myself, I have a four-year old who has just entered the DC
schools and a three-month old who will follow her older brother. For my wife and me,
school quality is a central issue.
Selling Surplus Schools
Richard Layman, Northeast Washington, email@example.com
I am all for full funding of DC schools. However, I believe that
enrollment figures reported for DC schools are suspect. As Ms. Cochran points out, Census
figures show that the population of school-aged children has significantly declined over
the last 10 years. But reported school enrollments haven't declined significantly. George
Grier, a locally-based demographer, did a study on this many years ago that was reported
in the Washington Post (note: this is from memory) and he posited, based on
Census figures, that the student enrollment should be something like 67,000 students when
enrollments greater than 78,000 students were reported. (Actually, here is the cite: D.C.
STUDY CHALLENGES SCHOOL ENROLLMENT DATA/ CENSUS FIGURES SHOW 13,000 FEWER STUDENTS By Sari
Horwitz, Washington Post, Friday, April 28, 1995.) A study commissioned by the
D.C. school system has found that the District's schools may have 13,000 fewer students
than school officials have reported for four years.)
Other reporting at the time in the City Paper said that anecdotally people
believed that enrollment figures weren't accurate because when they visited various
classrooms the number of students present in various classes was extremely low. Then, in
the last round of school closings, I remember (a) a high school being closed that had an
enrollment of less than 700 students; (b) a junior high closed with an enrollment of about
190 students; and a proposal for selling and rebuilding the elementary school at (I think)
22nd Street, NW, between K and L, and building for an enrollment of 250 students. Now,
charter school enrollments should have some impact as well. I still believe, as a result,
that enrollment figures reported for DC schools are inflated.
Empty decaying school buildings are a drag on neighborhoods and should be
converted to something viable. And other properties may offer other higher, best
uses given other needs for improving neighborhoods. Although, I must say, I liked
the idea that someone suggested of the City benefiting long term through leasing of such
property. However, it is likely that the average developer wouldn't want to deal with the
bureaucracy of a property encumbered by the government.
[George Grier's 1998 testimony to Congress on DC school population figures
is available at http://www.dcwatch.com/schools/ps980313.htm.
D.C. Voting Rights in the Presidential Debates
Joshua S. Wyner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please take a few minutes to contribute to an effort to get the issue of
representation in Congress for D.C. residents on the agenda for the Presidential debates.
To do this, (1) go to www.Debates.org, (2) click on suggest topics for the
debates, (3) begin to fill out the survey, (4) choose the categories
government or Domestic Programs and Policies, (5) choose
other when asked for subcategories within those categories, (6) when asked
what the other issue is that you would like to see addressed, type in something like
full representation in Congress for residents of the District of Columbia, (7)
when asked if you would like a particular question asked, type in a specific question
related to D.C. representation, such as if you support the right of every American
to participate in our democracy, do you support full representation in Congress for the
500,000 plus residents of the District of Columbia?
Please E-mail this to as many people as you can around the country and ask
that they do the same. The debates are an excellent way to raise awareness about this
on-going civil rights violation.
A September Expedition to the Poles
Charlie Wellander, jfa-cwr@CapAccess.org
And then a November expedition to the polls. I am seriously considering
voting, in each contest, for any name that I have not seen smeared across the landscape.
Ah, I think, But if they were elected, and cozied to the money, then we'd see those
names blighting the prospect. Still, perhaps worth a try. To Pete Ross, who asked
for the address of a violation as of September 23, the very short block of
Connecticut Avenue between Dupont Circle and Q Street has 24 of your posters. Even if
three signs are one sign (hmm, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, oh no, we're back in
Orwell's Oceania again), as you claim for your triples, then you have put up 8
signs in one block. Clearly, at least one side of that block has more than
three signs and is in violation of 24 DCMR 108.10. On the other hand, since your election
is over, I assume you will be taking down all of your posters soon. Meanwhile, the
innumerable and egregious violations by your erstwhile opponent will remain on poles long
into December, or even the next millennium.
Several times each week, I walk in the edge city of Bethesda. It's a
different world. Posters on public space are prohibited, the few that appear are removed,
violators are fined. Here in DC, we have a web site http://cleancity.washingtondc.gov
which under Legislation suggests that we keep checking there for the latest
information on the Street Sign Regulation Amendment Act of 1999 which
...will come before the City Council in 1999. Oh my, that soon?
Watching the summer Olympics used to be exciting. Tonight (Saturday) I
turned on NBC to watch mountain biking and saw about 30 seconds of biking and then,
PRESTO, another profile! Perhaps NBC could devote one of their cable channels to be no
sports and all personal profiles and leave the actual sports on their regular broadcast
channel. I find the coverage of the games to be most disappointing. I would love to know
what audience they are targeting by their devotion to so many extraneous stories of yet
another athlete overcoming yet another difficult period in their lives (before their
million dollar endorsement from NIKE).
Great, Except for D.C.
Mike Livingston, email@example.com
Jessica Catlin writes of the Post: You get one of the best
newspapers in the country for far less than other major newspapers charge their local
readers. It may be, for some purposes, one of the best papers in the country, but it
is one of the worst in the District of Columbia. Only in recent months, with the welcome
promotion of Sewall Chan to the D.C. Council beat, has the Post begun to compete
with the Common Denominator, Loose Lips, and the Current and InTowner
in covering local news. (Even the Washington Times has done better, though I only
read it when someone leaves a copy on the Metro.) Despite its special-interest
orientation, the Washington Business Journal is more informative about D.C.
affairs than the Post is. I agree that the Post is a bargain, but only
for national news and features; for coverage of the District, it's only worth a quarter on
On Friday, September 29, the Democracy Seven go on trial for
standing up to congressional interference with the decisions of our elected city council
and our elected mayor standing up loudly, in the visitors' gallery of the House of
Representatives. Last year, the Democracy Duo merited about 75 words in the
Crime & Justice column of the Post's Metro section; let's see, a
week from Saturday, if the Post has developed any sense of local news judgment.
