11th Hour IC News February 28th, 2010

(News graphic & background designed by Nysie)







Former Mid-town Nightclub New Eden to Reopen as The 11th Hour Lounge

MIDTOWN -- The three-story McPherson Square nightclub that previously housed "New Eden" is scheduled to reopen within weeks under new ownership and a new moniker: "The 11th Hour Lounge." The club was recently sold off by the former domestic partner of executive Vander Soulridge of Terratech.


The new owners of the club, who have not yet come forward, have kept remodelers and decorators busy scaling down the fantastic architecture. The new venue, seven blocks from the White House, is promoted as continuing to serve an upscale clientele on a more understated and classic Washingtonian theme and atmosphere. 


A limited number of reservations for opening night will be made available to the public within the next few weeks, pending completion of the renovations. Sources also say that the new owners have made some modifications to the building to bring it into alignment with innovative environmental construction procedures highlighted on the cable channel "Planet Green."



The Power of Prayer: Laura Ingraham Update

Laura's breast cancer surgery 'couldn't have gone getter,' in the words of her surgeon, Dr. Katherine Alley. Initial sentinel node testing showed done during surgery showed no signs of cancer involvement in the lymph nodes, and we all hope this is good news confirmed by more in-depth tissue testing done in the next 48 hours. 

'The outpouring of love and concern, coast to coast in prayer, emails, and telephone calls has left me feeling more blessed than I can possibly convey,' said Laura. 'I really don't know what I did to deserve such kindness , but I will gladly wrap myself in it,' she chuckled. 'It's weird but getting cancer has made me feel more blessed than I ever felt before, and I will do everything I can to return the generosity 100 fold when I am feeling a bit better.'

According to Laura and her friends who were there throughout, the entire staff at Suburban Hospital Outpatient Center in Bethesda, MD was amazing.

About Laura Ingraham 

After graduating from Dartmouth College, Laura worked as a speechwriter in the final two years of the Reagan Administration at the White House, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Education. She went on to graduate from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was Notes Editor of the Law Review. She served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Ralph K. Winter on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. After clerking, Laura worked as a white-collar criminal defense attorney for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Laura launched "The Laura Ingraham Show" in 2001. 

In addition to hosting her own syndicated radio program, Laura is an author, frequent columnist, and television commentator. Her latest book, Shut Up & Sing: How the Elites in Hollywood, Politics...and the UN are Subverting America is a bestseller. Her book The Hillary Trap, first released in June 2000, was recently re-released in an updated paperback version. She hopes to become the person her dog Troy thinks she is. 



Mayor Fenty Selects CA's Warren Lansdowne as "Interim Chief"


MIDTOWN -- In a move that caught by surprise more than one observer, and certainly any number of local aspirants, Mayor Adrian Fenty selected San Diego Police Chief Warren Lansdowne as the replacement for outgoing DC police chief Barry Linden.
"With the memory of 'Little Death's effects still fresh, and its associated cases still under investigation, leaving the position completely unoccupied while more local candidates can be screened for suitability is not an option," Mayor Fenty stated in a press conference announcing the appointment. "Accordingly, we need someone who has a strong history of community-focused anti-narcotics operations, and a suitable background in appropriate Federal anti-terror response as well. During his tenure with the San Diego Police Department, Chief 
Lansdowne's creation of the Community-Oriented and Problem-Oriented Policing strategies helped reduce overall drug crime and violent crime statistics throughout San Diego, and provided proof of a working model for an alternate approach to persistent, troublesome crime zones. We look forward to the unique perspective he brings to the Metro Police during this transition, and have assured him that in the event a more local candidate is selected to fill the vacancy permanently, his presence within the command structure of the force is still welcomed."
Mayor Fenty declined many further questions, stating that a comprehensive press packet would be made available to the public, but rumors have already started swirling that the recruitment of an existing police chief from another department may be an attempt to appease those critics who claim that the stalled progress on existing cases is less the result of incompetence, and more the result of potential corruption and 'stonewalling' within the ranks of the Metro PD. At the time of publication, incoming Interim Chief Lansdowne had not returned messages seeking comment.



Taylor Promoted to Chief Deputy US Marshal; replaces Ethan Redfeather


MIDTOWN -- Over a year ago viral encephalitis claimed the life of U.S. Marshal Ethan Redfeather of the Washington D.C. office. 

