Saturday, November 12, 2005

ON THE ROAD: Back From Carrboro

I HOPE YOU'RE having a good Veterans Day weekend. I made a quick visit to North Carolina to see friends and meet up with Kyle and the Welsh band Super Furry Animals, who were performing at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, right down the road from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. More on Friday's SFA show in a bit.

>> On my Friday afternoon train ride on Amtrak, the Carolinian No. 79 took me through the North Carolina cities of Rocky Mount, Wilson and Selma (where the slogan on the water tower next to the renovated 1924 train depot says it's a "Charming Place to Be").

>> The Carolinian has a Tar Heel State train host who boards in Rocky Mount and rides the rails going through train cars asking passengers if they had any questions about North Carolina, the Tar Heel State. I asked him when the train was supposed to arrive in Raleigh. He didn't know. The train arrived 30 minutes behind schedule. This got me thinking: Acela and Metroliner should have train hosts from different states. Sen. Joe Biden, the senior senator from Delaware, rides Amtrak enough between D.C. and Wilmington. He certainly could do that when he retires (unless of course he runs for the White House in 2008), answering all your questions about the Nemours Mansion and Gardens, credit card companies and outlet shopping. Imagine the possibilities of the train host pool from New Jersey ...

>> Q: Whose house in Raleigh boasts turquoise shutters? A: Former North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms. Now you know.

>> Driving back from Raleigh with Kyle on Route 1 near Henderson, N.C., we drove by a church called The Church on Fire, where the sign outside said that "The wages of sin have never been reduced." Later, on I-95 we passed through Stafford County, Va., where on the boundary sign, it says that the county is "a certified business location." I thought that was an odd thing to have on a jurisdictional boundary sign. Maybe it's a really bland marketing slogan. Not sure. But if you Google "certified business location" and "stafford county virginia," a " & Conservative right" politics message board titled "I like Big Butts" will pop up. In a discussion about mullets, one poster talks about vandalizing a Stafford County "certified business location" sign back in the 1980s. Odd.

Super Furry Animals at Cat's Cradle
Carrboro, N.C.
Nov. 11, 2005

According to Kyle's dispatch from SFA's show in Norfolk, Va., on Thursday, frontman Gruff Rhys and the entire crew dropped "Something 4 the Weekend," "Hello Sunshine", and "Frequency" after Tuesday's show at the 9:30 Club. For Cat's Cradle, "Something 4 the Weekend" stayed off, but "Hello Sunshine" and "Frequency" returned. There was solid set overall, though like the previous line up, it didn't pick up until the higher-energy stuff came up into the later half with "Calimero," "Juxtaposed With U," "Receptacle for the Respectable" and "Slow Life."

Of what the band has been pulling from its latest album, Love Kraft, for its live show, I've been liking "Zoom!," "Atomik Lust" and "Lazer Beam," all from the the space pop end of SFA's musical spectrum. When introducing "Ohio Heat," Rhys has said that it was inspired when SFA was in Austin, Texas, when someone's unattended cell phone went off and Rhys picked it up. On the display, the incoming call was from "Ohio Heat," whoever that is. Thus a song is born.

Listening to Love Craft is a bit odd at first since this is the first album where Rhys isn't doing the vast majority of the vocals. Keyboarder/main programmer Cian Ciaran's "Cabin Fever" is a gorgeous piece. I'd be interested to see what comes from him in the years to come since he's been "largely responsible for the long-lost SFA instrumental electronic album," according to the BBC's profile on Ciaran. "There was talk of it being released around the time of Mwng, but nothing has appeared under the group's name, at least." Ciaran is also responsible for "Slow Life," the closing track from Phantom Power (one of my favorites) that had been in the works for two years.

Ciaran's older brother, drummer Dafyudd Ieuan, made his songwriting introduction with "Atomik Lust" in Love Kraft. (Hanging out in the dressing room after the show, Daf insisted that as a journalist, I read up on works from Bill Hicks, the late comic, social critic and satirist ... "anything really" from Bill Hicks, Daf wrote in my notebook.)

