A regular summary of irregular news and notes from neighborhood blogs and email lists around the District.

Gender Politics: “Hi, looking for gift ideas for a turning 10-year old girl!! What are kids interested in? On the reasonably-priced side suggestions welcomed!!! Christmas is coming up, all too soon as well,” asks a well-meaning member of the Chevy Chase email list. Answers yield typical suggestions for the stereotypical image of a ten-year-old girl: “For those not enlightned to all of the American Girl options, the American Girl magazine is a wonderful publication that highlights amazing goals accomplished by real girls. And many of the articles are written by a local author. Any 10 year old would love a subscription to this magazine”; “Returning from a holiday party in NYC, where I met 2 lovely 10 yr old girls and their mothers, who seconded my suggestion of Claire’s , plus books might work too; I was told that 10 yr old girls like gift cards, to pick out what they really like.” Another member of the list jumps in to say, “I am saddened by all the well-meaning, but shallow, suggestions. Perhaps the 10-year-old is not a budding bimbo? Perhaps she deserves to be respected as a real person in progress? How about a book, a real book—not the McBook confections intended for children in our dumbed-down age? Here’s a suggestion: in today’s New York Times book review, The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes? It is probably an inappropriate book, but then, the reading of inappropriate books is one of the essentials of an education that makes people interesting.” And yet another adds, “If you have not chosen already, I would like to make a plug for something she can “do”. When my son turned 3 he received legos, craft boxes, cars and trucks from friends and family. When my daughter turned 3 she got fairy wings and stuffed animals.”

Our Neighborhood is What We Think it Is: Members of the TakomaDC email list are encountering geographical issues with Nextdoor, a startup social networking site predicated on the hyper-local. But as one list member points out, “The problem is that the site uses the old land use /realtor designation of Takoma boundaries which have not been accurate for a long, long time. [Our] neighborhood is what we think it is.” “Nextdoor doesn’t even include 6th and Aspen as being in Takoma DC. I just tested some addresses. If these boundaries can’t be changed then I don’t think it will work for us,” concludes another. After a third member points out, “Note: the boundaries are not even congruent with the Takoma Edeucation Campus boundaries,” the second member writes, “Mark is working to have the Takoma DC Next Door neighborhood boundaries corrected. It looks like the boundaries are are even older (and smaller) than the Historic District! Stay tuned!”

Hood Rats: “During routine service on my car, I was told that I apparently have a  rodent living somewhere in the car engine as evidenced by a chewed up air  filter. I park my car in the neighborhood. Has anyone else had this problem? Suggestions on how to get rid of it?” asks a member of the Dupont Forum email list. The bevy of responses indicate that this is nothing new for the neighborhood; one member writes, “I had extensive experience with this problem over several years…and multiple cars. I tried every remedy known to exist—traps, poison, called in ‘experts,’ yes, even spread coyote urine (apparently our city rates have never been exposed to coyotes)! Twice I had to replace all of the wiring in my vehicle at a cost of over $600 each time. Finally, I found the only solution that worked —I donated the cars to a non-profit and now I take the Metro.” Another member complains at length about the city’s lack of rodent control, and concludes their message by writing, “(Sorry for the rant, buts rats have cost me thousands of dollars and spoiled my enjoyment of my home.)”

The Brookland of Sweets: “Hi all, I purchased a Candyland game for a friend’s child who has it. Anyone need a last minute gift? I got it for $10 on Amazon. Let me know! Great as a first game for a 3 year old,” writes a member of the Brookland Kids email list. Presently, no one has taken the poster up on her offer.