Since his death the office has had issue finding a permanent replacement that could fill Redfeather’s shoes until this month. The Marshal’s Office announced this week the permanent placement of Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal, Elin J. Taylor.

Originally from California, Ms. Taylor started her career at the Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin (FCI Dublin), primarily dealing with female Federal inmates as a Detention Enforcement Officer.

When interviewed, Ms. Taylor said she was very happy with her selection and the opportunity to work at the Arlington, Virginia Headquarters. For the last three years, she has been working on updating and maintaining the U.S. Most Wanted Criminals database, helping intercept offenders and training new Marshals coming into the field.

Ms. Taylor is unmarried and lives in Arlington with her 2 dogs; a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Law and Great Dane, Murphy.



DC Public Schools: Twelve teachers fired for abuse 

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has fired ten DCPS teachers for administering corporal punishment and two for sexual misconduct since July 2007, according to a report she has submitted to D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray. Another 28 served suspensions ranging from two to ten days for some form of corporal punishment, defined by District law as the use or attempted use of physical force against a student, "either intentionally or with reckless disregard for the student's safety, as a punishment or discipline."

The report, which comes in the form of a spreadsheet, does not supply names or other identifying details and offers only cursory descriptions of the offenses. It was requested by Gray after the uproar Rhee triggered by telling "Fast Company" magazine that an unspecified number of the 266 D.C. public school teachers who were laid off in October had physically or sexually abused students. She later revealed that five had been suspended for corporal punishment and one was under investigation for sexual misconduct. That teacher allegedly had sex with an 18-year old special needs student, resulting in her pregnancy. That case is not included in the report, Rhee said, because the investigation was still pending -- an assertion disputed by the Washington Teachers' Union, which says the charges were found to be unsubstantiated.

The document discloses only a bit of information about two incidents of sexual misconduct. On Feb 12, 2008, an unidentified teacher "sexually assaulted a student." On May 8, 2009, another teacher "purchased expensive gifts for male student and made sexually suggestive comments to the student," according to the spreadsheet. Both instructors were fired, the report said.

In all, the document sent to Gray lists 68 incidents reported to D.C. police from the beginning of Rhee's tenure in July 2007 through this past Feb. 5. In eleven other corporal punishment cases, according to the report, there was no record of disciplinary action taken but the teachers in question either resigned, retired or were fired at the end of the school year because they did not satisfy the terms of probation, were not properly licensed or had unsatisfactory performance evaluations. Five other teachers received verbal or written reprimands.

The corporal punishment incidents include grabbing, shoving, slapping, scratching and arm-twisting. Others are in categories of their own. One teacher drew a five-day suspension in February 2008 for putting a student in a closet and turning the light off. Another educator was given a five-day suspension in January 2009 for instigating a fight between students. There was one incident of spanking in November 2007, which resulted in a teacher being fired and then reinstated in early 2009 after a hearing officer's decision. In April 2009 a teacher received a 1-day suspension for threatening students with a knife if they misbehaved.

The report suggests that most corporal punishment and sexual abuse allegations are ultimately not substantiated -- or remain unreported. The Post reported on Feb. 9 that school security personnel delivered 220 accusations of corporal punishment or verbal abuse to police during the 2008-2009 school year. According to Rhee's report, five teachers were fired and 17 suspended.

The report suggests a lack of consistency when it comes to offense and punishment. A teacher was suspended for three days after grabbing a student, slamming him into a wall, then lifting him by his backpack in September 2007. Another drew two days after striking a student in the mouth in Oct. 2008, hurting the student badly enough that medical attention was required.

But a teacher was fired for striking a student on the knuckles with a pencil in September 2008. Asked about what seems to be a lack of coherence or proportion to the discipline, Rhee said she didn't have an immediate response. She said she would look into it.

On late Friday afternoon, about 90 minutes after I first asked her to comment on the report, Rhee sent a letter to teachers expressing regret about the comments to "Fast Company." She said that the item was out-of-context as written and that educators "ended up unfairly and inaccurately portrayed with a broad brush." She gave them a heads up that they might be reading more about assault and sexual misconduct as a result of the report to Gray.