The SFA tour bus pulled away from Cat's Cradle around 2:30 a.m. Welsh rock stars have better things to do, like head to tonight's show in Atlanta, than stick around with the likes of me, Kyle and Lauren in a North Carolina parking lot. The band's touring coach, although it supposedly fits 12 people, is a little cramped. Pity SFA, as they will be driving across the continent from Chicago to Vancouver later next week.

Also, the opening act, Canadian band Caribou (fka Manitoba), was really cool. I don't know too much about them, but hearing it made me think of Mogwai and Radiohead's Amnesiac. Awesome animation too.

>> "Love Craft, Super Furry Animals/Wales Music" [BBC]
>>"Cian Ciaran, Super Furry Animals/Wales Music" [BBC]
>>"Dayudd Ieuan, Super Furry Animals/Wales Music" [BBC]
>>"SFA 'Krafts' New Album" [NME]
>>"On the Road With the Super Furry Animals" [Information Leafblower]

Thanks to Lauren, Stephen, Nick and Kate for being my hosts in North Carolina.

Friday, November 11, 2005

GALLERY PLACE: Red Line or Green Line?

LOOK CLOSELY. Does anything look wrong here? Let me throw out a situation here from two months ago ... I was at this very spot when a group of English tourists were arguing over whether Metrorail trains servicing this platform would take them to Union Station. What would be your answer? I bet some of you would say the Red Line. But those trains, of course, are on the upper level.

The signage on the wall says this trains serving this platform are from the Green and Yellow lines in the direction of Greenbelt and Mount Vernon Square-7th Street-Convention Center. But the overhead sign sports a big fat arrow that indicates that Glenmont-bound Red Line trains will make their way past this spot.

AND THUS YOU SEE THE PROBLEM. The correct answer, of course, is the sign on the wall for the Green and Yellow lines. But for someone unfamiliar with Washington, D.C., they may not be able to decipher that an arrow on a white background is for pedestrian station orientation -- not for train service orientation.

BUT IT SEEMS JUST SLIGHTLY odd that when Metro placed these contradictory signs in the same area, they didn't think that this may cause a navigation problem. For the English tourists, I was there to tell them that the signs are confusing. But imagine all the other random people who have made their way past this spot who are confused. (I can only be in one place at a time, after all, and can't help all the lost visitors confused with the city.)

For all the money Metro spent on upgrading signage at the Gallery Place-Chinatown station, it's pretty unfortunate that the agency couldn't see that the signage is confusing and therefore fails at its purpose. This is not an isolated problem. It wasn't until recently that Metro got around to fixing signage at Metro Center to alert passengers that Blue Line trains now terminate at Largo Town Center, and not Addison Road-Seat Pleasant -- and this is nearly a year since the Blue Line extension opened to Largo Town Center. When might the next signage audit be? After all, there are still spots where Union Station is still listed as Union Station-Visitor Center.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


THIS IS SOMETHING YOU DON'T want to hear when you're riding Amtrak:
We're going 10 miles an hour over this stretch because Amtrak sold this track and the contractor won't maintain it.
That's according to one of my old college newspaper colleagues who has been blogging about his global travels, which most recently took him from Charlottesville, Va., to Washington, D.C., via Amtrak ... behind schedule, of course.

(I actually didn't know that Charlottesville was served by Amtrak, but according to route maps, the city is served by the Crescent Line between New York and New Orleans, via Washington and Atlanta.)

WHILE THE QUOTATION ABOVE is certainly a classic overheard-on-Amtrak type of quote, I still think the broken door situation on my train trip from Washington to Chicago two summers ago takes the cake:
The only thing I’m worried about is the sewage from the next car.
Oh, where have the glory days of travel gone? I feel that our increasing transportation ailments will stir up a thousand Charles Dickens-type dispatches of our daily pains of getting from point A to point B.

