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Showing posts from 2010

'Carlos In DC' Publisher, Vigilant and Defiant...And A Long Overdue Farewell

"Artista. Intelecto. Periodista guerrero . We need more young writers like this, my friends..." I once used those words to describe a dedicated journalist, whose understanding and whose substantive and investigative reporting on complex D.C. issues, like poverty and gentrification, has been truly inspired and will be sorely missed on this weblog network. I once wrote that "anyone calling themselves a journalist in a city as diverse and (often) divided as Washington, D.C. will do well to follow Carlos In DC 's lead" and that, amidst "so much routine criticism of the blogosphere by established journalists and politicians, if you are not reading Carlos In DC , you are missing a fine example of how consistently relevant weblogs can truly be." For that reason and too many others to name here, this Brangler is a follower of the journalism of Mr. Carlos A. Quiroz, today, and will continue to be a follower of his work, now that he has left to co

Happy Holidays!

A More Visual and Lyrical Nadia Ackerman Experience For 2011?

No that is NOT David Bowie! Check out the 80s revisionist profile pic on Nadia Ackerman 's Official Facebook Group wall! Not at all the tone I'd expect from the mistress of earthy, urban art village sublime and acid jazz undercurrents, ..but, I love it. The new biscuit, A Little Moment, is chock full of depth and haunting inspiration, chillingly edgy in some places and sensually cocoa-warm in others, ..and if this kind of duality or mutability is any indication of what Nadia's upcoming website is bringing, we're in for a treat. I honestly tried to find some clever, exploitative way to use "Hang Me Out To Dry" or something from it in this post, since it's lingering in my head, anyway. Give me time, I'm sure I will. For those of you completely in the dark about all things Nadia, thumb through your mental rolodex for a funky, but playful, acid jazzy rendition of Dean Martin's hit, That's Amore', currently playing on the UPS commercials

Autistic River East Woman Starts Insightful, New Blog

Get ready for a ground-breaking, NEW blog, called And The Autism Thing, written by my brilliant and dynamic hermanita, Shielda Dyer! Shielda is a grown woman living and thriving with autism, who has been keeping daily journals for nearly an entire year, ..only recently sharing her experiences online. Sometimes surprisingly insightful and always brutally honest, she is very committed to continuing her work and bettering our understanding of what living with autism is like. And we, her family, are all very proud of her and couldn't be more excited. If you have not followed Shielda's blog before, you can find it at its new location here, right here . Mel Dyer

A BID For Disaster? Some Thoughts...

Penn Branch has some problems that won't wait, until 2012 [Movie poster for '2012', above]. I predicted trouble on the horizon for Penn Branch, just a few months back. In spite of the fact that the good folk of Penn Branch are working very hard to feed their families and struggling to keep a roof over their heads, I fear a greater struggle may be ahead for us. As Washington, D.C. descends further and further into the dark future of revenue-creating gateway communities rising, east of Anacostia, ..and the emergence of 'Business Improvement Districts' (or BID s), west-of-River, I fear stable-but-static neighborhoods, like Penn Branch, will see the quality of their services (power, police, EMS) go down. Unlike Penn Branch, the BIDs, according to 's Business Resources page, "collect a 'self tax' from property owners to provide services and programs to the entire BID...cleanliness, maintenance, safety, promotion, economic development, and othe


[Second Edition] A 'Capicostia' blog?  Again? Kinda trying this on. Feeling it out. Capitol Hill + Anacostia = Capicostia?! I think River East needs a blog that speaks to the frustration and quiet hysteria of what it's like to live here, but, sometimes, feel some small part of you might belong on the other side of the river, ..where political intrigue and urbanity slink down the sidewalks, stopping for the occasional latte or imported beer. Mmmm...I'll cop to the angst. Even if you won't. There's something about living here, Penn Branch, Fairfax Village, Pope Branch, Dupont Park, Twining, Hillcrest, the Randall Highlands and probably Fairlawn, too, ..that's different than living in other parts of River East, and the culture-angst is something only we can understand. When you think about it the only thing separating us from Capitol Hill and everything the Hill represents--sophistication, culture, history, relevance, style--is a stupid b

