City Desk

Neighborhood News Roundup: Shuck and Jive Edition

A regular summary of irregular news and notes from neighborhood blogs and email lists around the District.

Neighborhood News Roundup Neighborhood Poets Society: Someone in Brookland is upset about the coziness of local officials, writing, “All one has to do is go down to the Office of Planning and/or to the Zoning Commission and watch the way these folks shuck and jive with each other. They are too friendly, too close, and too familiar. There is also a revolving door between the city administration and the builder/developer community that bears scrutiny as well.” He goes on to add that a recent neighborhood political battle will “shin[e] a bright light into dark corners”—“ If, there has been chicanery at work ... it will now be found.” This rant apparently inspired the Brookland poets to come out of their own dark corners. Writes one resident, “Remember Steptoe and her unwavering support of 15 of her neighbors against most of the rest of her constituency. The enemy outnumber them a paltry twenty or so to one, good odds indeed! For she didn't wish tribute or song. No monuments, no poems of war and valour. Her wish was simple: To reign in rapacious developers. To remonstrate the shucking and jiving of zoning commissions was her hope,” concluding with, “Haroo! Give thanks, Brooklanders! To Steptoe, and the brave 200 Footers! To victory!” Another neighbor responded with her own poem: “cute... I like poetry too... here ya' go. ODE TO A WARRIOR. I have a lot of chutzpah /And clever, witty barbs. / I sling them and assail them / I hoist them near and far. / It matters not that I / Never seem to leave my bunk / Or extend any tirades directly / For safety, instead I slunk. / Still, I am quite relentless / In the bombastic attacks I spew. / As long as my fight is behind an e-device then, / Watch out! This skud's for you!” The neighborhood critics’ verdict: “Well played! But you are no Lucille Clifton.”

Friendly Neighborhood Robocall: A member of the Chevy Chase is annoyed at DC Water’s robocalls. The good news: DC Water is holding a series of town hall meetings to discuss “environmental programs, future water and sewer projects and issues facing local communities.” The bad news: DC Water will be robocalling anyone who has contacted DC Water in the past year. The disgruntled member of the Chevy Chase email list writes, “You read that correctly: If you've contacted DC Water before by phone, DC Water's General Manager will 'personally invite' you to these meetings you via a ‘robocall.’”He goes on to explain, “I don't want a personal robocall invitation to a meeting from DC Water's General Manager. Or any other kind of robocall about non-emergencies from DC Water for that matter. DC Water should stop this bad idea before it starts.” A DC Water representative chimed in to clarify that this is only one prong of a multifaceted publicity campaign, adding, “We used this technique for the first time last year and had record attendance in almost every ward, including Ward 3, with very few complaints.” Though the robocall is being billed as a personal invitation, another Chevy Chase resident seems to take  issue with the strategy: “Since when is any robocall personal?”

Ginger Spice: One member of the New Hill East email list writes, “I've been seeing this ginger cat for quite a while now — she (I think?) is very affectionate, but doesn't have a collar. I've thought about taking her in, but we have a cat already. I think someone must be feeding her—she comes readily when you bend down to pet her and doesn't look hungry. This is probably someone's outdoor cat, I just wanted to make sure it's not someone's lost cat.” Many responded, speculating about who the cat might belong to: “The people I'm thinking of also have a dog, and sometimes when they walk the dog, the cat strolls along with them of its own accord,” writes one neighbor. But the mystery has been solved. Writes the original inquirer, Apparently, Ginger Cat is owned by a family which also owns a dog. This family likes to take the dog walks in Lincoln Park, and Ginger Cat likes to walk with them on their way to the park. According to my correspondent, "the cat knows not to stray too far." Sounds like a fun little parade—I must remember to try to observe this in progress. At any rate, thanks to everyone who wrote. It's nice to know that we all are keeping an eye out for lost pets.”

Mulchgate: One Takoma Park gardener unwittingly offended his neighbors with the phrase, "rule of thumb." He writes on the neighborhood email list, "Yesterday I kindly asked for advice on mulch delivery and used the phrase 'rule of thumb.' I sincerely hope I have not caused scandal to the neighborhood with my use of this phrase. A neighor wrote to me claiming the phrase originates from "an old English law that allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick as wide in diameter as his thumb". While I am no expert in etymology, Wikipedia refutes this and asserts that, 'British common law before the reign of Charles II permitted a man to give his wife 'moderate correction', but no 'rule of thumb' (whether called by this name or not) has ever been the law in England. Such 'moderate correction' specifically excluded beatings, allowing the husband only to confine a wife to the household". The article goes on to suggest several possible sources as the origin- none of them seem to imply the use of beatings. I actually found it quite interesting. Rest assured, I do not condone "moderate correction" of any form of one's wife." His neighbor responded, "Gee...! Apologies accepted. Just goes to show you what type of trouble one can bring upon one's self when mulch-hunting. BTW see other entry to determine how much to buy.... And please stay out of trouble! So enjoyable."

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