"I am concerned that media reports may again leave the impression-- unfairly and inaccurately--that this is a broader problem in DCPS than it is. It's not true, and I know the Council will join the Mayor and I in making that clear if and when they choose to make this report public. The vast majority of DCPS teachers are the hardest working people I have ever seen, dedicated to making sure our students succeed and going beyond their job descriptions every day to make a difference in the lives of the children in their classroom.

"Since coming here, I have learned the true meaning of dedication - it lives in DCPS classrooms across our city. So it is important that the Members of the Council, the news media, and DCPS officials make it clear that the instances documented in the report to DC Council reflect the conduct of a very small portion of our teachers. We also want you to know that we are deeply committed to making sure that you -- hard working teachers who are doing amazing work to move our children forward-are not implicated by the mistakes of a few. I am dedicated to supporting and protecting the incredible advances you have made over the last several years. I know you are the most important part of this reform. When you thrive, when you succeed, our students do the same."


Trendy Manhattan Chef Vanishes While Ballerina Wife is in DC


MIDTOWN -- Chris Calloway, up and coming star chef of trendy NYC Bistro Odile, and husband of retired NY Ballet dancer Odette Calloway, went missing while Mrs. Calloway was in Washington for an interview, several weeks ago.

According to Mr. Calloway's blog, "If You Can't Take The Heat," Mrs. Calloway had traveled to DC to some kind of unspecified interview. Mrs. Calloway told DCPD that she had tried to contact her husband by telephone while in DC, and after several attempts had been unable to reach him. Concerned, she returned to New York and found her husband missing, reporting this to the police after the required 48 hour waiting period for adults. Nothing was missing from their home, there were no signs of struggle, and Mr. Calloway has not been seen since. There has been no activity on his phone, credit cards or license.

The Manager of Odile has continued to keep the bistro open with guest chefs filling in for Calloway. Odile had been slotted for a featurette on Food Network this summer. They specialize in French-American soulfood fusion, and were known for their Pork Normandy. The Manager, Peter Matthews, a young, gregarious man, stated on Calloway's disappearance, that "Chris is a great guy-- really dedicated, and a genius in the kitchen. He's right on the brink of making it big, he has a beautiful wife-- he has it all. I hope he shows up soon."

Likewise, Mrs. Calloway's ballet studio in downtown NYC has been kept open by her office manager, Brenda Miller. Miller was less understanding of the situation, telling press "Odette's husband? I never met him, but I hope this doesn't mean that she's going to delay the spring production."

Anyone with leads in the case is asked to contact either the DCPD or NYPD anonymous tip lines.






WANTED: Room to Rent in NW

Mid 20s female looking to rent a room in the NW area. Willing to pay up to $800/month for rent. Must have access to washer / dryer / kitchen / restroom facilities and parking. Already furnished is a bonus. Tidy, pet friendly, keeps average hours. Small town girl new to DC looking for a place and maybe new friends! Needs immediately. Please contact <email> or <number> and ask for Alice.

OOC: If interested, please see or email Wendi @ serwendipitous@gmail.com

Wanted: Personal Defense Trainer

I'm looking to learn some self-defense skills. I work days and go to school at night so only have odd availability. Looking for a form of empty hand and/or bladed. Bonus if you can teach firearms as well and have an area to practice. 

Please leave contact information at the following number : blah blah blah. (OOC see the STs to respond to this ad)

Wanted: Computer Investigator

Looking for someone who knows their way around computers & can acquire hard to find information. 

Please leave contact information at the following number: blah blah blah (OOC see the STs to respond to this ad)

























Rabies May Have Inspired Vampire Legend 

NEW YORK, Sep 21 (Reuters) -- Mistaken for blood-thirsty ghouls, 18th century European rabies victims may have been the inspiration for the vampire legend, according to a report in the September issue of the journal Neurology. Not only do people with rabies have symptoms strikingly similar to the traits ascribed to vampires, but the vampire legend also originated in eastern Europe in the 18th century -- the site of a major rabies outbreak in the 1720s, according to the study. 

Rabies, a virus usually transmitted via the bite of an infected animal, can be tricky to diagnose, the study's author, Dr. Juan Gomez-Alonso told Reuters Health in an interview. Symptoms usually do not appear for at least a couple of weeks, and by then the bite has healed. Once symptoms have appeared, antirabies treatment is ineffective, and the infection is most often fatal. "Even now we miss diagnoses in cases of rabies," Gomez-Alonso said. Citing an example in his study, Gomez-Alonso describes a relatively recent case in which a man presumed to be a "wandering lunatic" was found to be infected with rabies during an autopsy. "These missed diagnoses probably happened much more commonly in the 18th century," Gomez-Alonso added. 