Jumbo Jetliner Buzzes Penn Branch and Fairfax Village

This Ilyushin Il-96 (above) isn't the alleged jumbo jet, but looked very much like this one. At about 4:13 pm EST, I saw a white jumbo jetliner, with red markings, pull in low enough over Penn Branch to clip the treetops and dive toward Alabama Avenue in Fairfax Village! It looked like it was going to land at the strip mall, down the hill, on Pennsylvania Avenue! I can also say, with some measure of certainty, that its design identified it as a Boeing 747 . Military helicopters--Navy-commissioned, if I'm not mistaken--were seen in the air, shortly afterwards. Though I only saw one, it was admittedly hard to tell how many because of the trees, and it sounded like more than one. This might have been perfectly inconsequential, considering some kind of helicopter are seen speeding over Penn Branch, almost every half an hour and especially during rush hour. I heard police and emergency sirens following all of that, and there is a difference. Trust me--River East hears enough pol


*He-Man knows how to handle a few barbarians at the gate, and so does Penn Branch. I hope. The delay in development at our delightfully decrepit Penn Branch Center, at the corner of Pennsylvania and Branch Avenues, is very frustrating to me. Though, in mere days, it will have been an entire year since construction was to begin on our shopping center, nothing resembling upgrades and infusions of new, dynamic retail has been initiated. Check the websites of the Penn Branch Civic Association website (on your left) and of ICG Properties , and you will not find news of any significant developments for PBC. We have THREE gateway areas developing in the River East area, each fully-loaded with upscale condos and retail, and I worry Penn Branch, virtually unchanged since the 80s, will soon fall behind in how efficiently the city delivers vital services. With the explosion of commercial and residential development on Martin Luther King Avenue, Howard Road and coming soon to Barry Farm,

G'night, Joe

My movie review blog at , after a year of virtual neglect except for spot-on reviews of the movies, A-Team [Loved it!] and Prince Of Persia, has taken a final bow into the twilight. I want to thank Joe's single follower, my blogger Obi-Wan, Carlos Quinoz of CarlosInDC , for his defiantly optimistic support. If you aren't reading his blog, you're missing a refreshingly unpretensious source of politics, world news and local cultural event reporting unparalled by a single journalist. So, get over there, already! What do you need--an invitation? Why I oughta'... I had big plans for Studio Joe and Joe-inspired merchandise and working with an old writer bud of mine from college. Never quite found the time or will to give this project the attention it deserved. Believe me; Joe will miss you, but not nearly as much as I will miss him. Get ready for a new blog soon to be launched from this account, called I Want You To Know, written by m

Ignore The Buzz, Nothing New Coming To Penn Branch

My Brangler spirit may be running a little low, right now. Exactly a year ago, in October of 2009, several reliable sources told Penn Branch and surrounding residents that construction was to begin on our weary old tomb of a shopping strip, Penn Branch Center , which is basically a big piece of crap that's been falling apart for the last twenty or so years. We've got sleepy, hum-drum retail that forces Penn Branglers to go spend our money in other communities, making them more economically viable, while our own neighborhood fades deeper into civic irrelevance with City Hall, and I was really looking forward to the end of that. But, the ending never arrived. In the meantime, Minnesota-Benning (Bennesota) and even Fairfax Village (where I have a condo) are witnessing the beginnings of exciting changes in their respective business districts, while Penn Branch, still the host of lots of dependable, law-abiding middle class tax payers, stays drearily and abysmally the same. Not po

Let There Be Loft: A Rant

Just finished browsing and found one--ONE--converted loft property in Southeast, on Capitol Hill (of course) called the Bryan School Lofts , ..which are all sold out . The Bryan School was done by award-winning Abdo Builders , and probably cost a vital organ AND a limb to own. Frankly, they are a little too polished for my tastes--scrubbed of all the rugged, Industrial Era charm that ought to be evident in converting an old school, garage, trolley car barn or factory into functional living space. These Abdo lofts look like the Sex In The City ladies hang out there. They're sissy lofts, and I hate'm. Lofts used to be the large, unattractive, slate gray ruins of an obsolete industrial era that no style-conscious yuppy would be caught dead in. In the 1950s, lofts were places, where a large , lower income, working class or struggling immigrant family could stake a claim in the steamy, jazz-scored urban experience...the Big City. They were open frontiers for the

A Garden Store In Fairfax Village?

