Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sport, that wrinkled care derides...
So this HHS, employee knocks on my door - she's canvassing the neighborhood for a survey on drug and alcohol use the Feds are doing, which will decide how much muh-nay will be spent around these parts on abuse and prevention programs. She just had a couple of questions for me, and entered the answers into a Blackberry that would instantly let her know if I would be selected for the actual survey (which would also net me $30.)

When she got to the question “How old are you?” I answered “49.”
She stopped.
“No,” she said. “You’re lying.”
I laughed. “I’m really 49.”
“You so look like you’re 35.”
“And I hate you.”

I get that often. Not the “I hate you” (which I probably get, just not out loud.) The age thing. I’ll turn 50 halfway through 2007. Hopefully that passage will be easier than 49. There don’t seem to be a whole lot of resources out there for the Aging Gay Man – at least, resources that are easily identifiable. I did a quick Google search on the phrase “gay men aging” and came up with some articles, but a quick scan of their contents threw me into a panic and I stopped reading. Too much to deal with. Especially if you’re single.

“Looks like the survey program kicked you out,” said the HHS woman. "Probably because you're not Hispanic."
Or maybe I'm just too old.
No $30 for me.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Final DC Five
My last five ideas for DC:

16. Fire GSI as the downtown tourist food and souvenir vendor and hire Disney to make it over and provide better customer service.

17. Televise the 17th Street "Drag" Race on Bravo.

18. Take big chunks out of the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials to make them more like ruins.

19. Knock down any public monument or sculpture that A) does not commemorate and immediately recognizable event or person; B) is the same size or smaller than the temperance fountain; and C) is, or has in it, a horse.

20. Do not market the 3 minute and 17 second Cherry Blossom Festival to anyone but locals.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

New York, Paris, Rome, and... Washington?
Some more ideas to kick DC's butt in gear:

11. Have architecture graduate students from across the country redesign every street vendor van in the city using recycled materials. Allow only three to sell Georgetown University sweatshirts. Then have the students go to work re-facing K Street.

12. Create (or appropriate) an indigenous, unhealthy, and therefore highly admired and much-in-demand food item. Allow only two establishments to serve it. Invent a long-standing conflict between the proprietors.

13. Plan a major world's fair for Anacostia waterfront, not for the crowds, but for the buildings that it will leave behind.

14. Turn DC’s current characteristics and icons (bureaucratic red tape, political sex scandals, hot and humid summers, The Exorcist) into marketing opportunities along the lines of Las Vegas's "What Happens Here Stays Here" campaign. Use humor if possible. If not, import it.

15. Re-imagine the Washington Coliseum as a semi open air farmer's market.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

DC is Brand X
More ideas of improving DC's image to the world...

6. Hire a young, vibrant, charismatic conductor for the national symphony, and have him or her re-program the Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day concerts held on the Capital lawn – and ban Barry Bostwick, Charles Durning and the Solid Gold 1940’s dancers from ever showing up at these concerts again.

7. Stop mistaking the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the Navy and Marine band concerts for home grown cultural entertainment.

8. Resurrect the trolley car system on the weekends as an alternative to the constantly single-tracking Metro.

9. Give city residents a tax break on owning and operating Smart Cars, and create low-cost underground and/or above ground parking for the vehicles.

10. Create a city-wide campaign to help the people of this city become either more A) friendly, well-mannered, beautiful, creative, and relaxed, or B) dynamically and colorfully rude.

...stay tuned for more tomorrow...

Monday, October 09, 2006

DC, DC, a ________ of a town...
You know, as a brand, DC rots. I just does. As a native who's lived here most of my life, I've seen attempts to get this city standing with the big boys, but most of them fell flat and disappeared. Once there was a song composed extolling the city's virtues – but it went nowhere. Union Station was refurbished for the bicentennial as the National Visitors Center, but attracted mainly the homeless. The city’s constantly making excuses for its lame image – "well, the monuments are pretty;" "no, there's not that much crime, if you stay in the right neighborhood…" "it's basically safe... in northwest... during the daytime;" and "what do you expect, when nobody's from here and everybody else just stays until the administration changes?"

It's time DC had an Xtreme Makeover. For the next few days, I'll be printing some of my ideas for what DC needs to do, after it does whatever it takes to eradicate poverty, crime and the homeless within its borders, and hires a kick-ass design and marketing firm and gives them free reign to imagine the city into the next twenty years. So, the first five (and they are all in no particular order):

1. Develop a significant and Macy’s-competitive parade for one of the following: Independence Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, or Inauguration Day.

2. Pump some money into the gay pride parade and make it bigger than New York's. Stop relying on the gays to gentrify neighborhoods.

3. Create a major outdoor festival around a significant artistic individual who lived and/or worked here in the past (John Philip Sousa, Duke Ellington, Helen Hayes, or…?) Create and finance: a National Sousa Band with a yearly national patriotic march competition (with high school, college, postgraduate, and adult composer categories), a Helen Hayes center for the dramatic arts (with a Washington-DC artists theatre festival), and a Duke Ellington conservatory (post-high school) for music and performing arts.

4. Move the presidential inauguration into another season. Hold the actual ceremony indoors if you must for security reasons, but televise it live throughout the mall. Wait until Bush is out of office to do this so he is not president for a second longer than he has to be. Augment the inaugural balls with the 3-day national mall barbecue.

5. Have the president give weekly audiences, like the Pope.

Tomorrow – 5 more…

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Living in DC - A Snapshot
So there's this attractive guy who lives in my building, just a few doors down from me on the fourth floor. He's been there for about a year or so. His blond hair seems to be thinning and he speaks with traces of an English accent. He's also got two little barky dogs, which he's always taking for walks. But they're really not too noisy. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, we both get on the elevator. He pushes the button marked 4. The elevator door closes and he asks: "What floor?"