Happy Holiday Season as Usual
Dear Holiday Revelers:
Life as usual is our motto here in the District. We shall not be
cowed by terrorists; we shall not allow them to alter the courses of our
lives. I intend to follow the example of the White House and Congress
this holiday season. I'll start by blocking off my street to through
traffic; as far as I can determine, I don't have to get permission from
the city government or the MPD to do this. Maybe the National Capital
Planning Commission will make me put up the barriers in the form of
oversized concrete flowerpots, but that's the only problem I foresee. A
line of yellow police tape should suffice to keep pedestrians off of the
sidewalk in front of the house. Next, I'm going to institute a few minor
changes in how guests to my house are greeted. Since I don't yet have
the technology for biometric identification, I think that presentation
of a photo ID will be sufficient this year. I don't expect the strip
searches and cavity searches to make anyone too uncomfortable. In fact,
on the model of airport passengers, I expect to get a lot of compliments
on how safe and secure my visitors feel because of them. My only problem
will be how to dispose of the nail clippers, penknives, cigar cutters,
knitting needles, and bobby pins that I confiscate.
As you can see, I contemplate making only minimal changes to my usual
routine. Carry on.
Re Annie McCormick's post in the last issue: Metro apparently chooses
to treat all holidays as alike. They obviously aren't; many people,
maybe half the work force, work on Veterans Day. Another Metro subject:
has anyone else noticed an increase in escalators' being out of service?
Several at Friendship Heights have been on and off for months. On Mon.,
November 19, at Dupont Circle, all three of the steep escalators on the
south end were broken, forcing everyone to walk up a long flight of
stairs or go far out of the way to Q Street. No warning while on the
train; just small hand-lettered signs. This kind of thing seems to be
happening more often.
Stop Red Light Cameras
James Treworgy, email@example.com
According to http://www.redmeansstop.com,
750 people per year are killed in the United States as a result of
running red lights. As a portion of the US's population, that puts DC's
share at about 1.25 people per year. I'm sure a better fact finder that
I can find out the true statistics for DC, but the point is, we have a
lot bigger fish to fry here on the crime front. While I don't think that
a problem should be ignored because it's a small problem, this is an
invasive, expensive, and barely legal solution to a small problem. I
also don't see how it actually solves anything, since the large number
of tickets being issued tells me that people are still running red
lights at these well-publicized camera locations.
Lockheed Martin expects to earn $44 million by 2004 on their red
light contract, I expect largely from District residents. I bet you can
think of something on which to spend $44 million that would improve
people's lives more than red light cameras. Just a few of our hundreds
of annual homicides prevented would be a better investment. Even if red
light running is a problem worth spending huge amounts of money dealing
with, it seems to me parking an old cruiser at each of these
intersections would be a better solution. It would cost a lot less, and
probably reduce other crime as well.
More on Infant Mortality
Nick Keenan, Shaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
When our twin sons were born, they were born in Virginia. Since we
have never had to register them with the DC government in any way, and
they were born too late for the last census, I can't imagine that they
were counted as DC births for the purposes of infant mortality
statistics. If the mortality rate is calculated by taking the number of
death certificates issued and dividing by the number of birth
certificates issued, the rate is going to be overstated if a substantial
number of babies who live in DC are born outside of the city.
How substantial is this? All I can offer is anecdotal evidence. The
reason our babies were delivered in Virginia is that very few hospitals
in the city have maternity wards, and our doctor would not deliver at
any of them. From speaking with other parents who have given birth
recently, it seems that this is not uncommon.