With a garden store on the way, could Caribou Coffee be far behind? I have just reopened the featured polls and want very much to hear your opinions about the changes in Penn Branch and the surrounding areas. So far, the Deanwood-Burroughs Avenue area and the MLK Avenue-Uniontown area of Anacostia are the River East neighborhoods that people are saying need the most commercial development. In another poll, people are saying the Fairfax Village-Fort Davis and Uniontown neighborhoods have the most potential. And I agree . Being a large condominium community , Fairfax Village is more transient than the rest of Fort Davis. Should the cost of renting and owning a condo in the Village dramatically increase, the population of the area could change in kind. It is not at all impossible to imagine that garden stores and coffeehouses wouldn't be far behind. As when Fairfax Village went from being a fashionably upscale roost for junior congressmen and Capitol Hill staffers in the 197

They Say You'll Sleep With Anything!

If you are one of those people (and I'm not saying I'm one of them), who people say will sleep with anything--and I mean ANY-thing--and you've thought about changing your ways and cleaning up your reputation, ..maybe, you want to hold off on that. At least, until Saturday morning. Might need a cigarette, after this . Mel Dyer

A Declaration Of Penn Branch Spirit

[Excerpt from "To Fight Another Day", published here, 1/30/10] ...We are good people , and, in spite of those who would prey upon and destroy us — of those, who cruise our tree-lined hills with jealousy and contempt for the peace our parents and grandparents have worked so hard to give us — we ought to go right on being good people. That is the war to be won here, Brancher. We live in a place, where you can look straight up into the sky on a clear, starry night and see a flurry of golden, shooting stars raining like gold coins from the heavens ..or the International Space Station pass overhead, looking very much like a traveling planet. We live in a place, where our children carelessly play outside, well after nightfall, and summer lovers steal kisses in the shade of dogwood trees, ..bewitched by the fragrance of Concorde grapes on a passing breeze—where old, silver-haired friends look back on harder times from the comfort of a porch ..and laugh out loud! We live in a truly

More Beltway Beauty Than We Can Handle!

Penn Branch Center, charming as ever! (Clockwise from top right) Penn Branch Liquors, CVS Pharmacy, Beltway Beauty and Star Pizzeria, below it. (Originally published, July 15th, 2009) She sits at the corner of Pennsylvania and Branch Avenues, this brick and concrete goddess. Our Penn Branch. She sits there, with a mouthful of meatball subs, twinkies and Cool Ranch Doritos and washes it all down with a Colt 45. She sits there, fixing the one good eye she’s got left on you, as your car makes a mad rush for the John Philip Sousa Bridge. For Capitol Hill. National Harbor. Adams Morgan. Cool places. Exotic places. Faraway places, where cafes litter the sidewalk. Where laughter, foreign accents and live jazz tease the imported air. Where people linger. Celebrate. Hook up. I cannot honestly say that I remember the last time I wanted to visit Penn Branch Center, the prehistoric strip mall at the corner of Pennsylvania and Branch Avenues, for anything, ..and I don’t know anyone else, who does,

Two Ben's Restaurants Rushing To Penn Branch?!

Ben's would be right at home here, in good ole Penn Branch! (Compiled from a photo from Wikipedia ) [*Second Edition] Negotiations with the D.C. Government to open TWO Ben’s restaurants here, in the River East neighborhood of Penn Branch , are “on the fast track”, according to Ben's Next Door proprietor, Mr. Kamal Ben Ali . According to Mr. Ben Ali, the Government is acting as quickly as possible to move the application and licensing process forward for a second Ben's Chili Bowl, styled like the U Street landmark, AND a new Ben's Next Door bar and grill, both to be located at Penn Branch Center. In the interim, the Ben’s restaurant family is researching how best to appeal to the Penn Branch area. “The desire for [family-oriented] sitdown restaurants”, says Mr. Ben Ali, is of primary interest to the (presently unnamed) area representatives they are talking to, and that interest is shaping, “on a conceptual level”, what a Ben’s Next Door at Penn Branch Center mi

You Can See My BC From Barry Farm! It's Huge!

