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February 28, 2006

fat tuesday

photo capture from the upcoming horror movie SLiTHERPeople were asking about the photo of the zaftig lady here...it's from the upcoming horror film SLiTHER, which I'm eager to see in April.

Saturday's shopping trip for pants was somewhat upsetting as I had to face the reality of moving up in waist size with my dress pants and jeans. This winter has been generous to me, and the reality of having a size 30 waist is all but history. I think the last time I was that skinny was when I was unemployed, depressed and not eating. I probably shouldn't complain - for in my family when we are depressed we don't eat or gain weight. Others are not so lucky.

My current waist size is a result of being so overjoyed with life and eating regularly and well, that the pockets of my old pairs were screaming open in an 'o' of agony. As my shopping helper Seamus says, the dress pants pockets cannot look like 'The Scream' when you put them on. Much to my horror, I found through trial, error, and acidic critique that my comfortable jeans size is now 34", and in order to be roomy my dress pants must now be 36", dammit. I was keeping several pairs of size 30"-32" jeans and pants in my closet out of pure denial. I could not put them without suffering edema or some kind of circulatory disorder. I'm sure a season of rugby will trim some of the chunk off again, but every year rugby cuts off less and less junk in my trunk. Soon, I will cease being a wing or scrumhalf and one day they will just put me up in the forward pack with the props and flankers.

I think I need to lose my job, get depressed and struggle to pay bills again. That PB&J diet really worked wonders for fitting into those twink jeans.

Posted by jimbo at 12:08 PM | Comments (16)

February 26, 2006

misadventures of the amazing flying fag

Saturday was clothes shopping day with my friend Ghurielle (not Gurl) downtown before my workout. More on waist size shock on Fat Tuesday, but it was a good time to replace some overly-tight and grungy-looking work pants. I had a nice workout afterwards, and loaded up my shopping bag string loops on the handlebars to head home. My gym bag was too packed to hold all of my clothes.

Now normally when I haul my groceries home on my bike from Safeway, their standard-sized bags hang nicely from my handlebars, as long as I balance their weight correctly. Overly loaded, I am often mistaken for a crazy homeless person, particularly by certain bloggers who spot me late at night. On that note, I was also mistaken for a homeless person by yet another blogger one evening, standing there bearded in my bulky parka. I think I need more new clothes.

Anyway, with Gap bag hanging from my handlebars, I head north on 18th Street having left my gym on Connecticut Ave. in downtown DC. Crossing a very busy intersection by Starbucks, my entire bag of pants gets pulled into my front wheel spokes and brake array, stopping my bike completely. Yet I kept moving forward, flying over the handlebars and onto the asphalt. It must have looked spectacular, as the normally self-absorbed DC people rushed to me, gasping in horror. I was fine, when asked if I was alright, I had to answer, "I'm fine, but I think my new pants are RUINED!"

I really am fine, but a spoke broke off my front wheel, the rim of which is also bent beyond repair. I think the brakes are totalled as well. Those Gap pants are rugged!

Aside from a delayed opening forcing the DC bloggeratti to wait in the cold, Blowoff was a riot yet again last night. Too many bloggers to link on a morning where my homework is due, but I hear tell yet another blog is born.

Posted by jimbo at 12:40 PM | Comments (5)

February 24, 2006

A Message to Progressives from Darth Sidious

Darth Sidious cares nothing for the weak"My Dear Progressives:

I can feel the fear, the hatred, the rage in so many of you progressives from across the galaxy. I know you feel helpless. To let this turn to despair is weak, as your purported saviors, the Democrats, also have become. They are weak. Your current faction in power has embraced much that the Sith have to teach, leaving the rest of you weaklings far, far behind. Your feelings of powerlessness mean nothing to me, for you have so easily forgotten he feelings of those with power can be exploited. This includes manipulating the fears of those who have voted for you.

You must embrace the Dark Side to wipe them out - all of them! I can feel your anger. It gives you focus... makes you stronger! Always remember, anger is a living thing. Feed it and it will grow. The democracy you once thought you were serving no longer exists, and the Republic has become the very evil you were fighting to destroy. Now it is simply a matter of who controls the Republic. It could be you, but you wield lies as good as a pathetic padowan. You must learn to wield lies as you would a light sabre. And remember what is done in secret has great power. That would be a start for you weak progressives. You lack focus. Everything that has transpired has done so according the designs of those in power, and you can't even plan for tomorrow.

You could simply wait. The arrogance of those in power blinds them, makes them complacent as you had become before you lost control, and the cycle beins anew. I care not who is my next student. Only the strongest may join me to experience the full power of the Dark Side.

Focus your rage, your hatred, and transform your fear into POWER! Do it!"

XXOO,
Master Sidious

Posted by jimbo at 11:45 AM | Comments (3)

February 23, 2006

ginger kids beware

sure, I'll pull a newsletter outta my ass, lickety split!Work has been very hectic of late, and I haven't had much to write about anyway. At my job I am often expected to pull a Barbara Eden / I Dream of Jeannie trick now and then and shoot brochures, newsletters and graphics out of my ass at random times from the magical vacuum of my rectum. Apparently, a lot of my non-designer coworkers believe graphic design, writing and the printing cycle is an act of prestidigitation. Voila! It's that easy! There will be some educational efforts done on my part at the next meeting. I believe in educational campaigns, and perhaps sharing how I go about designing, producing and printing these objects will help. But there are always the Really Important Last Minute Emergencies around here too, which you can never prevent, especially on Fridays at 4:30pm. I hope people understand why I don't go out on Fridays to noisy smoky bars. I'm kind of worn out by 8pm on Friday and can't handle such sensory overload.