>>"Better Train Service in China and Bangladesh" [A Backpack and a Keyboard]
>> "Door No. 31543 and the 17-Hour Journey Across Six States" [The Washington Oculus]
>> "Omnibuses" [The Charles Dickens Page]

WOODLEY PARK: A Canopy Rises

EVERY NIGHT when I've been returning home, I've been amazed with the quick process to assemble one of the new escalator canopies at Woodley Park's Metrorail station. By the end of this year, Metro plans that every escalator on the Red Line in the upper Connecticut Avenue corridor (and at other stations throughout the system) will have a glass and steel canopy.

The process is fairly quick. First, some of the stonework has to be removed, then a temporary wood and steel roof erected, then a crane comes in with some of the larger structural pieces and soon enough, the canopy takes shape. Metro's aim is not only to create an attractive covering but also better protect the escalators, many which have been exposed to the elements for the past 25+ years.

THE ESCALATORS at the southern entrance to the Dupont Circle station received one of the first such canopies earlier this year. While the canopy for this escalator, which dumps you out on 19th Street NW, is indeed nice, the escalator has also lost something.

According to the AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington, D.C.:
... [T]hose with a flair for the dramatic, tend to favor the stations at Dupont Circle and Woodley Park, where riding the escalator up to the sunshine makes one hum the Prisoner's Chorus from Fidelio.
I CAN'T SAY I'VE HUMMED THE PRISONER'S CHORUS heading up, but I see the comparison (I have seen plenty of grumpy office slaves on escalators). But now, at 19th Street, the tiny escalator tube -- which can easily cause dizziness or vertigo to those who are susceptible -- is capped with a canopy. The open sky above is no more. Sure, the canopy allows light in, but the original effect is now lost.

Fortunately, the deep circular pit that houses the Q Street escalators at Dupont Circle seems to be too large to be capped by a canopy. I hope it stays forever open to the elements. It is there in that large feat of engineering that you appreciate the construction challenges that had to be overcome to build the Metrorail system.

>> "Comprehensive canopy program — protecting our escalators" [WMATA]

"Metro Subway Stairs, Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C." by Javier Gil, via the Fraser Gallery

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

ABIDJAN: Conversation With a Scammer

IF I GO BACK THROUGH MY INBOX, I most certainly have hundreds of e-mails solicitations from West Africans claiming they have some dead relative who has millions of dollars in some bank account that only I can help them retrieve. Sometimes, the e-mails say that one of my long-lost relatives died in a rollover accident an an expressway outside Lagos. I never respond to them because I know that they're trying to get my personal information or have me send an ungodly amount of money to them so I can get the millions I'm entitled to. (Why anyone falls for these scams, I don't know, but there are countless Americans who do every year, so the e-mails keep coming and clog our inboxes.)

But The Washington Canard takes it one step further. Not only did WWB go ahead and e-mail the scammer back, he found a new friend in the process.
Here we have the complete correspondence to date between myself and one alleged "Allan Chungu." As you will shortly see, I wasn't trying to lure this guy (or Madame Philomenia Chungu, whichever) into a pointless pen pal relationship, but that is what transpired.
Good stuff.
>> "Great Scams of the Internet" [The Washington Canard]

MUSIC: How (Glow-in-the-Dark) Green Was My Valley

(Editor's Note: If you are familiar with author Richard Llewellyn and were at last night Super Furry Animals show, you might be able to figure out the headline)

I HOPED FOR CALIMERO, and I got it (along with "Something 4 the Weekend," "Slow Life," and "Juxtaposed With U") and so much more at last night's Super Furry Animals show at the 9:30 Club. If I'm counting correctly, this was my fourth time seeing the Welsh ensemble known for their unclassifiable space popesque rock (did I just create a new genre?) and this time's featured attraction: hanging out after the show with the band.