No Man’s Land
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
Here on Massachusetts Avenue north of American University, it's “No
Man's Land” on the unofficial border that separates Spring Valley from
AU Park. The DPW dutifully (and on schedule) have been sucking up the
leaves raked into the street in both these communities. Left out of this
suck up party, however, are all the homes on Mass. Ave. north of
American University. When I called the DPW to ask why, despite the fact
that we have an abundance of very large, very old trees, shedding leaves
that number in the millions, I was told that I would have to submit a
service request to get the leaves picked up. Alternatively, I could just
bag the leaves and put them out by the curb for pick up with the normal
Been there, done that. I regularly rake up the equivalent of more
than 100 seventy-five gallon sized plastic bags of leaves each fall. I
shred most of these to use as mulch and the shredding reduces the leaves
to about the twenty seventy-five gallon plastic bags. The normal trash
removal will take only five bags at a time. For those on Mass. Avenue
who bag their leaves unshredded it would take twenty weeks to get 100
bags picked up along with the regular trash pickup. I submitted, via
phone, a service request and will see if those leaves that I have raked
to the sidewalk side of the curb are ever picked up. No one can tell me
why the leaves are not sucked up on the Mass. Ave. cusp.
Once again, many folks are raking their leaves into the street. That,
in defiance of the DPW bulletin that asked for leaves to be raked to the
sidewalk side of the curb. In past years cars have driven over the piles
of leaves and park there. That has resulted in car fires as the very hot
catalytic converter ignites the dry leaves under the car.
Whose National Guard?
Nick Keenan, Shaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the past week or so there have been a couple of stories in the
Post about "the" National Guard assisting with security at the
Capitol. I found this curious, as there is no such thing as
"the" National Guard, but rather there are fifty-four National
Guards, one for each state, territory, and the District of Columbia.
Which National Guard is being called to action? The Post never said, but
a quick trip to CNN.com told me that it is in fact the District of
Columbia National Guard.
It seems to me that the most important fact in the story was left
out. The men and women providing security to the Congress are not
represented there. Yet they serve gladly. When the current crisis is
past, will the Congress remember the sacrifice and service of the
citizens of DC? If history is any guide, probably not.
Who Knows Where Our Police Officers Are?
John Fanning, JJFanning@aol.com
If we need more police officers, please hire them quickly. It's time
for change in our neighborhood. It was great to hear that the police
were visible in the Shaw neighborhood last Saturday afternoon, but where
were they when a car jacking took place on my block (1600 block of
Marion Street, NW), 11:45 p.m. Sunday night. The poor owner of the car
(2000 Jaguar) had his scull cracked open with a brick by the two
would-be car jackers, not to mention it took the ambulance forever to
arrive on the scene. I stopped counting after twelve minutes. Maybe
somebody can explain where the police were when three individuals were
stabbed early Monday evening, 7th and R Streets, NW, Shaw-Howard Metro.
Unfortunately, we needed them again early Tuesday night, at a shooting
at 8th and R Streets, NW, yes near the Metro again. I keep hearing City
Services are better or that they are getting better. Say what? As for
Mr. Leroy Thorpe, to whom I was first introduced during the 1990 Special
Election for Ward 2 City Council, many of you should still remember
Leroy Thorpe was on a bull horn near an elementary school at a voting
precinct in Shaw while class was in session shouting out over the bull
horn don't vote for Jim Zais because he's a faggot and Ward 2 doesn't
need any more faggots living in Ward 2 or representing us. Then there
were the comments that he made to Councilmember David Catania about his
sexuality at a city council public hearing on ANC issues and Leroy's
many other comments made towards others through the years. I know Leroy
Thorpe; I have had the privilege, sometimes not-so-privileged, to serve
with Leroy Thorpe on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2C for two years,
and, trust me, it was unbearable at times. Sadly to say folks, Mr.
Thorpe is currently my ANC Commissioner. So I can contest that I have
had a real good taste of Mr. Thorpe's verbal behavior for many years
myself. His most recent public comments regarding the attack on America
are just another testament that Mr. Thorpe has a problem. I am sorry,
but our neighborhood deserves better representation, not someone like
Mr. Thorpe, who is going to continue to verbally assault individuals
because of who or what they are. I know that my neighbors are smart
enough not to embrace this type of verbal behavior anymore from Mr.
Thorpe. We have an election next year, and I am truly hopeful that Mr.
Thorpe will not be reelected our ANC Commissioner, because this time my
neighbors and I will decide his political fate and on election day cast
a vote for new leadership.