Woof woof woof...I'm crazy for the Ginger Kids this week. It's all about the redheads, Newfie curlers, etc., and like they say once you've gone red you can never go back. There seemed to be at least 5 readhead guys at the gym on Tuesday night, all shades of lovely red, sandy/orange or auburn...Daywalkers all, tormenting me with their fiery hotness.

Dogpoet is no Daywalker, but he's still adorable as heck, even standing next to archaeological remains. When he moves back to SF I'll set him up with this dreamboat and they'll be a dreamboat hottie couple.

Bob was once this close to Joan Rivers! Joan didn't seem to know what she was talking about. Time has been much kinder to Bob.

I got a super-sweet deal on a snowboarding jacket at the REI Winter Blowout Clearance sale. It's loaded with gadgetry, zippers and bells, and my new hiking boots came in too. I feel totally geared up, rugged and crunchy.

Blowoff on Saturday, D&D on Sunday. I'm kind of content to be home this weekend...I need to regenerate even more. I hope to maybe go buy some soil for my backyard garden projects if it's nice enough outside.

Thank you for all the dozens of identical e-mails regarding the Brokeback Mountain Shopping List and all the really, really funny videos for Brokeback to the Future and all that. Ha ha ha. And I'm still getting them almost daily! Really, I enjoy reading the same jokes over and over again, and no, I haven't seen this video and I'm sure it's really, really funny and I have to see this one!!! Of course no one else has sent me that other joke, so go ahead and send it again. Just keep forwarding those Brokeback e-mails and soon I'm going to go totally postal ! ! ! ! !

Posted by jimbo at 11:17 AM | Comments (11)

February 20, 2006

Olympic Curling is Totally Hot

brad gushue
Olympic curling has been on every morning now after 7am on the local USA channel 65. While team USA does not have a lot of hotties, I'm all aswoon for auburn-haired, 25 year-old ' Pride of Newfoundland and Labrador ' Canadian curling skip and hottie Brad Gushue.

And I have no idea what a 'skip' is in curling, but Brad is cute when he does it.

Posted by jimbo at 11:10 AM | Comments (4)

February 19, 2006

wild, wonderful (and cold) West Virginia

red-bellied newtred-spotted woodpeckerAfter a tough week at work I headed out with a few buddies to my friend's farm in West Virginia on Saturday. It was our intent to go skiing/snowboarding out there in Canaan Valley, but the balmy weather the week before had erased much of the natural snow, and a sudden cold front that came in Friday only guaranteed grainy manufactured snow, so we stayed in for the most part, kept wood on the fire, slept and went out for a few hikes. I even got my lumberjack on and chopped wood out back by the woodshed. I was pleased to find that I could still use an axe accurately. I still have all 10 fingers.

My host plans on tapping the sugar maples next week with his dad, and a few signs of spring were apparent with the forsythias threatening to bloom, and a few other trees budding here and there.

We hiked up the mountain and I managed to catch a red-bellied woodpecker on film, and even an eager red-spotted newt in a nearby pond. For the most part I caught up on sleep, enjoyed the silence, and even got to see some bright stars in the brisk night sky.

This web site is anathema to me...wax David Hasslehoff's furry chest! I declare fatwa on the site's creator, who dares to make sport of waxing the male physique.

Posted by jimbo at 10:33 PM | Comments (2)

February 17, 2006

like a cow shitting on a turntable

I saw Final Destination III last night and from a gore perspective it was a let-down, and certainly not as disturbing as I or II. Aside from the two Paris/Nicole girls who got fried in the tanning beds, and the guy who got his head smashed in the lat pull-down machine, most of the death set-ups were contrived and only mildly gory. Jeez, if yer gonna have a gorefest, show some GORE! Oh yeah, the nail-gun accident was pretty horrid too.

Speaking of gore, at first I regarded the Cheney Valentine's Day Massacre Shooting as not so much of a big deal, and that the media frenzy surrounding it was kind of silly and a result of a slow press week. Mistakes happen, and even my brother was shot by his dog on one hunting trip.

On the other hand, when you are a somewhat important political figure, you really should consider the impact sharing or not sharing information with the public. The shit-slinging I saw Mary Matlin do this week in defense of Cheney's silence was just pathetic. She was clearly called in for some severe damage control - watching her on TV was like seeing a cow take a dump on a turntable at Rave-level beats-per minute.

When I think about the current administration's actions and behavior I frequently wonder if their outrageously stupid acts are attributable to pure ignorance, or are their actions contemptuous of the common American? I'll have to go for the latter, as neither Bush nor Cheney are stupid, and they didn't get to where they are today by being ignorant fuckups. Adding Cheney's recent media mistake to his past acts of pure contempt - like wearing children's clothing to a Holocaust memorial service, and swearing on the floor of the U.S. Capitol - you start to get a very bad impression of this administration during this dark time in our history. They have theirs, and to hell with anyone else or what they think. We are simply fucked for the next 3 years, all of us, even the idiots who voted for them who deserve being sneered at from the Oval Office deeper into the bowels of poverty.