Kyle was all over the place taking photos, including this one of me (and fellow SFA nut Lauren) with frontman Gruff Rhys after we all got booted from the 9:30 Club's Back Bar after last call.

Drummer Dafydd Ieuan and I talked about politics, Detroit and the difference between a north Wales accent versus a south Wales accent. Mr. Ieuan said he was very surprised that he was unaware until just recently that the District lacks a vote in Congress. He also said that I looked Latvian. Guilty as charged. (His math teacher back in Anglesey apparently escaped from Latvia via Berlin in the 1960s and somehow ended up in northwest Wales. Latvians do look very similar since there are only a couple million of us around.)

I'll probably write more about the show when I get more time. Busy day today.

UPDATE: Kyle recounts the evening.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

ODDS AND ENDS: Pre-T'giving Reminders

JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, this post from Pygmalion in a Blanket is a must read for all those who will be going to their respective hometowns over the holidays and will be interacting with their friends' parents.
As the holiday season approaches, we must prepare ourselves for our single interaction of the year. Please be reminded that all of your children’s friends have aged years, if not decades, and have done many new, compelling and entertaining things. If you must reference our childish actions please make sure to attach the correct actions to the appropriate child.
I'll leave the rest to Pygmalion in a Blanket. But to any adults from the greater Grand Rapids area I knew growing up, I can assure you that I too "did not hog-tie your daughter with an extension cord and toss her into the front yard." So please don't accuse me of doing such scandalous things.

>> "I got your letter. Let's just say I don't care for the colour that it paints me" [Pygmalion in a Blanket]

GRASS, LIKE THE GREEN GRASS. Surely, it can't be that difficult. The American University student paper, The Eagle, wrote a profile about DCist and interviewed Rob Goodspeed, my old co-editor at the site. But instead of Grass, they spelled it Brass. So it goes. First, The Hill newspaper said I was editor of the Washington Examiner, and now, instead of Grass, I'm Brass.

>> "Profile in American U Student Paper" [Goodspeed Update]

COLUMBIA HEIGHTS: Remains of Riggs

LOOK CLOSELY. Sure, Pittsburgh's PNC Bank may be doing business in the old Riggs bank branch at 14th Street NW and Park Road, but Riggs is still there if you look close enough. Do you see it? Look above the Ionic column and you'll see the shadow of the old Riggs signage.

After scandal-tarred Riggs was caught hiding assets for Augusto Pinochet and violating anti-money laundering regulations in its embassy division, the Washington institution merged with PNC earlier this year and the Riggs name was erased from modern-day Washington banking.

Of course, the historic Riggs name can't be totally erased from Washington. (Or Corcoran for that matter ... William Wilson Corcoran and George Washington Riggs went into the banking business together in 1840.) Besides the remains of the name seen on the 14th Street NW bank branch, you can see the Riggs legacy in a street and place. (Corcoran Street is the mirror half street to Riggs Place/Riggs Street south of R Street. Then there's the Corcoran.)

LET'S HOPE THE OLD RIGGS SHADOW is resistant to scrubbing. New York blogger Joe Shumacher alerted Sprint to the remains of old signage on its Sixth Avenue store in Greenwich Village. And surprise, surprise, Sprint took action. For the sake of Washington history, let's hope nobody at PNC reads my blog.

>>"Riggs Bank Hid Assets Of Pinochet, Report Says" [The Washington Post]
>>"After Riggs, Embassy Accounts Can't Find a Home" [The Washington Post]
>> "The CIA and Riggs Bank" [Slate]
>>"It Worked!" [What About the Plastic Animals]

MERIDIAN HILL: Jos. A. Bank Meets Imperial Italy

PERHAPS YOU'VE SEEN those ads on CNN in the past few weeks for Jos. A. Bank Clothiers where there's a video montage of that well-dressed, man with more than his fair share of blondish/brownish hair out on the golf course, strolling on the beach with his wife, showing off an architectural model to co-workers in a big boardroom meeting, surprising his wife with a nice bottle of wine, lovingly embracing his daughter who may be doing schoolwork, and other such scenes of success ... all the while a man with a grand English accent is reading off words or phrases like standards, quality, winning attitude, etc. (Essentially, that man in the ad is more successful than you because he shops at Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, the chain that can be found in malls and lifestyle centers from coast to coast.)