Cost of Newspapers
E. James Lieberman, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Post can charge 25 cents because of advertising. This is a
mixed blessing. The news hole (yes, that's what it's called) is much smaller
than in Europe (even in the International Herald Tribune, a US paper sold abroad)
where they don't have paper to burn. Ad rates are much higher there. If the Post
charged 50 cents and doubled ad rates our recycling system and land fills would benefit,
not to mention our forests. I suppose the same logic applies to the City Paper,
but it's already free.
8th Annual Taste of Georgetown
Bob Andrew, RDAndrew@erols.com
Grace Church will hold its annual Taste of Georgetown with
sample tastes from over twenty local restaurants, silent auction, and a 30-foot climbing
wall. The event will be at 1041 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday,
September 30. Proceeds support worthy local charities. For more information, see http://www.gracedc.org/TOG8.htm.
SOS on Tenleytown Tower
Jo Cooper, CooperJM@aol.com
Community meetings to stop the tower! Tuesday, September 26, 7:00 to 8:45
p.m., Tenley Friendship Library, 2nd floor meeting room, Albermarle and Wisconsin Avenue.
Friday, September 29, 7:30 p.m., St. Columba's Church Great Hall, 42nd and Albermarle
(with apologies to our neighbors who will be observing Rosh Hashana. This was the only
additional time/space available that we could locate next week in the area on such short
notice, and we are in a serious time crunch.)
Time is of the essence! The TV tower is very quickly being constructed on
41st Street in Tenleytown, and is going to be one and a half times as tall as the
Washington Monument, right in your backyard! Come meet with your neighbors about this
blight and possible health hazard being constructed right in the middle of our community.
At each meeting, we will be screening an hour-long video entitled Broadcast Blues, a
one-hour documentary video by independent filmmaker and Emmy award winner Len Aitken,
about efforts of the community of Lookout Mountain, Colorado, the site of most of Denver's
broadcast towers, to challenge the erection of a similar broadcast/telecommunications
tower, and follow the screening with a group discussion. Contact Jo Cooper, 966-3202, or
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE
Washington Wizards Tickets
Horace Howells, email@example.com
I have gone and done it again, I renewed my Washington Wizards season
tickets. I wasn't going to, but after they offered me two seats in section 111 row E, I
couldn't resist. The seats are five rows off the floor directly across from the Wizards
bench (probably just inside the foul line). Having just had a second child, there is no
way I am going to be able to make it to all of the games, so I am looking for folks
willing to buy partial plans and single game tickets. Obviously the more games you take
the better your choice of games will be. And please, don't E-mail me if you are only
interested in the Lakers game.
CLASSIFIEDS HELP WANTED
Web Designer Needed/DC Salary and Pittsburgh
Jeffrey Itell, firstname.lastname@example.org
A hot Internet company desperately seeks a web designer in Pittsburgh.
Real money, stock options, free cruises, and pastry chef on premises. All these benefits
and more can be yours if you, your friend, your friend's friend, or a person you don't
care for produce great web designs for Java/Flash web sites. Please forward resumes and
inquires to me, your former kibitzer, at email@example.com,
Non-Profit Administrative Assistant
Susie Cambria, firstname.lastname@example.org
Non-profit children's advocacy organization is seeking applications for
the position of administrative assistant. Excellent verbal and written communication
skills required. Proficiency in Microsoft Word and Access required. Salary in mid to upper
20's with excellent benefits. To apply, send or fax resume to DC Action for Children, 1616
P Street NW, Suite 420, Washington, DC 20036. Fax 234-9108. No calls please.
Register for DC ACT's second annual conference, Our Children, Our Future,
on November 9, 2000! Subscribe to DC ACT's bi-weekly legislative and information alert
E-mail me today!
I'm considering renting a car and driving (with stops just to refuel) from
DC through Pittsburgh and Cleveland to Detroit and back during the next couple of weeks.
If you'd like to go I estimate total expenses at $150-60 (car rental for four days plus
gas & tolls). It's a 9-hour drive. I'll do all the driving if you share expenses.
E-mail me directly for more details.
Looking for a loving and reliable child care provider? Our terrific
babysitter is now able to take another child, since our son is starting school. She
currently cares for a 2-year old in the family's Brookland home from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00
p.m. For more information, call Suzanne or Ed at 832-0589.
Atlantic City Driving Directions Sought
Jon Katz, email@example.com
What is the quickest way to drive to Atlantic City, NJ, from Washington,
D.C.? Route 40 looks like the shortest distance, but I was wondering whether I should
connect to the Atlantic City Expressway at some point. Also, how many hours should the
ride take on a weekday morning (going close to the speed limit)?
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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and plain text versions of themail, use the subscription form at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/subscribe.htm.
To unsubscribe, send an E-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org
with unsubscribe in the subject line. Archives of past messages are available
All postings should also be submitted to email@example.com, and should be about life,
government, or politics in the District of Columbia in one way or another. All postings
must be signed in order to be printed, and messages should be reasonably short one
or two brief paragraphs would be ideal so that as many messages as possible can be
put into each mailing.