Really, if you are still an apologist for this administration you are either brain dead or a contrarian who exists just to piss people off.

Madonna's got a hernia. I too had hernia surgery, albeit in high school. You like get this big bulge down there, or your guts come out through your 'nads.

I am off to the friend's farm this weekend for some rest, relaxation and maybe some cross-country skiing in Canaan Valley, WV. My host recently threw his back out, and as a four-time thrown one I may encourage him to chill. Regardless it will be good to get out of town.

Posted by jimbo at 2:09 PM | Comments (3)

February 15, 2006

scruffiest week ever

God, it's been a good week for scruff, probably the best week in scruff coverage on the 'net for at least the next year or so:
eric, chris and jason - all hottie, all the time
It is fortunate that it has been a good week for scruff, considering it seems to be a slow week in the media - the other headlines are consumed with news about hunting accidents.

Updated With More Scruff 2/16:

- First, from Joe.My.God, a pictoral review of the Blarg Hop that happened last weekend in NYC featuring a super-scruffy picture of Eric and his DP. Eric has gold-medal scruff in the Men's Scruff Competition of the winter Olympics.

- Yesterday Jason Statham jumped off the cover of Men's Health to scruff me up as only he can. Props to Just Jared, who seems to be more on the ball with Scruffwatch that I am a lot of the time.

- And how could I leave out the overexposed and overhyped 'rebel' skiier Bode Miller. While this scrufftastic hottie is everywhere, I kinda question his status as 'rebel' considering how much time he's spent with EVERY magazine in the country getting his picture taken, and his rather well-designed website.

- Plus I think Alpine skiing Olympian Chip Knight is cuter than Bode, scruffier and often bearded.

- Former D.C. DoT head Dan Tangherlini appointed as interim Metro General Manager this week. Close-cropped bearded (borderline scruffy enough to qualify for Scruff Week), I think this adorkable and hard-working bureaucrat lives near me, as I've seen him on the platform at the U Street station a couple of times.

- And finally Towleroad takes a breather from yammering incessantly about that one movie and features some super-hot pics of Chris Evans. The pictures just turn my crank. But then again I can feel spring approaching and my crank is easily turned these days.

Could ScruffWeek possibly get any better? Thanks for all the Valentines and wishes y'all.

Posted by jimbo at 11:16 AM | Comments (9)

February 14, 2006

I Like Them Big and Stupid

"I Like Them Big and Stupid" by Julie Brown

jock sexWhen I need somethin' to help me unwind
I find a six foot baby with a one track mind
Smart guys are nowhere, they make demands
Give me a moron with talented hands
I go bar-hopping and they say last call
I start shopping for a Neanderthal

The bigger they come the harder I fall
In love 'til we're done then they're out in the hall

{Refrain}
I like 'em big and stupid
I like 'em big and real dumb
I like 'em big and stupid

What kind of guy does a lot for me
A Superman with a lobotomy
My fathers outa Harvard
My brothers outa Yale
But the guy I took home last night
Just got outa jail

The way he grabbed and threw me, ooh it really got me hot
But the way he growled and bit me, I hope he had his shots

The bigger they are the harder they'll work
I got a soft spot for a good lookin' jerk

{Refrain}

I met a guy, who drives a truck
He can't tell time but he sure can drive
I asked his name and he had to think
Could I have found the missing link
He's so stupid you know what he said
Well I forgot what he said, 'cause it was so stupid

The bigger they come the harder I fall
In love 'til we're done then they're out in the hall

{Refrain}

I like 'em big and real dumb
I like 'em big and stupid

Posted by jimbo at 7:16 AM | Comments (10)

February 13, 2006

cupid's little helper

Although tomorrow's nauseating holiday isn't bugging me as much as it normally does as a currently single person, I always try to do my part and at least be Cupid's Helper this time of year, and maybe try to set people up. I am a sappy romantic at heart, and I do take joy in bringing people together, and have had several long-term successes!

On one of my favorite 'dating' websites is a man with a profile named PunishDaHole. I gave PunishDaHole a resounding "I Like" wink for his descriptive profile name, sheer honesty, straightforwardness, and marketing genius. I mean, there really isn't any confusion about what this guy is looking for, is there? While I think I lack the girth and stamina to truly Punish His Hole, I do wish PunishDaHole a happy Valentine's Day. Gurl and I often try to match profiles on this particular site, and she found a match for PunishDaHole: My9HurtsYou. If My9HurtsYou is as advertised, he could punish the hole of his new lover and they would live happily ever after, as we wish them to be. My9HurtsYou, if you're out there, meet PunishDaHole. 'Hole, meet '9 and have at it.

Cupid's Tip Of The Day: Cell phone camera pics or webcam snapshots are not recommended for dating or tricking site pictures. They look like crap. Get a digital camera. Tell your friend to take your picture. Put up sharp, well-lit, high-resolution images where we can make out the details of your face, cock and chest fur patterns. I for one am a Resolution Queen.