FOR THOSE WHO KNOW WHAT COMMERCIAL I'm talking about, I now encourage you to visit the website for the Il Palazzo Condos at 2700 16th St. NW. I'm probably wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was produced by the same production company as the Jos. A. Bank commercials, just with a tutti frutti mix of Italian phrases and close-up shots of Renaissance architectural features. Replace quality with magnifico, standards with bene arrivate and winning attitude with molto bene. All hail 16th Street's new ambassadors! Condos are coming to the former Italian Embassy!

I think it's wonderful that the old embassy is being put to good use, but if you go through the montage a couple times, you'll see that many of the new condos going in at the site will be housed in a multi-story glass and masonry tower to the historic house. So think something out of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor meets the Villa Borghese, or as its developers (Spaulding & Slye Colliers/Castleton Holdings LLC) put it: "Magnificent meets modern." Let's hope the place isn't completely gutted. I say, why add Corian countertops when there's probably Carrera marble inside already?

ASSUMING THAT IL PALAZZO WILL SELL OUT (The Washington Post says that units are going for $500,000 to more than $2 million), the project should reclaim some of the old glory that Mary Foote, the late 19th century Washingtonian hostess and widow of Missouri Sen. John Brooks Henderson, originally envisioned for the 16th Street corridor. (Mary Foote lived in a castle-like stone mansion on what are now the Beekman Place condos just down the hill.) With her plans to move the White House up 16th Street to Meridian Hill foiled, along with her vision to have President Lincoln's memorial and the vice president's residence built there, she can now rest in peace knowing that the Renaissance palace up the hill will be used for grand living, just how she would have wanted it. ... Now if only the National Park Service could sweep out the heroin junkies out of that scary covered staircase to the public park down the hill that Mrs. Foote eventually convinced Congress to build for her, she may rest more comfortably.

AND DID YOU NOTICE THE LION as the word "Magnifico" raced across the screen? If I'm not mistaken, that's actually one of the lions that guards the William Howard Taft Bridge that carries Connecticut Avenue over Rock Creek. That's at least a 10-minute walk away. But then again "this private, gated community is within easy reach of everywhere you want to be."

>> "Going Mondo Condo" [The Washington Post]
>> "Recreating the Village Green" [DCNorth]

Monday, November 07, 2005


IF YOU'VE BEEN UP ON 14TH STREET NW in recent weeks, you know that the area between the Green Line Metrorail station at Irving Street and the Tivoli theatre is one massive construction site. If you're facing north, you'll notice on the left where the massive DCUSA retail complex will rise (currently they're digging what will become the District's largest underground parking garage). As has been noted before, the Target, along with the Giant grocery store and other proposed retail projects will transform the upper 14th Street corridor. (Here are some of my photos of the DCUSA site taken from Hiatt Place and Irving Street, via Flickr.)

AS THE NEIGHBORHOOD'S COMMERCIAL CORE grows, the lack of frequent Metrorail service on the Green Line is likely to become more of an issue. Users of the Columbia Heights and U Street stations can be quite vocal when they have to wait 20 minutes for a train, especially on weekend nights. Some give up and walk. Others know that using Metrobus might be a faster option. Many would like Yellow Line service to continue from its terminal stop at the Mount Vernon Square station on through the Green Line Mid-City corridor. Check out this thread on the Columbia Heights message board from last month. This poster really wants his Yellow Line and predicts a dire future without more frequent rail service to 14th Street and beyond.
I personally don't take Metro on Sunday's for this very reason. Can you imagine the chaos that will exist on the Columbia Heights platform alone once that area has been fully developed? Again this can be corrected by providing extra rail cars.
ALSO, WHAT ABOUT THE GYPSY CABS? If you are a shopper at the Giant supermarket on Park Road, you've probably noticed the introduction of unlicensed cabbies lurking outside to take you home with your groceries. A friend of mine has used the unofficial services of the so-called gypsy cabbies. It's just $5 for front-door service U Street. All you do is negotiate the price prior to entering the cab. But I'm assuming that the District frowns on this type of transportation arrangement.

