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February 10, 2001
More Bitlets


The Afghan story is traveling up the Washington Post news hiearchy. It's now graduated from a little blurb to an actual story yesterday (by AP, though; I wonder if Pamela Constable has left the area) buried deep in World News. This time we have about 150 deaths, more than 100 of them children. And the figure I gave as 480 yesterday has been revised to "more than 500."

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"No Refunds"

Another E Street story today. (It's not F, by the way, I resolved that when we went skating last week and dined at the ridiculously overpriced Hard Rock Cafe, which has half a car hanging off the ceiling. Penn Camera, by the way, is exiting the shady block and moving a block away; the J. Edgar Racist Self-Hating Homophobe Hoover FBI building, alas, is staying put.) [See Vignettes if you're curious about the backstory.]

The 900 block of E Street Northwest is pretty much dead once Penn Camera's shutters come down, but a couple nights a week, bodies grooving to pulsing music, bathed in a neon purple glow can be spotted next door. An unnamed nightclub operates here, changing skins depending on what night of the week it is.

One night some years ago we went looking for this club based on an ad in the City Paper, which promised three floors of Euro-techno music (one floor for each decade). We didn't know that the description applied to a particular night, and we had the wrong night. The night of hip-hop, as it turns out.

We weren't terribly perturbed by this, but the bouncers kind of freaked. "You guys realize we have no refunds," he said. "Once you go in, that's it."

That's it? You mean white fright won't get you a refund? I didn't say it, of course, but assessed the bouncer's discomfort for a second. I think in the end it was the $8 cover charge that did it -- plus the steady stream of Puff Daddy look-alikes going through the door and disappearing into the purple fog.

We walked back to the parking lot a block east, bantered with the hustlers for a few seconds as they made another effort to protect our car in exchange money, and drove to another club. Or maybe it was a restaurant. Probably a restaurant. It happens when you get old.

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boat
A passenger ferry pulls away from the dock in Istanbul. This was shot within minutes of the interior photo I used on January 8 -- hence the same light. The white specks are seagulls. (Passengers like to throw them bread crumbs, which they skillfully catch and swallow.)

I've always been grateful to the Scottish shipyards for giving my city one of its most beloved symbols. (I'm not forgetting the "bottle story" mentioned in that entry, by the way. Be patient. "The coup" is also coming. But who knows when? I now have three demanding projects vying for my attention, and they all have to be done by the end of the month.)

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