Are you a savvy shopper and love someone who loves hiking? The craziest boot sale I've ever seen is going on at the Vasque product website. This style of hiking boot that I've worn for over 15 years is now going for $137, a full $50 less than the cheapest price I've paid for in the past. (Too late, I already bought mine). I highly recommend this boot, and it comes in black as well. I'll bet you could punish holes with this boot too, although I've never tried.

Armin Zoeggeler, lugeMy favorite woofy winter Olympian so far: Italy's Armin Zoeggeler, who delivered Italy's first gold medal in the games. Did anyone catch the heartwrenching drama of Men's Curling last night? Women's Curling was on this morning, featuring the Johnson twins from the Norway team. FIERCE competition for the U.S.! The outlook quote from the website read like something from my hometown paper:

"Dordi Norby of Norway has a record 77 victories in world competition and is one of only three skips to win back-to-back world championships. Four-time world champion Elisabeth Gustafson leads Sweden in the women's competition, and the U.S. team is led by national champion Kari Erickson..."

The curling team roster has several Cheeseheads, including one from Nekoosa, the paper mill town just south of my undergraduate college, and a woman from Rio, Wisconsin which is a two-hour drive from where I grew up.

DO NOT fuck with us Cheeseheads on the curling lanes!!! REPREZENT NEKOOSA!!!

PUNISH DA HOLE!!!

Posted by jimbo at 2:04 PM | Comments (3)

February 11, 2006

winter games

rosas calendarHomer sent me a calendar from Rosa's restaurant, a Tuscon institution. I just love knowing all the Mexican Catholic holy days, as there seems to be a Saint for every day of the week. Plus the Aztec imagery is just too precious. Last year's calendar featured a maiden offering up some sacred herbs to a priest, and this year features Eagle Warrior Cuauhtémoc (1496 - 1525), last emperor of the Aztecs, getting ready for battle. I will be going down there over Spring Break March 21-27 for some Baja beach time with Homer, and possibly my brother.

Yesterday my fishing and rugby buddy Matt and I went to Deep Creek, MD to Wisp resort for some time on the slopes. I snowboarded and he skiied, and it was fun as the runs weren't too crowded. Only 1 run was the least bit icy, and the weather was reasonable. My muscles are so unaccustomed to boarding from the long absence that I was only able to do about 3 hours of it before my legs were burning, but hopefully it'll be a good warm-up for another trip where I'll be in better shape for 'boarding. We spent a lot of time checking out D.I.L.F.s with their kids. There were many.

Then I got home in time for the opening cermonies for the winter Olympics in Torino. I love the opening and closing ceremonies and I usually am bawling by the time they are done, as I am a sucker for the whole community of man, world peace and passion of the sport sort of thing. Gorging myself on healthy portions of sap and cheese, I didn't find them as moving as Australia or Greece's ceremonies, but some eye-watering did occur. However when Yoko Ono came on I cried out loud in horror, "PLEASE DON'T LET HER SING!!!" Mercifully she only read lyrics from her late husband's writings, which was good. NBC promises to hold back on the formulaic and overly sappy athlete profiles this year, focusing more on the althletic events, God forbid. Maybe they were reading blog entries complaining about how tiresome the vignettes were in the Athens coverage.

Speaking of peace on Earth and the goodwill of man, I feel this man is the embodiment of Peace on Earth, as his fur-shrouded abdominal tattoo states. I would feel most at peace resting my head on his torso, and I would direct as much good will towards him as I possibly could.

We are promised snow this weekend in the area. Again, the newscasts are hysterical and promise The Day Ater Tomorrow-type conditions. Take the forecasts and reduce them by a third or a quarter at least, and you'll get a more realistic prediction of how it will really be. Disastrous weather sells big time here on the East Coast. So far it is only drizzling, as usual.

 


Posted by jimbo at 1:53 PM | Comments (12)

February 9, 2006

Gurl 911

Due to yesterday's fire two townhouses over, my bestest friend Gurl is now looking for a new home, possibly temporary, possibly not. The firemen had to hose down the burned home so much water actually flowed through to his basement unit, enough to make the place unliveable for the unforseen future. Drop me an e-mail if you have any leads on temporary (6-8 weeks) or long-term openings in DC.

Posted by jimbo at 3:39 PM

February 8, 2006

bogus "church" at 1821 15th Street, NW burns

The decaying home at 1821 Fifteenth Street, N.W. burned today, and was apparently too unsafe for firefighters to battle the flames from the inside. I lived in the basement unit two townhouses down from the place for several years. After I moved out, my bestest friend Gurl moved into my unit. Between my old place and the now-burned home lived a gay couple who kept an impeccable front and back yard, and were constantly kvetching about their neighbor at the West end of the 1400 block of Swann Street, NW. I called them Mr. & Mrs. Gladys Kravitz. Eventually the owner of the decaying home, Mr. Joseph Howard, did clean out the garbage, appliances and broken windows out from his front yard, but otherwise never lifted a finger to maintain the property in any way while either me or Gurl lived there. Raccoons and possum lived in his attic and occasionally visited my back yard. The trees grew so grand in his yard that their roots reached through two yards into mine. He felt the need to padlock the barred windows, and surrounded his property with a chain-link fence, all the while claiming it was a "church."
Sign in front of 1821 15th St., NW
Sadly not everyone is safe, especially the neighbors. Now they're homeless because of this "church".