ODDS 'N ENDS: Jessica Cutler's New Blog

I'M NOT SURE if it is widely known that Jessica Cutler is back blogging again. The former Capitol Hill staffer/Washingtonienne blogger-turned-blog celebrity/author is blogging at about various things, like how U.S. Airways denied passage to her dog Biff and how she shuns flowers as romantic gifts (she'd rather have diamonds).

Ms. Cutler is now seeking out attractive male bloggers for a regular feature profiling sexy men of the world of Web logs:
Is this a joke? Maybe. It depends on the quality/quantity of the submissions I get. So I need your help, dear reader, to make this a regular feature.
And Cutler has her first pick: Jean-Paul Tremblay of Low Culture.

Watch out Jean-Paul.

Read more about Ms. Cutler's new blog and other blog news in today's BlogLog in Express' LookOut section.

MUSIC: SFA and Gotan

TUESDAY'S THE BIG DAY, at least for D.C.-based Super Furry Animals fans, including yours truly. They'll be performing Tuesday night at the 9:30 Club, and I'm excited to see them. It's been probably a year or so since the last time they came through D.C. Kyle over at Information Leafblower, who is perhaps SFA's No. 1 fan, has some good SFA-related content, including links to some mp3s in his Forgotten Favorites.

If you don't know, the Super Furries are from Wales. In fact, some of their work is sung exclusively in Welsh. Their 2000 album MWNG is, in my honest opinion, one of their best. It doesn't matter that some of the letters in "Ysbeidiau Heulog" could be moved around to make it easier to pronounce, it's all good. Says Information Leafblower:
[I]t doesn't matter that it's sung in a foreign language, in fact, I think it enhances the song. A great guitar riff, timely drum fills and a killer melody work in any language.
SFA puts on an awesome live show and hope (or I guess I should say expect) that Tuesday's performance will be fantastic.

SPEAKING OF FORGOTTEN FAVORITES, I rediscovered some music files that I thought were lost forever. Sometime two years ago, Windows Media Player crashed on me and all my music files went bye-bye. RealPlayer has corrupted my files in a couple other instances, but I've never been able to retrieve my old files.

When I updated my RealPlayer about two weeks ago, I failed to notice that my old files had through some miraculous force been resurrected in my laptop. I'm particularly happy about getting back Gotan Project's awesome album "La Revancha del Tango." I came across the Parisian group back in 2002 and the idea of trip-hop mixed with tango sounded intriguing. It was all the idea of French DJs Philippe Cohen-Salal and Christophe Mueller, who brought together a number of Argentine musicians in Paris to give the tango a makeover and second shot at life.

After searching all over town for the album, I found it at Melody Records and was quite impressed. I saw them at the 9:30 Club in 2003 and I count that show as perhaps the best I've seen at 815 V St. NW. Great music, great crowd and a top performance.

You've probably heard some of Gotan's work as background music. (I was in horror when I heard "Época" when I was waiting to pick up prescriptions in the basement at Rodman's after my severe poison ivy outbreak/blood poisoning, but oh did Cristina Vilallonga's beautiful voice calm my nerves after waiting for 45 minutes as my face swelled up to the size of a watermelon.)

"Época" and "Una Musica Brutal" are two of my favorites. Gotan's version of the Astor Piazzolla tango standard "Vuelvo al Sur" is also well done, thanks of course in large part to Vilallonga.

And I might give my right leg if I could get my hands on Gotan's tango adaptation of Eminem's "Real Slim Shady." Truly awesome, especially performed as an encore live.