What's the point of having a BC, if there isn't someone sitting on it, drinking steaming, hot coffee ..or eating a freakolicious Buffalo Chicken Sub? That's how the Brangler rolls... Big Chair Coffee n' Grill Open Daily 7am-9pm

With Ghana's Shoe In Our Tookus, U.S. Leaves FIFA World Cup

Landon Donovan at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. (Photo from Wikipedia ) Ending a second valiant effort to establish American supremacy at the FIFA World Cup, with unbelievably skilled playing by Clint Dempsey (the first American to appear in a European final) and Landon Donovan, Ghana's Black Stars run off with a 2-1 victory over the U.S. Soccer Team. After a 1-0 win over Algeria, American soccer fans were celebrating what many of us hoped would be the conquest of the 'other football', but, it seems Ghana's renowned toughness may have put that dream on ice, at least for a while, with today's match . This is the Yanks' second trip to the FIFA Cup. We will be back. Mel Dyer

Angst And Angus In Bennisota

It's STEAK, River East! Run for your lives! (Photo from Wikipedia ) It bothers me that the opening of something so ordinary and Middle American as a simple steakhouse in River East could generate so much resentment and gentrification paranoia among our neighbors, considering that River East has been deprived of this kind of mid-upscale retail for so long. We are already hearing, "That ain't for us!", "What THEY think they doing putting that here?" and "**** that white ****! I'm going to Clinton!" It's in line at the bank. It's on the subway. It's everywhere. Before *RAY's THE STEAKS opened in the colorfully chaotic and rapidly developing Benning Road-Minnesota Avenue area of East River Park , we were grumbling about not having the kind of sit-down restaurants in River East that other parts of D.C. enjoy. When DENNY's opened, just up the street, we were all atwitter with how refreshing it would be to take our familes to

I Pity The Fool, Who Hasn't Seen This Movie!

"Joe (Smokin' Aces) Carnahan's The A-Team picks up the TV series' original setup; the A-Team is a U. S. Army special forces unit, who go on a covert mission in Iraq to steal something important for the government, but, get sent to prison, when their commanding officer dies, taking the truth about their mission with him. Now, upgrade all that with inter-agency government conspiracies, huge explosions, aerial dogfights with F-22 Raptors, high-speed car-chases, a crazy attempt to fly a TANK that's been dropped out of an exploding airplane, kicking back with the guys, more explosions and Jessica Biel in tight outfits, ..and you're scratching the surface. It gets WAY better..." I pity the fool, who doesn't read my review of The A-Team! I pity the fool! Mel Dyer

USA Raising The Stakes In The World Cup

Johnny-come-latelies we may be, the United States is getting serious about its soccer. Today in Pretoria, South Africa, with a 1-0 win over Algeria, the United States rockets to the second round at the World Cup! Could news like this curb our Nation's Capitol's longstanding disdain for this globally celebrated sport? The story here... Mel Dyer

Did You Catch Blogging While Brown?

It really bugs me that I missed Blogging While Brown , and, if you missed it, you are probably as bummed as I am. The time to start preparing for the next one is right now, and the following link will tell you what to expect... Ping. That's the sound of relevance hitting your brain. Mel Dyer

Try Getting A Futon In There...Not Gonna Happen

Problems facing the penitentiary system of Costa Rica will be very familiar to us...a link . President Laura Chinchilla is making the prosecution of drug-related crimes, even non-violent ones, a top priority of her administration, and the country's prisons are finding it all difficult to manage. Mel Dyer

Enough Caffeine To Wake The Dead!

