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Showing posts from 2012

Merry Christmas, America!

A new vignette, every WEDNESDAY, ..starting right here. Right now. More changes to come in 2013! To all who followed this quirky, little experiment called Steak Island, ..a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everywhere! Mel Dyer Has A New Look! , the Official Website of Steak Island, has a new look, this week! From now on, the week's latest vignettes - the fresh steak - will be featured right on the index page, making some pretty smart changes to the way you get this cartoon. Tweeted links will now bring you directly to the latest feature, while also giving you easy access to all the features of the homepage! Your favorite archived issues of Steak Island,  a quick introduction to Island' s creator, (me) Mel Dyer, and (soon) mini-bios of the characters, and all of our Twitter, Facebook and Blogger, with the latest news and developments on the cartoon; all of that can now be accessed with one link! That's a big pile of new-new, my friend! Stay tuned for a Special Presidential Debate Night Edition of Steak Island, ..posting the evening of President Barack Obama 's second debate with GOP candidate, Governor Mitt Romney - Tuesday, October 16, 2012! That's only TWO DAYS! See you, then, ..and

Mel Dyer's Steak Island Cartoon

  In STEAK ISLAND, the red-skinned, pointy-headed alien strongman, Bullethedd, stocks shelves and unloads trucks for the metamythically gargantuan Bygmo warehouse store. Among the denizens of Steak Island, are Bygmo's general manager, the Iron Munkee, a grumpy, living statue, a fallen health goddess and others – all brought to life in weekly, one-panel vignettes, struggles desperately be liked. Steak Island creator, Mel Dyer, is an American freelance website developer and weblog publisher, who grew up in a hard-working, middleclass, Catholic family in Washington, D.C. Between them, his parents privately operated two successful small businesses, a print shop and a detective agency, for nearly fifteen years, while holding down full-time jobs. At home, the political views of his mother, a right-leaning liberal, and his father, a pro-labor conservative, inspired strong populist patriotism at an early age that endures, today, ..and he is very proud of his Southern American her

Always With Authenticity, Councilwoman Yvette Alexander

Councilwoman Alexander and Mayor Gray leading other D.C. officials in protest for municipal budget autonomy. (Staff photo from Editorial [Second Edition] This will be my last editorial as a community blogger ..and as the publisher of what might have been (with better marketing) a great D.C. blog,  Capicostia Heat.   It has been my experience, as a writer and a man,  that, sometimes, the grandest things are best said simply and sincerely, ..with authenticity.  So, there you have it. There were times, just a month and a half ago, during the disastrous aftermath of the rogue storms that devastated the D.C. area, that it seemed my mother's Penn Branch community had been entirely abandoned by the District of Columbia.  Penn Branch was left sitting in the dark with no power, no visible police presence (police patrol cars, etc), in the middle of the worst heatwave of recent memory - temperatures of one hundered and one degrees. To we Branchers, who, for DECADES, had

New Capicostia Poll Asks Why Business Improvement Is Needed

It seems I'm always bummed about the abysmal retail options in Penn Branch and the rest of Capicostia. Is it just nostalgia for the Capicostia of yesteryear, ..a place with movie theatres [Yes...theatres!], restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, pet shops and hardware stores? Business improvement in neighborhoods, like Atlas, Near Southeast, No'Ma, Georgia-Petworth, Anacostia  and U Street seems to be the order of the day,  in D.C. The question our new poll asks is this: Why is commercial development or 'business improvement' so important to a neighborhood? 1. "Tax revenue from retail and leasing make communities more compettitive for city resources and services." It's the old game of keeping dollars in the neighborhood -shops, schools, restaurants. 2. "High retail/residential/leasing areas are safer, get better policing." Look at H Street or Barracks Row! Business owners demand competent policing for their communities ..and usually get it. 3. &

Weekly Local Crime Updates from the Washington Post

[June 14, 2012, Washington, D.C.] " was shot and another was stabbed in Southeast D.C. Monday night...Another man was found with multiple stab wounds in the 2800 block of Gainesville Street SE at about midnight. He was also conscious and breathing when he was discovered..." Crime Scene - The Washington Post "...Skeletal remains that were discovered in a wooded area in Hillcrest Heights Monday morning, authorities said...not far from Hillcrest Heights Elementary School...not yet formally determined whether the remains are those of a..." Crime Scene - The Washington Post "...A District man was killed Monday evening in Southeast D.C., police said. When police responded to the scene in the 3400 block of 13th Place SE at about 7 :15 p.m...found Brian Dewayne Bloomfield, 26, of Southeast suffering from “stab or gunshot wounds.”..." Southeast neighborhoods - The Washington Post It's getting nasty out there, Capicostia. As the summer presses on, ..and th

A Dark Knight Returns!

