BFM on NPR’s Morning Edition

This morning I awoke to the sound of thunder and went back to sleep. Then the clock radio clicked on, and I tried fighting not going back to sleep, and then a story caught my groggy attention. Listen to local resident and NPR reporter, Neda Ulaby’s report about our dear Bloomingdale Farmer’s Market. You’ll hear the voices of other locals Ted Mcginn, Robin Schuster, and Scott Roberts.
It is amazing how the area (though not in the TC I’m claiming it) got this wonderful market. It’s got kids and dogs and so far so good with that. I’ve said it before the market has a great atmosphere, that I haven’t experienced at some of the other DC markets. Dupont has a lot of great stuff, but OMG is it crowded. I ran into one in Georgetown it was rinky-dink, but then again it was closing down when I showed up. and the farmer’s market (this was a while ago so it may have changed) near the Department of Ag, felt lacking. And Penn Quarter’s farmers market, where I’m heading to after work, is good, but not the same.
I’m still loving the strawberries that are in season. I still have some waiting for turning into a strawberry spread, loosely based on Copper Pot‘s recipe seen on Fox 5. I halved all the ingredients, including the time but except the vanilla, and use the spread to make strawberry ice cream. The jellies Stefano Frigerio (Mr. Copper Pot) sells is firmer, more jell-y. Didn’t see him last week at BFM, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for him this weekend as his pasta sauces are wonderful.


I was going to write about the power outage in the eastern part of Shaw this morning, but I got an email through my local professional organization about a supposed deal between The Generations Network, Inc.(TGN), the company behind Ancestry.Com and the DC Archives.
Jonetta Rose Barras reports and is critical of the proposed deal. In short TGN wants to digitize DC Archive material and make it available for a fee on its website. Considering the poor access to materials at the DC Archives now, I think it is a good thing. Compared to the Library of Congress, National Archives, Washingtonia Room at the MLK library, and the Washington Historical Society’s archive/library, places that have posted hours, available staff and are set up to deal with researchers, the access is poor. Paid access is a step up from nearly no access. Better would be free access.
And Ancestry does provide some free access. There is the Social Security Death Index, which is helpful in finding dead DC tax payers. The Jewish Burial Index (DC) is free and the 1880 Census is free, with registration. Then again, one could just go to an institution where they have a subscription to the service and access all the databases there.
But the claim that the “‘physical and intellectual control’ of the city’s vast repository of historical records would be relinquished to an outside entity.'” as some elements of wrong in it. At worst DC would be loaning records for the purpose of digitizing. At best the digitization would be on-site or local. But once the digitization is done, the records go back on the shelves. The District of Columbia isn’t the first, and won’t be the last local goverment to have their records digitized by TGN.
I use Ancestry for work and research and the database has been very helpful, making quick work of some time consuming searches. And to make even my work easier by adding more D.C. items would make me so happy.

Be aware of your surroundings

Even as a blogger I do value the MSM (main stream media*)for reporting on things beyond my general vicinity and digging deeper on things that are going on around me, but lately I think MSM has lost its ever loving mind. The message I’ve been getting is that nobody getting lent any money, my bank is going to go bust, and the world as we know it is going to end.
Take a deep breath and try to match that with what you can ascertain yourself, match that with what is going on around you. I know Poets and Bustboys just opened up a location this week near the Shiney Swanky Safeway, a Safeway mind you with a nut bar, a counter just for nuts. That does not signal a bad economy. Yes, there are foreclosures and short sales on my street. However, several of them involve investors, and there are many more failed flips several blocks around. Their stupidity, bad judgement, and poor cash flow makes me as sympathetic to them as I am to SUV drivers who are suffering due to the high cost of gas.
My bank, unless they are lying to me, is not going to shut down. I belong to a credit union. A boring, fuddy duddy, pain in the butt to get to, non-sub-prime credit union. And the credit union is still offering car, boat, student and house loans, as well as Wachovia, were I keep my food/mad money allowance. When the Wachovia branch at Dunbar and Penn Quarter shut down or cut back, then I’ll be concerned. I also own some shares of Wachovia, but their value is pretty much the equivalent of dinner for two at Equinox.
I also have stocks (also the equivalent of dinner for two at a good restaurant, tax, tip and wine included) in Pepco and Washington Gas. I’ll worry about them if I can’t have lights and there is no heat this winter. And we all have no light or heat then the price of the stocks are the least of our worries.
What of development in Shaw? Well considering all other sorts of other things can stall that, like the developer saying the community can’t agree on what design of ugly the library should be, being one example. Or a crazed puppet-regime ANC, throwing a wrench in the works. Or Jemal doesn’t feel like it. Or insane taxes on an arts venue.
Take a deep breath. Take a good look at your surroundings. Take off your ipod buds and hear what’s going around you, on your street, in the store as you shop. Get off the damned phone and be observant, factor in that people are still driving (like maniacs), they are still fixing up their yards, or still ignoring them like before. People are still walking around, going out, still illegally parking, still doing stuff that does not signal the end of the world.
If you are aware of your surroundings not only do you reduce your risk of being a crime victim, you also may keep yourself sane.

