Come and listen to the world’s most boring history paper

I’m presenting my paper at the Wash DC Historical Studies conference this Saturday. I’ve read my paper and the middle portion is boring. Dullsville. I’m working on making an exciting speech, based on the boring paper.
Why boring? I have a lot of so-in-so lived next door to so-in-so who was black/white/ Irish. Going individually, house to house is more exciting when mapping it out and seeing the neighborhood as a whole. The Truxton Circle of 1880 was a sparsely populated area. I say this because there were blocks with no one on them, or sections of blocks that are empty. This changes by the 20th century, but the 1900s+ aren’t covered in this paper. Gonna have to wait a few more years for the 20th century.
I’ll probably post the paper and all the images that don’t want to print on the &^%! printer, after the conference, on the web. If anyone with any editing skills wants to read it, e-mail me and tell me what kind of editing you do.

Halloween II: Curse of the signs

Some people have their yards done up for Halloween. I don’t. So I’m going to make a sign this year to say “yes, I have candy” because last time groups of trick or treaters weren’t sure if I was a candy house. I know they are definitely going to hit L&D’s house because they’ve got the whole spider webbing and lights going on, and nothing screams “hey kids, candy here” like that. Me. A measly sign.
Right now I debating wording and if I should have another sign for when I run out. As far as the 1 candy for no costume policy, that will be in the “small print”.
Then the other problem is what to use as tape. Duct tape might take off paint and painters tape might not hold. Well it only needs to stay up for 2-3 hours.
Talking with some other neighbors I picked up these miss-matched ideas:
1. Leave your porch light on and all the lights on the 1st floor on.
2. Don’t present the whole bowl to the kids. Some have, in the past, tried to grab all the candy, leaving nothing for the next kid.
3. Remove all tripping hazards in your yard.
4. Yes, your dog is friendly and all the kids love him/her but maybe “buddy” should not answer the door too.
any others?


I’ve spoken with my neighbors about this but here’s the deal….
I like Halloween, kids dressing up, getting candy, good stuff, but there are kids that kill the holiday for me, the ones who don’t even try. These kids come in their street clothes with a plastic bag from Giant asking for candy.
Try dang it! Try!
Yo momma got make up? You can be a zombie, some dark eyeshadow all around your eyes, or lipstick that is the darkest of browns and a little powder to keep it stable, BAM! Zombie. Eyeliner to make stitches, rags from an old t-shirt round your head and red lipstick for blood, you’re an accident victim. Cardboard. Make a card board mask. What are you? I dunno, but at least you tried.
But there will be kids who don’t try. So you will only get 1, I say ONE, piece of candy. Kids who put some effort into it will get a handful of candy. Why do would I want to reward kids who are killing the holiday by not getting into the spirit of it?

Yes, I do know who lived there 100 years ago

I was going to wait a while before posting this but the comments in Frozen Tropic’s post got me going.
You know that stupid research project that I’ve been going on and on about? I’m done. Well with the 1880 portion of it, forty more years to go. But I’ve mapped them out and I can say that I know where the black folk lived, where the Irish immigrants lived, where the Germans lived and so on with 90% accuracy. I’ll give 10% that the census taker missed some people, then there is the census taker’s handwriting that made for some confusion and there is this one house I have no idea could have existed.
What does this have to do with gentrification? Well, when speaking of gentrification we tend to take on a belief that a certain neighborhood was always a certain way and this new crop of people moving in is a new thing. It isn’t a new thing, it is a very old thing. One group replaces another group. One group puts their fingerprint on a place, and sometimes that fingerprint lasts, other times it is swept away as if it were never there. Now the middle classes are invading Shaw. Who isn’t to say that in 50 to 100 years that Shaw won’t be a working class refuge?

