Friday, October 07, 2005

DAILY MUSELI: Musings From the M4 Bus

View of the Potomac River heights above the Chain Bridge toward dusk, taken from Potomac Avenue NW in the Palisades, earlier this year.

Good morning.

1.) MARTIN HAS A GREAT POST on DCist suggesting public transportation commuting options for notable members of the Bush administration who live in the District. While I might suggest some slight alterations to his suggested trip itineraries, I thought I might write a little about the M4 bus line that connects Tenley Circle to the Palisades via Nebraska Avenue, a route that Karl Rove could potentially use if his radiator overheated and couldn't call a cab in time to get to early morning briefings in the West Wing.

Just as how the N buses are sometimes called the "Diplomats' Line" because of the many embassy employees that ride them to the chanceries that line Massachusetts Avenue, the M4 bus route might as well be called the "Ambassadors' Servants" bus route, considering the number of service employees who work in the private residences of diplomatic representatives in Kent, the upper Palisades, Spring Valley and the upper Foxhall Road area.

When I lived up in that neck of the woods back in 2002, I had the pleasure of riding the M4 bus with a fellow named George, who spoke with a heavy West African/Francophone accent. He would strike up intense conversations on a very limited array of subjects, mainly on World Cup soccer and one's level of college education (George never graduated from high school because of some undetermined reason he didn't want to speak about). At the end of the conversation, as the M4 would approach Tenley Circle, he would ask for a dollar -- or sometimes $5 -- a conversation charge, whether you wanted to talk to him or not. (It eventually became really annoying because seriously, how many dollars can you give George to spew your thoughts on Zinedine Zidane during the morning commute? One's World Cup soccer knowledge can only go so far. Zidane image at right from Wikipedia.)

After a few months riding that bus line, I began to talk with a fellow bus rider from Spring Valley about George when George wasn't riding the bus. Piecing together weeks of various conversations, we figured out that George was some sort of indentured servant, forcibly working in Washington for the regime that deposed his father, once a leader (or top-level aide to a leader) of a country in West Africa (maybe Niger?). We were never able to confirm any details and George to this day remains a mystery. And for all we know, George is one of those wonderful characters who ride the bus who have wild stories to tell, whether they are true or not. But if your mind wanders far enough off course, perhaps George holds the key to the Niger yellow cake controversy. According to a piece in Vanity Fair, Joe Wilson and Valarie Plame wouldn't have lived too far away in the Palisades (though closer to MacArthur Boulevard, as I'm told. If Wilson or Plame, rode the bus into downtown Washington, they'd totally be D6 or D5 riders and would most likely complain about the parents of Georgetown Day Lower School students who cause morning gridlock on MacArthur Boulevard at Q Street when they drop their kids off in the morning.). One can only wonder and speculate.

>> "Transit on Thursday" [DCist]

2.) SPEAKING OF OTHER NEWS ALONG THE M4 BUS ROUTE, there's some more controversy a stirrin' up at Ward Circle.

>> "Lawyers' Report Says Ladner Should Repay AU $115,000" [The Washington Post]
>> And Ladner will be online at 11 a.m.

3a.) SO AOL BOUGHT OUT JASON CALACANIS and Weblogs, Inc. for a reported $25 million. That's something to chew on.

3b.) IN RELATED BLOGGING NEWS, the Guardian is reporting that a poll "shows a third of 14- to 21-year-olds now have their own online content." How well it’s written is another matter. Adding the :) and incorporating standardized lowercasing in grammar textbooks is probably a step back in human development (if you ask this former copy editor).

>> "Young blog their way to a publishing revolution" [The Guardian]

4.) I REALIZE that this may have circulated around the past year or so, but it is still so best. It is good for a hearty laugh, unless, of course, you're a chain-smoking pregnant mother from Roanoke, Va., who is worried about the effects of loud jackhammer noises on your unborn child. [via DCBlogs]

5.) IT'S FRIDAY and I don't work today. I may do another post today, but you can probably find me having a leisurely breakfast or out and around the city up to no good. Have a good weekend.


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