Parking Meter Peril
Dan (not a happy) Parker, DanDC68@hotmail.com
A few years ago I groused about how so many parking meters had been
beheaded, putting into question the safety of parking in such locations,
no matter how central to town and well traveled. The city responded (not
due to me) with a fancy contract and new meters all around — superior
meters that take all sorts of silver change — Happy days!
My work has me constantly on the road. I try to park legally. I carry
lots of change and I always pay my parking tickets. I rely on parking
meters. Of late, however, I've been annoyed at the number of broken
meters. I thought they were repaired under a contract with some big
Lockheed-like company. At least twice a week I lose my money in a meter.
I have the “broken meter” department on speed dial and have to
listen to their long, long message before leaving my pertinent
information. Are there any city officials who can do a little better out
there? Oversight should be easy and we deserve better.
Parking Permit Information
Irina Livezeanu, email@example.com
I wonder if anyone knows what must a student do to get a parking
permit for Washington. I think students are exempt from necessarily
getting DC plates. But how do they get the official permit for parking?
Are CDC’s About to Change?
Malcolm L. Wiseman, Jr., firstname.lastname@example.org
In follow-up to Richard Layman's post about the fed's funding
efficacy with block grants to Community Development Corporations: one
CDC, Peoples Involvement Corporation (see projects at http://www.piccdc.org),
seems to be committed to my neighborhood and to much of the Georgia
Avenue corridor in District of Columbia.
In addition to providing support to business and social communities
in our neighborhoods, PIC rehabilitates old commercial properties from
dilapidated hulks into new, usable space. Among their projects: new
senior citizens' housing at the old Colony Theater, new Rittenhouse
Street condominium apartments, and new 150+ bed convalescence facility
opening soon. I hope funding agents make a fair appraisal of the output
of our CDC's and continue to amply support those like PIC.
[Every CDC has ardent defenders, which is part of what has made
reforming the system so difficult. Earlier this year, Milton Bailey,
then Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development,
suspended PIC because of its failure to file required financial reports
and to document its use of city funds. Bailey's attempt to enforce
accountability led to enormous political pressure to oust him from DHCD.
At a subsequent oversight hearing, Councilmember Adrian Fenty was highly
critical of PIC's performance and neglect of the derelict properties it
owns. — Gary Imhoff]
Eclectic Italian Restaurant
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
For those seeking good Italian food in an eclectic environment
(trolls on the wall) and in a small neighborhood place, I suggest
Listrani's on MacArthur Boulevard in the Palisades neighborhood. We have
been eating there occasionally over the last fourteen years. The place
changed hands about a year or more ago but seems to have retained the
quality and moderate prices that prevailed before the turnover. Service
was a bit slow the last time we were there.
During Restaurant Week, over one hundred DC restaurants offered
“special prix fixe” lunches and dinners for $20.01 for lunch
and $30.01 for dinner. Am I the only themail subscriber who finds this
appalling? $30.01 for dinner (plus tax & tip = $37.50 or more) is a
"special price"? These are obviously not restaurants for the
typical DC-area resident. Are they restaurants for the typical themail
subscriber? How many of us could afford to go to any of these
restaurants more than once in a month, let alone seven nights in a row?
Is there a list I can subscribe to for people with annual incomes under
Cannibalism Is Most Definitely Not Vegetarianism
Mark Sutton, firstname.lastname@example.org
However, if you do relish eating dead, tortured, and most likely
diseased animals, it may be consistent with your own preferences. Didja
know that some eighty percent of all chickens killed for your food have
Here's something else to think about when you're shoving stuffing
where the sun don't shine on a turkey: “Each year at Thanksgiving, the
US president and vice-president pardon a turkey and a vice turkey. This
is a nice gesture, but after the turkeys are sent to a small farm, they
die from heart attacks or lung collapse within months because their
hearts and lungs can't support the bulk. Turkeys today grow so fast
[hormones] that they find it impossible to mate naturally. They simply
cannot get close enough to physically manage. As a result, all 300
million turkeys born annually in the US are the result of an act of
artificial insemination.” (as quoted from the Washington Post
by John Robbins, “The Food Revolution.”)