If it wasn't unsafe before, it's now been officially deemed unsafe for living, but I wonder about Mr. & Mrs. Kravitz' home, as there's surely been damage to their house too. Gurl is staying with Chrisafer tonight, as his door has been sealed since the firemen had to enter his house by force to ensure it wasn't burning either. He will be living elsewhere for at least a couple of weeks. Apparently the owner was out grocery shopping while his house burned.
1821 15th St., NW
Neither of the news articles about the house mention that Mr. Howard evaded paying taxes from 1970 to 1999 claiming tax exemption under the guise of being a church. A May 14, 1999 City Paper article quotes a letter sent to the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue by concerned neighbors:

"Since July 1970, the property located at 1821 Fifteenth Street, N.W. has been fraudulently and erroneously recorded on the District of Columbia's tax rolls as a tax-exempt church property," says an unsigned letter sent to the agency as well as to members of the D.C. Council and the mayor's office. "Neighbors of this property would definitely know if religious services of any type were being held on the premises....Over the past several years, none of the neighbors residing near 1821 Fifteenth Street, N.W. have ever witnessed any other humans entering or exiting the property at 1821 Fifteenth Street, N.W. other than the owner of the property, Mr. Joseph Howard."

I never saw any congregation coming, going, or gathering at his address either. However, a site visit by a tax assessor in 1999 put his home back on the tax rolls. But I don't know whether Mr. Howard actually paid them or not.

Since he never did a thing to improve the property, I'm guessing it was faulty wiring or a sketchy home-heating unit that caused the fire. I hear that there was a lot of newspaper in the house and it went up like a torch. I know he was a bit of a collector. You could tell the house was once beautiful and could have been a nice place to live, and I always thought it was pretty sad that such a property was allowed to decay by both its owner and the city. But, since the place was a "church," in DC this pretty much translates as untouchable by the law, or what passes for it in this city.

Perhaps if tax or home inspection laws were enforced with this property the home could have been made both liveable and presentable. But instead it sat as an eyesore for decades, and eventually this "accident" has destroyed the neighbor's home as well. I'm guessing the guy is broke and a lawsuit is pointless, but I'm hoping somebody gives it a good try. If it can be determined that Mr. Howard maintained a fire hazard or the fire was intentional so he could again avoid paying taxes, perhaps there will be some compensation for the folks next door.

I've copied the May 14, 1999 City Paper article about Mr. Howard and his property below, entitled "Never on Sundays (But Intermittently on Fridays)" By Elissa Silverman.

City Paper
May 14, 1999
District Line
"Never on Sundays (But Intermittently on Fridays)"

The Lord works in mysterious ways at one Dupont Circle property.
By Elissa Silverman

Dupont Circle's eastern edge rivals any urban neighborhood for holiness. Churches of every imaginable denomination monopolize neighborhood street corners, like bars or panhandlers in other aging cities: Fifteenth Street Presbyterian, Free Evangelistic, Universalist National Memorial, St. Luke's Episcopal, and St. James Apostle—to name just a handful—all worship within three-tenths of a mile of each other. Dupont residents, as well as their neighbors in Shaw and Logan Circle, regularly complain that area streets become parking lots for parishioners every Sunday.

In the last few months, however, some homeowners near 15th and Swann Streets NW have raised Cain about a church that generates no gridlock whatsoever: Missions to the 21st Century, "an interfaith, multicultural church" founded in 1969, according to a white wooden sign planted on the grounds of 1821 15th St. NW. Another large billboard on the property identifies the location as the home of the First Aframerican Church Episcopal: "By making the world safe for Black people, making the world safe for All people," the sign declares.

Aside from the two signs, though, Missions to the 21st Century hardly resembles a traditional house of prayer. Its sanctuary is a seemingly derelict historic row house at the intersection of 15th and Swann. The corner lot is landscaped with overgrown weeds and an eclectic assortment of large glass plates, supermarket shopping carts, wooden benches, and other, smaller items. And a padlocked chain-link fence surrounding the property keeps out whatever wayward souls come searching for spiritual solace.

It's one hell of an eyesore in this rapidly gentrifying part of the city. So this spring, some of Mission to the 21st Century's neighbors failed to turn the other cheek. The neighbors brought the church to the attention of the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue, arguing that it is a ruse for an elaborate tax scam.

"Since July 1970, the property located at 1821 Fifteenth Street, N.W. has been fraudulently and erroneously recorded on the District of Columbia's tax rolls as a tax-exempt church property," says an unsigned letter sent to the agency as well as to members of the D.C. Council and the mayor's office. "Neighbors of this property would definitely know if religious services of any type were being held on the premises....Over the past several years, none of the neighbors residing near 1821 Fifteenth Street, N.W. have ever witnessed any other humans entering or exiting the property at 1821 Fifteenth Street, N.W. other than the owner of the property, Mr. Joseph Howard."