[Originally published, 2/1/10] Forget the COFFEE at Big Chair Coffee ! The food is unbelievable! Anacostia's BIG CHAIR COFFEE & GRILL is now THE east-of-river place to grab breakfast! The Bacon and Sausage Omelette (and I'm really not an egg-lover) is phenomenal--a spicy, juicy fiesta in your mouth! What I love about this dish is that the amazing spices light up your tongue, without overpowering the spiciness of the sausage or the smokey flavor of the bacon--genius! If you can't park, this is totally worth calling-in and orbitting the block for--seven or eight minutes, and you got crazy, freakolicious breakfast! Don't get me started on the BUFFALO CHICKEN SUB ! You will want to wear this thing around your neck , it's so GOOD! And yeah--the coffee 's great, too! That's kind of a given, considering it's coming from the same folks, who gave us MURKY COFFEE (a Dyer family favorite) on Capitol Hill! Great, great stuff! River East's only true co

At Ease With Our Own

Brangler Oppossum (above) is the only thing gathering in these hills, my friends. (Originally published, July 23th, 2009) If it seems some Penn Branch folk are always bellyaching about the lack of quailty retail in our neighborhood, don’t judge us too harshly. It’s more than just bellyaching. Prior to the Reagan Era 80s and the Inflation that preceded it, this neighborhood had plenty! I remember drugstore diners with GREAT coffee, movies at the Hyland Theatre (at the Hyland Cinema , once located next to the Pope Funeral Home) and, with valet, at Coral Hill . There were even several restaurants, a cocktail lounge or two, a bowling alley, ..and all right here, in and around Penn Branch. I remember seeing my neighbors at these places and the feeling of relaxed belonging and protection it gave me. I remember hearing my father laugh about bumping into Mr. Such N. Such at that cocktail lounge, and how, after the encounter, he’d decided that Such N. Such probably wasn’t such a bad guy, after

That's Not A Handgun...That's A Space Station

Above: President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, looking a little like my late papa here. I was one of the people, who was not at all surprised, when Mexican president, Felipe Calderon , told a joint session of Congress that eighty percent of the seventy-five thousand guns seized by Mexican law enforcement, over the last three years, have been traced right here to the United States of America. According to the Associated Press , Calderon, after urging U.S. legislators to strengthen gun laws, warned that over ninety percent of the guns used by [Mexican] drug traffickers come from north of Mexico's border. I was not surprised because I know what "guns used by drug traffickers" means, and you probably do, too. Even if you think you don't. Don't get caught up in the political crap-storm brewing over the ninety percent part. The guns being used by the drug traffickers President Calderon spoke of are small arms-- handguns --the same our local papers tell us are being

Arugula: Why President Obama Probably Won't Throw The Podium At You,..Today!

Above: That's President Obama being cordial with Mr. George Bush. Maybe, he'll punch a baby for you, tomorrow--wouldn't count on that, though. I don't know about you, but, I am getting a little tired of all the speculation, criticism and, now, deconstruction of why, when and if President Barack Obama is capable of showing anger or strength in some spectacular, public way. I am getting tired of it, because the President has already addressed this issue in his book, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance , first published way, way back in 1995, ..when Eurodance duo La Bouche 's "Be My Lover" was burning down clubs all over America. Anybody here read the Jonathan Capehart article, Rage: Why Obama Won't And Can't Give You What You Want ? There seems to be this expectation that, at some point, President Obama MUST blow his top, like a black cop in an 80s action flick. He must! If President Obama doesn't turn into a Dann

Thoughts On Cinco De Mayo, I Guess

I could write something heavy about how this city's local bars and cocktail lounges celebrate Cinco De Mayo and what I call the 'Ricky Martin-izing' of this holiday for cheap, quick mass consumption the grand Corporate American tradition. I could write something about how it rubs me the wrong way, as a fifth-generation Mexican American, that this seemingly unattainable victory of simple farmers, peasants (oppressed by wealthy land-owners) and Zapotec peoples over the French Army of 1862 isn't commemorated more respectfully, ..but, I won't . There's a truly exceptional article on CARLOS IN DC that says it all more eloquently than I ever could, this early in the morning. I missed the whole thing, anyway. Yesterday was a hot and busy day--got home late and way too exhausted to get my Cinco on. Put some hot sauce on a fish sandwich, last night, if that--but, that really doesn't count. Creo que no . Consider this...we live in a magnificent city full o

The 'G' Is For Gentrification, Folks!