FYI, [I've been] eschewing meat, fowl, and fish for twenty years and
damn proud of it. For some excellent information on vegetarianism, start
where you can begin to understand that a plant-based diet is nowhere
near as degrading to the environment, availability of general resources,
and human health as a meat-based one is. Bon appetit!)
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Oyster Bilingual Elementary School's Annual Bilingual Holiday Book
Fair, December 3rd-8th
Nialle Condensa, NCondensa@aol.com
Don't miss this exciting Bilingual Book Fair coming to Oyster
Elementary School (2801 Calvert Street, NW) just in time for the holiday
season. This book fair features wonderful books in English and Spanish
from over 100 publishers. Hours are Monday, December 3, from 1 p.m. to 7
p.m., Tuesday through Friday (December 4 through 7) from 8 a.m. to 7
p.m., and Saturday, December 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more
information, call 671-3111. Ask for Laura Kleinmann.
TasteDC.com’s Late November-January Calendar of Wine and Food
Charlie Adler, wine@TASTEDC.COM
1) November 27, Tuesday, “France vs. California vs. Australia Wine
Tasting Showdown,” Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 2121 P Street, NW. Valet
parking, Metro Dupont Circle (Red Line), 7-7:30 p.m. reception; 7:30-9
p.m. tasting, $60 per person. So who makes the best wine in the world,
is it France, California, or Australia? In this event, you choose the
winners! Join TasteDC.com and Ann Berta, wine columnist for Washingtonian
Magazine, as we taste 12 different wines in 4 tasting categories.
You won't be able to cheat because all bottles will be covered and you
vote for your favorites! We'll choose only wines that retail for less
than $40/bottle and are readily available in the local market for
purchase. 2) November 29, Thursday, “Embassy of the Republic of South
Africa: Wine Tasting and Authentic Cuisine,” 3051 Massachusetts
Avenue, NW. 7-9 p.m., $55 inclusive, limited street parking available
next to the Italian Embassy on Whitehaven Street. Join us at the truly
lovely Embassy of South Africa for this occasion! The wines of South
Africa are the great value phenomenon of the decade. We'll taste over 20
select South African wines produced by 7 different wineries, all wines
to be paired with authentic cuisine — sausages, samosas, and other
native delicacies. Some of the wineries include McGregor, Porterville,
Ruitersvlei Estate and Darling, more to come! All wines at this event
will be available for order at a special discounted rates for your
Holiday gifts. Please note: this event is walk-around/reception style
(no seating). 3) December 5, Wednesday, “Wine Basics 101,” Radisson
Barcelo Hotel. 7-7:30 p.m. reception, 7:30-9 p.m. tasting, $40 per
person. Washington, D.C.'s most popular wine tasting: over 3,000 people
have attended this event in our 4 year history: learn how to order wine
in a restaurant, determine basic wine styles and varietals, pair wine
and food and more! 4) December 6, Thursday, “Embassy of Australia:
Celebration of Australian Wine and Food,” Australian Embassy, 1601
Massachusetts Avenue, NW, limited street parking available, nearest
Metro Dupont Circle, Red Line, 6:30-8:30 p.m., $65 per person,
inclusive. Taste incredible Australian Boutique wines imported by
Country Vintners for The Australian Premium Wine Collection and Scott
Street Portfolio and enjoy a wonderful assortment of authentic
Australian cuisine including lamb, seafood and a wide array of cheeses.
These are often hard-to-find wines, but we will not only let you taste
them, but you will also be able to order them for holiday purchases at a
special discount! More information on our menu soon. Please note: this
event is walk-around/reception style (no seating). 5) December 12,
Wednesday, “Best of the Best with Ann Berta,” Radisson Barcelo
Hotel, 7-7:30 p.m. reception, 7:30-9 p.m. tasting, $60 per person. Come
celebrate the great wines of 2001 with Ann Berta, wine columnist for Washingtonian
Magazine. Very little needs to be said here — 2001 had some
excellent wines and we'll enjoy them together as the year winds down.