Who’s buying up those condos

Well the Post answers the question who the heck is buying those gawd awfully expensive condos. Young wipper snappers in their 20s. Kids, interest only mortgages are bad for you. They’ll give you ulcers. The other problem is they seem based on an idea that you’ll be able to sell at a higher price when the payments balloon. Well if EVERYBODY is selling their luxury condo at the same time, then we get what they call a “buyers market.” A buyers market is what Jimbo is waiting for. Thankfully, it looks like the market is slowing down. It’s been a roller coaster ride and really, if it was going to keep going I was about to get a bout of motion sickness. I look forward to my house not appreciating beyond an amount I could ever dream of borrowing.
My suggestion, have you thought about maybe a house in PG County? Mt. Rainier, you got the Glut, there is that kooky traffic circle on Rt. 1, it’s bike friendly (ride through it all the time) and you can get 3,500 sq feet, a yard worth mowing, and a driveway for about $400K or less. Historic Hyattsville and Historic Riverdale, west of Rt. 1, also good deals, lotta house, Franklin’s nearby, and Rt. 1.

The heat is on

As a native Floridian I believe it is my G-d given right to walk around the house in a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. Well that belief is hitting up against my fear of high gas bills and after much wishing that the house wasn’t as cold as it was, I turned on the heat. The heated floor in the kitchen is on and the main boiler is on. I need to finish installing some weatherproofing measures to keep the cold out for another winter, and I believe some measures will include our friend, duct tape.
Winter, which on record I hate (I tell you seasons are overrated) makes me appreciate the radiators. There is nothing better than grabbing your coat, scarf and gloves that have been sitting on a radiator, putting them on before going outside. It’s that just out-of-the-dryer goodness.

Washington Post: Gentrification… stuff happens

Look what I found in my paper.
The long and short of it is that gentrification is not part of any great super plan by the Man. The author described how some folks lost their home because one place was mortgaged to the gills and had to be sold and another was lost because the owner did not pay his taxes. On my own block, several of the houses were investments for landlords, and let me remind people that landlords are not, I repeat not, non-profit social services. Landlords are landlords to make money and if a property gets to a point where it is more profitable to fix it up (or give the impression that it is fixed up) and sell it than rent it, what do you think they are going to do? Wait, I’m digressing a bit….
On my block, the instances that black residents were replaced by white residents:
1- Sold because they could get better housing for their family in the burbs
2- Sold because taxes were too high
3- Sold because house was too big of a burden and beyond owner’s means
4- Sold because property was a rental (investor)
5- Sold because of job/ significant other in another place
Basically the owners sold their property. Those who got really screwed were the renters. But still no solo Man with a plan. However, if you do find the Man, tell him to do something about North Capitol and if he could cut down on crime that would be good too.
Update: Fixed bad link

MPD 5D Awards Dinner & V.O. should quit now

The dinner went longer than I expected and creeped into my bedtime. Bad when you are the designated driver and being sleepy is as bad as drinking. Anyway, Truxton Circle was there representin’ and making our own fun.
Despite what the program said the mayor wasn’t there, neither was Linda Cropp, but Vincent Orange did show. Mr. Orange visited our table and spoke on matters that now escape me. I thought I saw Marie Johns, another person running for mayor, with that damned cell phone thingy in her ear.
At some point Mr. Orange left the dinner, which I can’t blame him if he wanted to get to bed at a reasonable hour. I know this not because I saw him walk out the door, but because the keynote speaker former chief Judge Eugene N. Hamilton mentioned it at least twice that Orange was not there. It just seemed like the judge was making a negative swipe to me. (note to TC table: Yeah and we were being all “positive”.)
Reading the Eckington listserv Orange apparently made a comment that, well, man should just quit the mayor thing now. Wednesday was it? There was a crime meeting and Orange showed up like a good council person should and reportedly made some comment that non-blacks should ask for more police as though black voices clamoring for more police on the streets would go unheard. Am I offended? Not really, as he might have been acknowledging a belief that white citizens carry more weight when complaining than black citizens. But being a public official and not only acknowledging that kind of thinking but giving it some weight, well that’s kinda offensive. Man, and it isn’t even 2006 yet.
But the thing that tells me Orange should just save his money and not run….. yard signs. I’m seeing the battle between Cropp and Fenty signs in folks yards. I have yet to see one Orange sign in someone’s yard. I don’t doubt that someone, somewhere has an Orange sign in their yard or window but I haven’t seen one.