[ Reprinted from April 5, 2010] This week, the CARLOS IN DC blog features a superb accounting of the gentrification issues troubling the Anacostia area of River East, written with refreshing authenticity by journalist, Northwest DC resident and self-affirmed Peruanista (and Facebook pal), Mr. Carlos A. Quiroz. At the time the Anacostia area was incorporated as 'Uniontown' in 1854, people of white Irish [True!] or African descent were outlawed from owning or renting anywhere in that part of town. This ugly historical truth is an example of how stupid and arbitrary the demonization of any ethnic group can really be--one day, Mexicans, and tomorrow, it's Arabs! It forces the more sensible of us to scratch the surface of the classist tribalism 'crab barrel', to understand one another better and find effective solutions to problems that have been with us since before the American Civil War. Quiroz's article does all of that and more, and as an occasionally les

Guns And Possum, Amigo

"I feel safe in Penn Branch because..." When a Penn Brangler poll asked postors why they feel safe in Penn Branch, fifty-four percent said it was because it is "surrounded by well-kept, working-middle class neighborhoods", while forty-five percent expressed that the neighborhood's "strong police presence" gave them a feeling of security. Penn Branch's wholesome, small town charm did not go unappreciated in the poll; seventy-two percent said they felt safe, because "Branglers look out for each other", and two percent said it was because "nothing ever happens here". Right on both counts, you ask me, and God bless the folks (in uniform and out), who keep it that way! For the record, ONE perecent of you admitted feeling safe, because you've "got a gun and...can fight". Only ONE percent?! I thought Branglers'd be a little more candid than that--not going to press the issue here, because I don't want any o

A Celebration Of Life..And A New Beginning

Mrs. Vilma Dianne Bowie Peele , a GREAT lady, an exceptional teacher and the mother of my good friend, Mr. Bryan Brandon Peele, passed away on the morning of February 10, 2010 in Northwest Washington, D.C. Friends and family will gather for a celebration of Mrs. Peele's life on February 17, 2010 (later, today ), at Northeastern Presbyterian Church, which is located at 2112 Varnum Street, in Northeast Washington, D.C. For more details, please visit Mrs. Peele's obituary (here) , as it was published in The Washington Post on February 15th and 16th. It is also, with no small measure of regret, that I announce The PENN BRANGLER will break for TWO weeks, during which I will be focusing on a long, long list of pressing matters, ..not the least of which is the development of another blog . For me, this coming fortnight will be a time to honor some long-standing and much neglected commitments to myself, my friends and family. May this be, for all of us, a time to honor those, who

Farewell To One Of Our Finest River East Teachers

The mother of Bryan, my best friend [I have a few.], passed away this morning, around 5 am at the Washington Home (headquarters of the Washington Hospice Centers) in Northwest Washington, DC. Bryan's mother had been a teacher for over thirty years at Anacostia High School and was much loved by the students of its various intra-curricular academies--forerunners to D.C.'s charter schools--for her nurturing heart, strong principles and old-fashioned discipline. Bryan is one of a handful of close friends, who, at one time or another, have joined me for imported coffee and caramel macchiatoes at Crystal City Underground's Starbucks , in a corner of the shop we called the Rainbow Room , because of its STAINED GLASS WINDOW, plush armchairs and clubby feel. The Rainbow Room Mob loves this guy. My family loves this guy; I love him like a brother, and I consider his late mom a godmother to me. Bryan is handling this terrible loss in his own way, and is in the company of family

To Fight Another Day

[Second Edition] On the evening of Saturday, January 30, I sat down at a friend’s PC and wrote a bitter rant, dressed up as an op-ed or something more journalistic, condemning the robbery of a Metro Access operator and the subsequent courageous actions of our Ward Seven city councilperson, Yvette Alexander, who risked her life, watching over the attacked driver (still unnamed , as of 1/31/10), until he got help. Now, hunkering down to write a more informed and revised thing ['Piece' sounds pretensious for this venue.], I am moved by the pluck and courage of Councilwoman Alexander and of the River East hills I call home to write something markedly different than what I had originally intended. From what I have read in the Washington Post and have heard from outraged Penn Branch and Fort Dupont residents, at the time she stopped to inquire about the safety of the driver she saw lying on a Penn Branch area sidewalk, as she drove by, Alexander did not know that this man was a Me

Party Over Here..On Facebook!