This event is for beginners as well as knowledgeable wine aficionados;
everyone should taste and savor the year's best! 6) December 13,
Thursday, “Mimi's American Bistro Holiday Dinner,” Mimi's American
Bistro, Residence Inn, 2120 P St., NW, WDC, Garage Parking, Metro Dupont
Circle (Red Line), 7:00-9:30 p.m. Seated dinner (family-style), $55, tax
and tip inclusive. Join us for a holiday family-style dinner with wine
with an unusual twist — all of Mimi's wait staff will entertain us
with cabaret-style renditions of Broadway hits and other amusements.
This dinner will include many of Mimi's Mediterranean specialties and a
variety of desserts. The wines come from many of TasteDC.com's past
events so expect everything from Austrian Gruner Veltliners to New
Zealand Sauvignon Blancs! This is a seated event with lots of food,
wines on the table, and great entertainment to boot. 7) January 14,
Monday, “Joseph Drouhin 4-Course Wine Maker's Dinner at Olives
Restaurant,” Olives Restaurant, 1600 K Street, NW, three blocks from
Farragut North Metro Stop (Red Line), valet parking available, 7-9:30
p.m. seated dinner, $115, tax and tip inclusive. Join TasteDC.com as we
are privileged to have Laurent Drouhin, currently a Managing Director of
the eponymous company, on his national tour of America as he showcases
some of the top current releases from this venerable portfolio. Since
1880, Maison Joseph Drouhin has built a reputation for wines that
reflect their individual terroir and vintage. This classic wine producer
strives for wines of breed, finesse and elegance. The chef for this
evening's meal is Olive's Executive Chef Steve Mannino who has received
critical acclaim from Food and Wine Magazine (Best New Restaurant,
2000), Gourmet Magazine, FoodARts, Washingtonian and the Washington
Post. The meal will consist of an hors d'oeuvres reception followed
by a 4-course meal all paired with the wonderful wines of Joseph Drouhin.
More information on the menu and wines soon! Please Note: This is a
seated event. 8) January 15, Tuesday, “Cocktails 101 — Hot Drinks
for Cold Nights,” Ozio Restaurant and Lounge, 1813 M St., NW. Metros:
Farragut North or Dupont Circle (Red Line), 7-9 p.m., $40 per person.
All new mixed drinks. This event always sells out! Join Ozio's
experienced bartender who will mix, entertain and serve you samples of
10 mixed drinks for Winter weather! Light appetizers will also be served
such as fried calamari, sesame chicken tenders, and baby eggplant pizza.
You will also learn the basics of setting up your own home bar, secrets
of the trade, and a whole lot more! Don't forget, each attendee gets a
sample of all 10 drinks, it's included in the price of the event.
Reservations, click on https://labyrinth.dgsys.com/clients/tasteusa.com/order.cgi?X_DC
or phone 333-5588.
CLASSIFIEDS — VOLUNTEERS AND DONATIONS
You can become a mentor for motivated DC Public High School students.
Help a high school student succeed. Strengthen our community. Make a
difference in a young person's life. To volunteer contact Mentors, Inc.,
at 783-2310 or http://www.mentorsinc.org.
Be a mentor. Change two lives!
Matthew Kessler, email@example.com
I have some eyeglasses which I no longer use. I would like to donate
them. Does anyone know of any eyeglass recycling organizations in the
United Way (NCA) September 11th Funding
Dayne Walling, Dayne.Walling@dc.gov
September 11th Fund Greater Washington Area Application for 2nd Round
Funding, United Way of the National Capital Area. The deadline is
Monday, November 26th — no later than 5 p.m. In this second round of
funding approximately $1 million in grants will be awarded to support
the efforts of local nonprofit organizations to respond to the needs of
victims and address the broader effects of the crisis. Nonprofit
organizations (United Way Campaign Participation is not a requirement)
are eligible. For further information and for application materials, go
Also contact United Way headquarters at 488-2125.
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