*If I fall into the jargon abrev. trap bring my attention to it.

Blogging Just Do It

I really enjoyed sitting on the Roosevelt Institution’s Expo panel on blogging. I was concerned because the other panelists were from nationally focused liberal group/organized blogs, and I’m so not. The crowd was good and they had good questions.
Something that was touched upon in the Q&A, regarding breaking into blogging. I was in disagreement with the other bloggers, and maybe that disagreement may be rooted in our different purposes for blogging and audiences. What I heard in their answers was a need for organizations/ organized blogs like and to bring up young bloggers, and supporting minority, gay/lesbian, and feminist voices because blogging takes time and money. Annually, this blog costs me between $75 to $135 a year, and that’s only because I host it on my own site (not blogspot, which is free) and I have my own domain. So I don’t see the barrier to breaking into blogging as a big deal, so I quote Nike and say “Just Do It”.

Blogging is easy/Writing is hard
Getting a Blogger or LiveJournal or other freebie blog account, grabbing time on your own or a library’s computer to bang out a few thoughts is the easy part. What to bang out is the hard part, and for the time being I have inspiration and a pinch of talent. This wonderful neighborhood with all its ups and downs inspires me to write.
Writing is a talent. I’m not writing this to toot my horn, as I consider myself a mediocre writer, but I’ve seen some pretty bad writing (such as academic/ technical journals) to not take readable writing for granted.

Serve a need/ Scratch a niche
Besides being somewhat readable, I’ve got an audience. ‘Cause an audience would explain why my server rates went up. However my stats tell me half of you are looking for a Thai X-ing menu. [note- Taw needs to send me an updated menu, his prices went up]. So my niche, the unserved need I fill is for people looking for good Thai with a personal touch on Florida Ave. And then there is that other thing about writing about east of 9th St Shaw and other neighborhood observances. There’s still room in the niche and I’m sure there are other DC neighborhoods with little/no coverage from the MSM in need of good storytellers.

…and lastly

On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dumpy black chick
“We need to give voice to [fill in the blank],” tends to raise an eyebrow with me, since I am aware of there being at least a couple of good blogs written by at least 2 of the supposedly voice-less groups mentioned. Maybe I have a different interpretation of “a voice”. So if anyone cares to gently explain it to me, I’d be happy to hear what is meant.
I am an African-American woman and I think I have a voice. It’s just that I’m vocalizing another aspect of my being and that is of bitchy, broke, homeowner in the hood. There are several other bloggers who lend more ink/ pixels to chronicling
life as a black woman in a way, better than I could ever try. Several enough that the conservative black woman in Washington, DC POV is also out there in the blogosphere.
Though I use “I” a lot in my posts, I don’t really talk about myself in a descriptive way. You may also notice I don’t put up pictures of myself (there are several reasons for that, including my discomfort with taking pictures with people in them). So understandably in the early years of InShaw, people thought I was a gay white guy. Nope. That may of had something to do with the demographics of noticeable Shaw newbies /new comers and blogging in the early 2000s.
Nope. I’m just a black chick with a blog, a house, and wacky neighborhood.