"Artista. Intelecto. Periodista guerrero ..." I once used those words to describe Mr. Carlos Quiroz, publisher of Carlos In DC , who was the first blogger of Latin American (Peruvian and Italian) heritage to encourage my work, ..and I, a proud grandson of Mexican and Tejano migrant workers, was honored by that. His seemingly inexhaustible dedication to justice and truth and his in-depth investigative reporting on local issues -labor, immigration, racial discrimination, unemployment and gentrification- has shown all of us lesser bloggers (myself included) how consistently powerful this medium can be. Not so long ago, when I suspended publication of this blog for a time, I reached out to Carlos, who, with no concern of competition between us, encouraged me to keep the blog online and shared his news resources with me, that my work should be as well informed as his. It reminded me that, empowering the people with relevant information about the world around them, ..and NOT som

Weekly Local Crime Updates from the Washington Post

[June 2, 2012, Washington, D.C.] "...Last Saturday, a robber on a bicycle demanded property from someone in the 4500 block of Quarles Streeet NE, in the Deanwood area, police said. The victim refused, tried to flee, and was shot, police said. Police made an arrest on a charge of assault with intent to rob..."  Busy neighborhoods - The Washington Post "The officer, who was responding to a complaint about drug activity near 51st and H streets SE in the Marshall Heights neighborhood, approached a group of people standing in the area shortly before 2:30 police tried to speak with a man, he ran and police chased him a short distance in a neighborhood of townhouses and apartment buildings...At some point, the man drew a gun and..."   Crime Scene - The Washington Post The badguys are busy out there, so watch your back, Capicostia.

The Lesser Of Two Michelles?

In her National Review Online column, Michelle Malkin says, "...Mrs. Obama leveraged her hubby’s Senate victory to snag a lucrative seat on the corporate board of directors of TreeHouse Foods, Inc. despite having zero experience in the industry...", among oth ... er accusations. Most people, who sit on these boards (including myself) have little or no prior experience in whatever business their board oversees. Just the same, Michelle Malkin thinks we should ignore that and hate Mrs. Obama for it..and for anything that marks her as successful, upper class or otherwise extraordinary. [A U.S. president's wife is automatically 'upper class', even without a billion dollars. Sorry?] Political ideology aside, what I reject is the suggestion in Malkin's column and past scribblings that the Obamas weren't already successful and extraordinary,  before they moved into the White House -Malkin's subtextual cues that they don't belong there..and are stealing f

Benning Station's Star Tenant Two Months From Big Move..To Near Southeast

The newly renovated Washington Star building in Southeast -soon to be CFSA headquarters. (From ) [May 11, 2012, Washington, D.C.] Today, D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, once slated for a move next door to the Benning Road Metrorail Station, has confirmed it will be moving into a newly renovated, Near Southeast building that once headquartered the  Washington Star newspaper, this August -right on schedule.  When all the vans have been unloaded, the lights switched on and computers set-up in the old Star offices, Benning area and East-of-river residents will surely recall the big move's one, silent casualty: the  $108 million mixed-use Benning Station project , gutted and left for dead in 2010, by the D.C. Office of Property Management ex-director, Robin-Eve Jasper. In 2009, the real estate blog, DC Mud, reported that developer and Fenty Administration friend, Ben Soto, had invested eleven million dollars into pre-development of Benning Station, which stood to i

Grosso'ing Out The Incumbents

[May 7, 2012 from DCUM Weblog] "David Grosso's last name means 'big' in Italian. True to form, he has taken on a big challenge in running against two well-known incumbents in the At-Large DC Council race. Moreover, Grosso's solutions to the District's problems are..." Have a look, Capicostia. Mel

Penn Branch Square Could Keep Condos Out Of Neighborhood

Union Square at 941 North Capitol Street, NE, currently hosts the Office of Tax and Revenue Customer Service Center (photo from Wikimedia Commons)   My once very strong desire to see Penn Branch Center renovated into a small 'town center', with condos, has evolved. There was a time, when I could imagine a new shopping complex resembling newly renovated Fox Chase in Alexandria, Virginia; I still can, truthfully, but not sure that would best serve Penn Branch and surrounding areas. I just do not think, with new developments on the horizon, like Capital Gateway (also in Ward Seven), promising to fatten the city's coffers with more annual revenue than Penn Branch can presently generate, that having a stable taxbase of modestly well-off retirees and hard-working, middleclass families will be enough to keep local politicians interested in our concerns.  What's needed at the corner of Pennsylvania and Branch Avenues is a large, important government building and pu

Another Shining City On A Hill, ..Again!

Check out the plans for the new Penn Branch Center... right here on ! Check out the airy, light-friendly glass and steel architecture, the environmentally conscious green roofing , the restaurants , the sidewalk cafes and the people! Imagine spending a Saturday afternoon, dozing over your laptop at Dunkin' Donuts or Panera or Caribou Coffee! Imagine heading down to a bar for drinks with the fellas on Cinco de Mayo ! Imagine celebrating your whatever with your whoevers, amidst the primal, smokey scent of STEAK on the grill, wafting up and along Carpenter Street! Imagine all of the schemes you'll have to come up with just to drive by this place, without pulling over for something. You'll never get downtown . You will never see Capitol Hill , again. And speaking of downtown, imagine the GATED PARKING that will end the abusive over-crowding of Penn Branch Center's parking lot by commuters. It's so crowded during the day, it sometimes takes several

Social Security Is Not The 'W' Word

Social Security Is Not The 'W' Word One thing that today's political arguements are doing for the general public, is to help us to understand just what Social Security is. Unfortunately, some of our Congress people still don't seem to understand what it means. Like me, an older woman in my social Security age range, You may remember seeing "FICA"(?) as a deduction on your pay stub. I learned years ago that FICA meant SS. I didn't have the understanding that it also covered payments into "Medicare." In more recent times this information has been spelled out more clearly on pay stubs. In other words folks, these are programs we have paid for, along with our employers who are required to match our contributions. So, double what you contribute is sured for you. ____________ that our money is somewhere earning interect, so there should be a lot. We receive reinbursements in the form of SS checks when we arrive at our _______________ age. In My case th

At Ease With Our Own

Brangler Oppossum (above) is the only thing gathering in these hills, my friends. (Originally published, July 23rd, 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