If you're on Facebook , check out the Capitol Hill Kiwanis Club Cafe! The ' cafe ' is the Capitol Hill Club's first Facebook forum, chatroom and gateway--a place to welcome new people, chat and set up 'real world' events and meetings, off-line and around the D.C. Metropolitan Area. Belonging to this club is about as good a social/professional NETWORKING opportunity, as you'll find east of the U.S. Capitol--believe it! You're also guaranteed to meet some very interesting people here, who care about River East and are working hard to make it an empowering place for young people to grow up. As a three-year Capitol Hill Kiwanis Club member, I can tell you we've got an exciting year planned, and you don't want to miss one more minute of it. Get more info, here . If you're not on Facebook , get on Facebook! You may as well, because nearly everybody you've ever known or are related to already IS--not kidding! Besides the chatroom thing, ther

Local Area Murder Rates Are Down

Take a minute to look over the latest crime stats , as reported by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department's Crime and Activity Statistics page . Homicides in Washington, D.C. are down , and arrests of juvenille suspects are up (for the week, at least). Have a look at the DCMPD's weekly arrest reports , if you want even more detailed information. Keep in mind that this week has been alot warmer than last week, which saw snow and freezing temperatures between Wednesday and Friday, January 20-22. In Penn Branch, that's when our young turks like to ditch the grown-ups to hook up with their friends, outside or at a friend's house, ..where they can swear out loud and indulge some other bad habits they don't like us hassling them about. For that reason, it's probably wise to keep the kids (especially, your teens ) on a short leash, this week--ask smart questions, keep an eye on who they're running with and stay in their business--to insure they stay out of tro

A Frank Talk About Healthcare And Other Things

Here's a link to the blog, Medicynic , written by my friend Laurie Goff's dad, Dr. Paul Goff . This essay on the healthcare reform debate and other pressing issues facing our great nation is very timely. Very frank and provocative... Check it out now, Brancher.

Get Over Here!

Hola, River East! Follow me, the Poowes and everybody I've ever known or went to school with (and they really are ALL there--kinda' creepy) on Facebook ...


Barely dug out of the ice of the Nation's Capital's first big snowstorm, the ghostly lavender morning skies of January 8, 2009 were quickly blotted out by falling white, and D.C. area commuters were filled with winter's dread. Then, around six thirty that same morning, all of the nasty, awful, seemingly inevitable things we expect to slow us down during a snowstorm... Didn't happen. I want to and WILL be writing something to commend the truly spectacular job D.C. Department of Public Works did proofing Penn Branch's labrythine streets against the ravages of (January 8, 2009) Friday's lackluster snowstorm. I will also be writing something to commend the timely leadership and attention Mayor Adrian Fenty commited to making that enterprise so succesful, between Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. I hope you'll join me for that ..and indulge the following: Now,.. BIG CHAIR COFFEE , after three or so months of delays upon delays, ..OPENS MONDAY, JANUARY 11th

Spilling A Trail Of Kosher Salt, As She Went (Part Two)

The blizzard (or 'Snowpocalypse' , as bloggers called it) of 2009 shattered records for snowstorms in December and pounded the Metropolitan Area with a deadly two-plus feet of snow and slush-covered ice. Local governments advised us to stay in our homes and (wisely, I think) suspended Metro bus and rail service to above-ground stations. Holiday travelers at Ronald Reagan National Airport saw their flights cancelled, while a few determined holiday shoppers, mere days before Christmas, braved roads slicked with crushed, dirty snow and ice to get to nearby shopping malls, ..only to find their stores had closed early. Things got worse , before they got better. For much of Saturday morning, the Department of Public Works cleared River East's major thoroughfares--Pennsylvania, Minnesota Alabama and Branch Avenues, Benning Road, East Capitol Street, etc--before turning to the smaller, residential streets in the afternoon. Unfortunately for those smaller streets, as snow continued