Reporters get better template

Washington Post Staff Writer Paul Schwartzman has written articles about transitional neighborhoods before and my complaint was that it worked on a flawed template. The old template was old-timers black and good, newcomers white upper class and bad. I’m seeing improvement in Post articles, such as the one Mr. Schwartzman has in today’s paper, “Reality Checkpoint.
I particularly liked the beginning quote (print version) from resident Lisa Oksala “The murders and the checkpoint aren’t the definition of my daily experience. It’s a neighborhood, and we have issues. But it’s a community, and we’re sticking.” And there are other comments from residents, and a variety at that, who illustrate a more hopeful and positive view in light of a dark view outsiders may have upon reading about the police checkpoints in the area. The villain in this story is crime and violence, which oppresses both the poor and middle class. The best quote is from day care owner Dorethea Richardson, “I know what a bad neighborhood is, and this is not it.”
There is only one thing I take issue with in the article are the words attributed to Peter Tatian of the Urabn Institute. Though not a quote, it is written that he

said that rising home prices across the city and low interest rates pushed a wave of middle and upper-income buyers into Trinidad and diversified a neighborhood that has long been almost entirely black.

Black is not a synonym for poor and that sentence gives me that impression. It would have been better if it read … a neighborhood that has long been almost entirely lower income (or poor or some other adjective) and black.

There is a mention & pix of ANC rep/Frozen Tropic’s blogger for the area.

Fun with ProQuest and the Historical Washington Post

Rob Goodspeed covered this use of the word “gentrification” and its use in the Post in his blog here. So I cannot even improve upon his work. However I can make some observations and provide a bibliography.
For the years 1970-1979, a few:

“Londoners vs. Developers” by Jerry Edgerton. Mar 25, 1973. p. C2
“Will ‘Saved’ Cities Mean Suburban Slums?; Mr. Peirce writes a syndicated column, on the problems of cities and states” by Neal R. Peirce. Jul 30, 1977. p. A15
“Gentrification of London; Working-Class Residents Vie With ‘Colonizers’ For Housing Working Class Vying For ‘Gentrified’ Homes” by Clay Harris, special to The Washington Post. Nov 5, 1977. E1
“Harlem Woos Tourists in Bid to Level Ghetto Barriers” by Lee Mitgang Nov 8, 1978 A30
“The Future Is Behind Us: Make Way for the Past; Architectural Outlook for the ’80s: Make Way for the Past” by Wolf Von Eckardt. Dec 30, 1978 C1
“Opportunity for a Livable City; The Urban and Suburban Choices Facing Washington’s New Mayor” by Wolf Van Eckardt Jan 13, ’79 B1
“The Motown Model; GM Spruces Up Its Neighborhood General Motors’ Motown Model” by Wolf Von Eckardt Jan 20, 1979 D1
“Going ’round in (Logan) Circles; How a Modest Dream Was Transformed Into a Bureaucratic Nightmare: Cityscape ‘Gentrification’ and Logan Circle” by Wolf Von Eckardt Feb 3, 1979 D1
“Preservation Is Not the Enemy of the Poor; Preserving Cities For Poor Residents” by Beverly A. Reece Feb 10, 1979 E29
“Measuring Change in the Cities” Feb 22, 1979 A16
“Mayor Voices Housing Concerns” by Blair Gately, special to The Washington Post Mar 15, 1979 DC5

A few articles in my own ProQuest gentrification query were written by Wolf Von Eckardt, who did the art & architecture beat. January 13, 1979 in “Opportunity for a Livable City” (B1, B4) he has hopes for the new mayor, Marion Barry. As a candidate it seems that Mr. Barry was not fond of the ‘rehabilitation movement’ taking place in the city by the middling classes. Von Eckardt wrote:

In the first place, displacement due to rehabilitation may not be as widespread as Mayor Barry was told. His task force said approximately 150,000 families were in danger of being thrown out of their houses. The Census Bureau just told us that the city lost population. Could it be that many of these endangered families have displaced themselves– to Prince George’s County?

