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

Mallrats: New Columbia Heights reports on the Black Friday scene at DCUSA: “I stopped by DCUSA on Thursday night just before Target and Best Buy opened at midnight, and it was pretty crazy. There were separate lines for each store: the Target line went all the way to Park Road and up that street a bit, while the Best Buy line was longer, it went down to Irving, then all the way up to Hiatt Place. It was hard to estimate, but there were easily a few hundred people in line, plus others milling about to go to Modell’s, which also opened at midnight.” On the subject of shopping, the blog also ponders what, exactly, DCUSA is. “…I’ve seen a few news articles and blog posts lately that refer to DCUSA as a ‘mall’ (here’s a couple older ones from WUSA and an architectural firm, for example.)  I’ve always called it a shopping center, and I’ve also seen it called a complex, like in this Greater Greater Washington post. Calling it a mall doesn’t seem accurate, and I also just don’t like that term for it. It gives me the creeps.”

Cash Money: “As I assume many of you did, I received a holiday card and fairly aggressive gift solicitation this morning from a Donna Bellamy, who represented herself as our New York Times delivery person for the past year (she says she delivers the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, as well). It came not with my Times but in its own bag. I thought the long note was a bit over the top, but we’re December tippers, anyway, so I’m not *so* offended,” writes a member of the Cleveland Park email. “The only thing I guess I really want to know is that we all think Donna actually is our regular delivery person,” the member concludes. Though no one on the list has confirmed the existence of Ms. Bellamy, another poster offers this tip for holiday etiquette: “Because I’m a morning person, I see our Washington Post delivery man from time to time. At this time of year, I have a card with a tip in it in my pocket when the dog and I are out before dawn, and give it to him in person with a ‘thank you.’ At some point there’ll be an envelope addressed to the distributor tucked into the Post, but I don’t know how much of checks sent to that address get to the man who actually delivers the paper, rain, sleet, or shine.”

Don’t Parade Around in Your Tiara: “The Police cannot protect us from the evil and ills our society has visited upon us. We cannot afford (nor do we want) to have a police presence on every street corner.  The solution to the problem of predatory violence lies in profilactic not repressive means. Since it is unlikely that our political system is able to provide the will to address the root causes of such violence and anti social behavior, what can we do as citizens?” writes a member of the Brookland email list, likely in response to reports of shots fired in the neighborhood on Thanksgiving. The member goes on to remind residents to do whatever possible to reduce to “opportunity” for criminals to target them or their property, but as another poster notes, “I fear that [he] has hidden his best advice—i.e., be aware of your surroundings, take measures of minimize the attractions of your home as a target for a break in—behind advice that is quite perverse.” The second poster also includes in the message a list of explicit safety tips, including:

  • “Don’t invite robbers by being rendered oblivious by any kind of earphones or texting devise..
  • Do not parade around in a tiara or anything else that is obviously expensive.
  • Stay as best you can on streets with pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
  • Be aware of other people on the street, both people whom you may find potentially threatening and people whose presence might be a deterrent.  Be prepared to cross a street, turn a corner, or even go knock of the door of a nearby house if you  are really afraid.
  • If it will make you feel safer, carry some kind of noise-making gizmo in your pocket.
  • Try doing local errands by bike to see whether it makes you feel safer.”

Chevy Chase, Doing Things: A member of the Chevy Chase email list writes, “With much thanksgiving to the listserv moderators and contributors. Thank you,” prompting other members to join in with accolades for the list’s tireless overseers. “Add me to the thank you list. I know everyone feels gratitude to Mary and her crew for the splendid, ongoing contribution they give to our community,” writes another. The original poster then offers this anecdote: “Another perfect example supporting gratitude. Mentioned to friends that I was going to post request today for moving boxes and voila, yesterday a posting of available boxes. I helped myself to half a dozen of various sizes.”