Testimony from neighbors and a site visit by a tax assessor put the property back on the tax rolls after three decades. Howard sees his neighbors' punctiliousness as a crusade of another sort. "Real estate in D.C. has experienced a type of ethnic cleansing. Serbs do it with guns. Here we do it with money and code enforcement," says Howard, who graduated from the Howard University School of Divinity—then known as the School of Religion—in 1970. "I find their actions and attitudes despicable."

Last Friday night, the front porch light at 1821 15th St. NW flickered, and a basement light illuminated the debris scattered around Howard's front yard. The iron gate at the front door was flung open. But the chain-link fence surrounding the yard remained padlocked and the front door closed, notwithstanding the sign notifying passers-by of scheduled church services that evening for 8:30 p.m.

From 8 to 9 o'clock, not even one parishioner showed up to attend services. Traffic had been equally light the prior week, as well.

"That's when I was late," explains Howard in his distinguished, scholarly tone. We're meeting in a coffee house in Adams Morgan, since Howard has politely declined a request for an interview at his church. Dressed in a gray wool sports coat, white shirt frayed at the collar, plain blue tie, and orthopedic shoes, Howard looks more like a neatly barbered modern-day Frederick Douglass than tax-cheat real estate mogul Leona Helmsley. At times, the interview seems like office hours with that emeritus professor who doesn't receive too many visits from students—but makes the most of those who do drop by. "I came and unlocked the gate a little late....You cannot make people come to church, though," Howard says.

Like many black ministers, Howard considers the church not only a calling but a family tradition. He grew up in Baltimore, where his grandfather served as minister of the Payne African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. After working as a Spanish teacher in the D.C. and New York City public school systems, Howard decided to go down the spiritual path and enrolled in Howard University's School of Religion in his 40s.

Howard remained a teacher and ministered only part-time even after becoming ordained by the AME church. He still commutes between New York and Washington, he says, though he spends more time in D.C. these days.

Howard says he conceived Missions to the 21st Century—then only the 20th Century—after taking a course about the urban church in divinity school. Howard recalls that the formative text of the class was Martin E. Marty's Suburban Captivity of the Church. "Big churches were not meeting the needs of poor people in general," says Howard. "The urban church has to be on the cutting edge of what's happening in society."

Howard says he ministers mainly to the poor, the elderly, and members of his community who seek a more active spiritual journey. From his description, the services sound more like Quaker meetings—with their emphasis on dialogue and social action—than like Southern Baptists' call and response. "Karl Barth said you have to interpret the world with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other," Howard says. Each Friday night of the month caters to a different ministry: The first Friday is for the First Aframerican Church Episcopal, the second focuses on "Missions to Americans," the third is the "Romero/King Institute," and the fourth emphasizes "Community Missions."

All of his services, Howard says, take an interfaith, multicultural approach and a firm stand against violence. "I don't want to get radical, but I know ministers who have advised young people to go into the military to straighten their lives out," notes Howard. "Come on. The Bible clearly says, 'Thou shalt not kill.'"

Some neighbors, though, believe Howard ministers to a congregation of one. "It's clearly not a church," declares Damon Moglen, who lives down the block, at 1441 Swann, but denies any knowledge of the neighborhood witch hunt. "He's running a good scam."

"I've never seen anyone going into that building ever," says Michael Goltzman, who also lives on the 1400 block of Swann and also says he was not part of the anonymous letter-writing campaign against the church. "There is also a church across the street [from Missions to the 21st Century] where you see people in the building on Sundays, on Tuesday nights. You can hear when the choir practices—you know that it's a church."

"St. James is very primal. They like to sing hymns, and they pray a lot," says Howard about the neighbor, St. James Apostle Church, located across Swann at 1819 15th St. NW. He also points out that on Sunday mornings, nearby streets become filled with the big, expensive cars of St. James' parishioners. "We are more ethical," Howard explains.

Howard hastens to add that St. James has also suffered condemnation from busybody neighbors—for the very same evening choir practices Goltzman cites as evidence against Missions to the 21st Century. "One of the complaints against us is that they don't see anyone coming in and out," says Howard. "They make too much noise; we don't seem to make enough."

Howard admits that his house might be a little unseemly—and not just to people who equate property values with godliness.

Longtime residents, though, look beyond the Sanford and Son-like exterior. "I live next door, so if it doesn't bother me, I don't understand how it's an issue," says Meg Kirkwood, who has lived across the alley from Howard for seven years.

Howard's nosy neighbors, however, have several regulatory provisions on their side. For starters, Missions to the 21st Century has not applied for a certificate of occupancy from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs—paperwork required for any public meeting space. The department last issued a certificate for the property on Nov. 20, 1957, when the building functioned as a rooming house.

When the tax assessor from the Office of Tax and Revenue visited the church this spring, he found "no evidence" that religious activities occurred on the property. Officials with the agency initially decided to put Howard back on the tax rolls and charge him for the maximum in back taxes under the law, which totals nearly $10,000.

So far, Howard has successfully battled the tax man. According to neighbors, officials with the city's tax agency wavered when faced with the moral quandary of labeling an elderly black minister a fraud. Chief Assessor of the District of Columbia James Vinson agreed to keep Missions to the 21st Century tax-exempt if Howard submitted a letter listing his congregants. Vinson has yet to receive the letter. Until it finds its way to his office, Vinson notes, Howard remains in arrears.