>> "The Gotan Project — Vive le Tango!" [The Globalist]

IN A QUICK RELATED NOTE, if you're looking to read some good Buenos Aires-based blogs, I recommend GoodAirs, brought to you by Cintra Scott and Ian Mount, formerly of the now-defunt Lower East Side blog I have friends from Argentina. I need to make my way down there one of these days.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

DCA: Visit National Airport's Historic Terminal A, Just Don't Take Any Photos

As I mentioned yesterday, I was detained by police, which is a first for me as a journalist. (Remind me to have press credentials on my person at all times.) Now, what's your definition of detained? To me, being questioned and brought down to a secured keycode-only entry area in an airport terminal's basement and having your name entered into a database, that's detention, in some capacity of the word's definition.

My crime? I was taking photos of airplanes and "different areas of the airport." But if you go to my photos on Flickr, you'll see that I was only taking photos of the architectural detailing of National Airport's Historic Terminal A, which is a museum/connecting corridor between DCA's terminals A and B. After I was released from the terminal's basement, I went back into the museum area and sure enough, there was a person taking photos. The police officer had told me that people are allowed take photos in the other areas of the airport, but they aren't questioned because they are travelers/tourists. He said I didn't look like a tourist. Apparently visiting a museum is a suspicious activity, at least to him, because when I was telling him I was interested in Historic Terminal A, he didn't seem to understand why I would be interested in the unused terminal.

Well if Mr. Police Officer is reading, I hope this past post can explain.

If you do go, be sure to go to the Exhibit Hall, where you can see displays on the complete history of the airport and some interesting artifacts, like glass balustrades and other examples of streamlined Art Deco ornamentation.

QUOTATIONS: John Dewey Puts It Well

WHENEVER I HEAR THE NAME Dewey and the University of Michigan, I think of Thomas E. Dewey (of Dewey Beats Truman fame), who once wrote for my old college newspaper, The Michigan Daily back in the 1920s.

Thomas E. Dewey wrote an opera review for the Dec. 10, 1921, Daily:
The dancing this year is the best ever shown in an opera, without question, with the Dagger Dance in the last act as the most striking in a professional act of the show. The songs of Cyrus N. Tavares, '24, and Dawn Y. Tang, '24E, who, decked in native costume, opened the second act with the most unique scene of the evening. (via "Special to the Daily," Caddo Gap Press, 1990)

BUT WHEN I HEAR DEWEY, I should be thinking John Dewey (1859-1952), the noted American philosopher, whose work is featured in "Writing Ann Arbor: A Literary Anthology" ... along with yours truly. I was reading his selected piece in the anthology (A College Course: What Should I Expect From It? -- via "The Early Works, 1882-1898; Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969) and thought one part of it was particularly relevant to the transient nature of Washington, D.C.

Some have said that to a recent undergraduate, Washington presents an obvious extension of the college life, except in a more urban setting … and for those who have a political science or related degree, a life that is more isolated and partisan.

Instead of "college," replace it with "Washington":

But the voyage one takes in entering college life is a voyage to a far port, and through many countries foreign in space, in time, in manner of speech and thought. If such traveling of the spirit does not remove the narrow and small cast of one's opinion and methods it is failing its aim. ... Let a man learn on this journey to lay aside the suit, the habit, of mental clothes woven and cut for him in his native village, and to don the foreign costumes. If he be called to wear his old suit, he will wear it the more easily and naturally for knowing something of the fashion of other men's garments.

And when one gives up his provincialism, let him make the renunciation complete. Partisanship, of whatever sort, or however disguised, is but provincialism of a larger growth and more imposing mien.
From my time on Capitol Hill, “knowing something of the fashion of other men’s garments” isn’t looked too highly upon. The translation is from another generation, but the overall message, more or less, still rings true.

>> John Dewey [Wikipedia]
>> "So Young a Man ... So Old a Head" [Michigan Today]