I’m also noticing in the results for the mid to late 1970s an anixety about the growth of suburbs. Which leads me to think that some people are ‘renovating’ and moving into economically depressed areas and there are more getting the heck outta D(odge) C(ity), either to PG, MoCo, or NoVA.

My 1st letter to the editor and it isn’t about Shaw

Strangely, you never know what will set you off to put ink on dead tree to write to the publishers of another dead tree.
I’m annoyed with the Washington Post and I wrote an actual letter to the editor and it isn’t about my usual pet peeves with the Post, such as the damned thing not showing up on my doorstep. And it isn’t the Post using the same stupid gentrification template. Nor is it having to do anything with the neighborhood, or the city for that matter. It’s about money.
In their graphic for their Sunday December 16th article in the Business section “State of the Household”. Their graphic pissed me off. Why? Because they counted Employer contributions for pensions, insurance, Social Security & Medicare as part of the average household’s disposable income.
I consider disposable income any money that can be spent on booze and male strippers. Or in my sister’s case, donuts and Disney World. I can’t spend my employer’s contribution to my retirement or their part of my health insurance on a 50 year old port. Thus, it is not disposable income to me. Unless there is some technicality in the definition of disposable income that I’m not aware of.
Another thing that pissed me off enough to write a letter to the editor, no explanation of the Government social benefits that are a part of my disposable income. According to their graphic the average household gets $14,774 in government benefits, which is a part of their or my disposable income. Outside of my salary and a single bonus, I haven’t received this extra government funding to stock my personal bar or my trophy husband hunt fund. This may once again be related to a different definition of ‘disposable income’. I don’t deny that I benefit from a government funded police that may or may not show up when I call 911 depending on if the dispatcher is in a foul mood, or a school system that at least keeps kids off the streets for a few hours in the day. However, those benefits, I can’t spend on liquor and thus, once again fails my personal definition of ‘disposable income’.

Off topic: Freedom of Speech?

If you can’t lash out at some political SPAM as part of your first amendment right to the freedom of expression, especially when you belong to the 5th column, then truly the terrorists have won.
Washington Post music critic got some SPAM from the staff of…. well guess:

Must we hear about it every time this Crack Addict attempts to rehabilitate himself with some new — and typically half-witted — political grandstanding? I’d be grateful if you would take me off your mailing list. I cannot think of anything the useless Marion Barry could do that would interest me in the slightest, up to and including overdose. Sincerely, Tim Page.

I don’t completely disagree but the moral side of me tells me that I shouldn’t wish for nor be unmoved by an overdose. Not wishing for anyones death. But really, if we can’t call our elected leaders nasty names then the democracy is in grave danger. And if you can’t blast spammers, including political spammers who apparently didn’t blind copy (I’m taking a guess here if Page hit ‘reply all’ then it should have just gone to the sender and those cc’d), then I don’t know what.
Yes, Page shouldn’t have sent the reply from his work email, where he received the offending email, there he was in the wrong. But is it a firing offense? Heck naw. An offense deserving leave? Admin. or leave without pay? Admin. with pay, for a few days, with flowers and a gift basket, maybe.
There is more here too, apparently Mr. Barry’s staff is dismissive regarding bloggers.

The Washington Post finally gets it

Praise be to G-d, they lost the ‘neighborhood change’ template all the reporters keep reusing to describe places like Shaw and Bloomingdale. In today’s Post there is an article by DeNeen L. Brown “Change is Clear” in the Style section, page C1 about change in the Bloomingdale neighborhood centering around the image of Windows Cafe. The old template goes, setting black poor neighborhood, evil wealthy white people come in change things and displace the black people, tsk, tsk, tsk, and throw in the word ‘gentrification’ in a disparaging manner.
This article acknowledges that the changes have been made by both blacks and whites. Even better a black gay (okay I’m assuming gay) couple who restored a house are quoted. The whites in the story, have been in the hood for about 15 years, hard to call them newcomers. One of them, Scott Roberts, 52 year old SPF 10,000 guy, has some of the best quotes, which I may write about later. Really, those quotes are money, gems.
Good job all.