Howard says the list is in the works. And a few of Howard's neighbors have offered their names for the roster. "I know that he's getting new members to his church," says Consuelo Newman, who lives across 15th Street from Howard and identifies herself as a member of his congregation. "He's reorganizing within the last year or so, so there hasn't been a lot of activity."

"He's a very honest, very ethical person who feels very strongly about his church," Newman adds. "If he's done something erroneous, he just hasn't followed up on the proper guidelines."

A fire last year caused significant damage to the church building, Howard explains, so he often brings his ministry outside the chain-link fence. "We've had informal meetings at our house," says Roger Boyd, who also lives across the street from Howard and first met the minister when he lent him a pair of pants after the fire. "I wouldn't call it a denomination. It's an exchange of ideas....My description is more of a kaffeeklatsch."

Boyd explains that Howard generally chooses a topic of conversation for the service and the assembled members discuss it openly. At a meeting last year, Boyd recalls, Howard showed a film on U.S. policy and the Hawaiian islands.

"Is it like the church across the street?" Boyd asks. "No. Is it ritualized? No."

More than taxes and theology, though, it's the fact that Howard's church is slightly more unkempt than other houses of worship that makes some neighbors seethe. Goltzman claims that at one point, Howard used to hang plastic Safeway shopping bags filled with trash on the chain-link fence. And another time, Howard hung up a sign on his property declaring it "Ratovia." "Like the country of rats," Goltzman explains.

Howard disputes Goltzman's first accusation and calls the "Ratovia" sign an innocent joke. "I'm a collector. I come out of the waste-not, want-not school," Howard explains with a smile. In March, housing inspectors visited the property. Despite the mess, they didn't declare it a nuisance. Howard says that he is slowly cleaning up the yard.

As for the overgrown shrubs, Howard believes they evoke the black church of old, in the hush-arbor tradition. "He likes it that way because he thinks it's pretty," says Newman. "He likes that it looks in the middle of the woods."

"You judge a neighbor for his actions. Joe's been a good neighbor," argues Kirkwood. "He won't make Martha Stewart's monthly magazine, but neither will I."

"If you like the person, he's an eccentric," Boyd adds. "If you don't like him, he's a kook." CP

Posted by jimbo at 8:47 PM | Comments (8)

February 6, 2006

sing me a lullaby, surfer daddy

SUBMIT TO THE COACHCoach Daddy Bill Cowher fared well on Sunday, or so I heard. I lost what little interest I have in football when the Packers fell out of the race. Bill's hot schnoz, 'stache and game face was the only thing that would have made me watch, but I was busy playing City of Heroes at the time.

The date with Orkin Man went well last night, but I advise you not chase down a Dayquil with a Cosmo during a date. The math for settling the bill was a great challenge, and I'm afriad I looked retarded. A friend of mine had mentioned he too would be going on a date that night, but neither of us gurls bothered to check notes on the location - we both ended up in booths next to each other at Duplex. 'Doh!

duuuudeHairy-chested surfer dude, brand new daddy, and musician Jack Johnson is here to sing you a lullaby, and other tunes from the Curious George soundtrack. Faced with the challenge of giving a voice to the mute monkey, this dreamboat fares well. Sing me a lullaby, Daddy.

I've tried surfing, but the waves never seem to be ready for me. The last time I tried it I just floated for a while and watched birds. I think I'd rather be under the waves than on them.

And who is this woofer getting a beard trim from Letterman?
some woofy guy

Posted by jimbo at 9:35 PM | Comments (7)

All of this has of this has happened before. All of this will happen again.

President RoslinBureaucrats fear having to spend more time with other bureaucrats. So in dealing with a troublesome task at work involving a local megalomanic tyrant and his fiefdom, I pulled out the Bitch Stick this week and whapped said blowhard upside the head with the threat of a meeting with a higher-up for a good talking-to. That shut him up right quick. I’ve worked in the Federal government for years, bitches...don’t EVER try to out-red-tape me, you mere State bureaucrat, or I’ll get all President Laura Roslin on your asses.

I have my very first Internet Stalker! More news at 11…this guy is a frakkin’ WEIRDO – with a political agenda no less! Let me make one thing clear here - if any of you don’t get the “jimbo” part of http://www.jimbo.info/weblog/ then you need to move along. I carry no one else’s torch but mine. The comment section is not for political campaign rhetoric, especially when it’s off-topic.

Speaking of rhetoric...GOP Chair and Big Faggot Ken Mehlman controls the tone for the next election expertly. This is what the Democrats need to learn – take the offensive and quit being a bunch of spineless wussies. Control and own the rhetoric before it owns you.

$2.8 Trillion is this much:
$2,800,000,000,000

Reminder: Back Inna Day none of the bloggers wanted to sign a book deal or be bought by a multinational and get paid for writing or regurgitating gossip and news. People just wrote about stuff, missspelled and used bad grammer, and wernt concerned about becoming the biggest Count Snarkenstein's Monster on the block. A blog does not have to be political, nor does it have to be written properly - it sometimes just is a forum to vent. Mine. Me. Moi.

I still need to see Underworld. I’m a bad geek. I may go snowboarding on Friday! I have a date tonight with The Orkin Man. I met The Orkin Man many years ago, and he was one of the first guys I met in the city. At that time he was in town for work, and was living in Atlanta. Over the years I'd see him here and there, and met him again a few weeks ago. It'll be a fun date.

Posted by jimbo at 11:30 AM | Comments (5)

February 5, 2006

pogicide

Jimbo3DC: Anyhow, I gots to go. I'm going to shave my beard off!
DarthSmiley: wait
DarthSmiley: what?
DarthSmiley: you can't shave off your beard
DarthSmiley: you will be scary
jimbo shaves on 2/11/06
Jimbo3DC: Too late!

New term from Dan: Pogicide. And I'm no longer a Bear/Wolf/Otter/Whatever - I am now a Naked Mole Rat.

Posted by jimbo at 12:58 AM | Comments (19)

February 4, 2006

spring plans

Home bound on Saturday, still snotty and it's rainy outside, which makes for a good day for spring vacation planning. Aside from some soft-plans for ski trips nearby (Oren: E-Mail ME...let's go!) with friends, nothing is planned until March, where I will be visiting Homer, Panchesco, and Patrick in Tucson again for a spring break trip. I had lots of fun last year when I went and intended to do a lot of birdwatching, but it was still a little early for spring migrants (birds, that is) although I did get to see lots of hummingbirds and my first road runner, among other species. I hope I will not see a sun spider in the desert, however.

I really wish I could join Gurl again for another trip to Vancouver, B.C. this year but I gotta save some money. Plus there is a likely wedding in the summer in Wisconsin that I should attend. And I want to keep next winter/spring more open for possible ski trips out west, as in West Coast wher there the pow is more bitchin' than here.

So this year us girls will be going somewhere down to Baja in Mexico to some cheap resort and sip cocktails for a week, and perhaps do some snorkeling. There were so many cute terra cotta items I saw last year I vow to pack one up and ship it home to DC this time. I don't care how tacky it is. Panchesco is with camera all the time, and I vow to be a little less chunky this year, just in case there are beach shots to be had.

My pitch to the landlord went well about doing landscaping around the house. Landlords love it when you do yardwork, and I don't mind even when it's not my house. He will reimburse any costs for plants purchased. I like gardening, and combined with rugby it's cheap therapy. Currently there are hastas and azaleas in the sun-baked front yard and they had a hard time last year. I barely kept them from frying on several occasions last summer. I will move the hastas to the back and the azaleas to a shadier area in the front. The lily pond in back will be partially buried in the soil, with hastas and ferns planted around it. Then I will plant russian sage, echinacea and black-eyed susans in front. All three species are drought-tolerant and require little mantenance in the harsh DC summers. And I am going to plant castor beans out front to continue my horticultural rebellion against The Man as an act of conscientious gardening objection of my rights to free horticulture. Paranoia about garden plants is right up there in importance as having your nail clippers confiscated at National Airport. Anyway, castor bean plants love the summers here, and look very exotic and get lots of comments (mostly positive) from the neighbors.

Speaking of National Airport, I see they have finally redesigned their Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority website, featuring National and Dulles airports. Thank God...the former design I did for them was over 5 years old and I was starting to get embarassed. The new design is much cleaner, and has met the challenge of representing two airports one one site quite well. The bifurcation of the website due to two airports was a big design challenge. Sadly, their terminal maps are still unreadable due to fear of Flash technology by some particularly technophobic employees within the bureaucracy. Imagine if you could zoom in on the map to see just how far the ATM is from the men's bathroom....

Posted by jimbo at 2:19 PM

February 3, 2006

bigfoot marries pog

bigfoot.gif
Not Work Safe five-part comic by Tim Fish touching on love, depiliation, Bigfoot and gay marriage.

I suffer from a plague undoubtedly brought by Darth Jersey last weekend, but what a day to be home from work - 65 and sunny. But where's our snowstorm? Sadly, last night was spent tossing and turning from this flu/cold/whatever.

Posted by jimbo at 3:21 PM | Comments (4)

February 2, 2006

spiders, woodchuck and snakes

This is the #1 reason I could not serve in Iraq in any capacity. These "camel spiders" (Order: Solifugae) are just nasty. I can handle tarantulas (they're furry) but naked lizard-chomping spiders? That's just WRONG!

Everyone wish Rob a happy Woodchuck Day. Woodchucks are a mammalian subset of the whole Bear scene. A "Woodchuck" only has a hairy butt and legs, but no beard or chest hair. Rob is a Woodchuck with a Woodchuck Butt, and today is his holiday, and for others like him.

Jocko sums up the State of the Union Address better than I could. But there have been some improvements: at least W can say 'nuclear' and 'America' now, as opposed to 'nook-you-lar' and 'merca'. Clearly someone's been getting speech coaching.

What was up with the D.C. Crack Copter up all night? I heard the 'B-R-R-A-A-P!' of a semi-automatic in the distance at about Midnight.

Yesterday's grumpy/scandalous post removed...it was neither fair nor entirely true about recent dating experiences, and I worry that the nice cute furry date who made the nice dinner would get his feelings hurt if he read it. Not all men are turds, just like, three this fall/winter, and I shouldn't fixate on the bad ones.

Posted by jimbo at 10:13 AM | Comments (11)