A neurologist at Hospital Xeral in Vigo, Spain, Gomez-Alonso decided to investigate the rabies-vampirism connection after watching a vampire movie in 1981. "I had never seen a vampire movie before and I was struck by the similarities," he explained. 

There are many, Gomez-Alonso reports in the study. For starters, not only people, but dogs, wolves, and bats -- animals traditionally associated with vampires -- can be infected with the rabies virus. Because the virus affects the limbic system, part of the brain that influences aggressive and sexual behavior, people with rabies tend to be aggressive, may attempt to bite others, and are "hypersexual," he writes. Since rabies also affects the hypothalamus, part of the brain that controls sleep, many patients suffer from insomnia, and are up and about in the middle of the night. 

Rabies causes hypersensitivity to strong stimuli, as well, so patients are often repelled by light, by bright things -- such as mirrors, and by strong odors -- including the smell of garlic. Rabies victims may vomit blood, Gomez-Alonso explains. And since the disease causes hydrophobia, or aversion to water, they do not swallow their saliva, which can froth at their mouths, flecked with blood. 

The disease can also cause facial spasms, in which the lips jerk back over the teeth, in an animal-like snarl. Moreover, rabies is more common among men than women, as is vampirism, at least according to most vampire tales. Finally, rabies, like vampirism, can be transmitted via a bite, Gomez-Alonso writes. The infection, however, can also be transmitted via a scratch or across mucus membranes. Consequently, it can be contracted during sex with an infected partner, or by inhaling air in caves heavily populated by infected bats. 

In addition to the medical evidence, Gomez-Alonso provides historical support for his theory. Digging through centuries-old European archives, he found records of a rabies epidemic among dogs, wolves and other animals in Hungary between 1721 and 1728, the time people first began to report sightings of "vampires." There were reports, for instance, of people "who have been dead for several years, or at least several months& seen to return, to talk, to walk, to infest the villages& to suck the blood of their close ones, making them become ill and eventually die." 

Gomez-Alonso also found accounts of bodies, exhumed after burial, that appeared lifelike, and were filled with still-liquid blood. This also fits in with the rabies theory, he writes. When people die of collapse, shock or asphyxiation -- as is often the case with rabies -- their blood is often slow to clot. Moreover, the region of Hungary where the outbreak occurred is damp and cold many months of the year, significant because corpses take longer to decompose in the cold. "Their good appearance would also suggest the presence of saponification," he explains. "This process, characteristic of burials in humid places, transforms the subcutaneous tissues into a wax-like substance." 

"Much evidence supports that rabies could have played a key role in the generation of the vampire legend," later popularized in Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and numerous other books and films, Gomez-Alonso concludes. "This would be in accordance with the anthropologic theory that assumes that many popular legends have been prompted by facts. Under this approach, saying that the vampire is 'mere fiction' may be somewhat inappropriate." 






Swiss prostitutes trained to use defibrillators in brothels to prevent clients dying 

Swiss prostitutes are being trained to use defibrillators to prevent clients with heart problems from dying on them, it has emerged. 

Brothel owners in the Lugano area say electric shock treatment to restart customer's hearts is needed because so many elderly customers are using their services.
The most recent victim was a pensioner, thought to be having fun with the help of anti-impotence medication. His death followed a series of other incidents, some fatal, in which heart attacks have claimed brothel customers in the area. 
The owner of one sex club said: "Having customers die on us isn't exactly good publicity". 
There are now 38 sex clubs and brothel in the Lugano area. And more are planned, according to Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, in order to accommodate the thousands of customers who pour over the border from Italy, where brothels are illegal. Around 80 per cent of the men who pay for sex in the area are thought to be Italian. 
The sex trade in the pretty, lakeside Swiss town is also being fuelled by prostitutes from South America and Eastern Europe who enter the country via Italy. 
Local health experts are said to have backed the plans to stock defibrillators in sex clubs and brothels. Defibrillators work by delivering a controlled electric shock to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat, after it has stopped. 
According to the British Heart Foundation: "Modern defibrillators are becoming increasingly quick and easy for the lay person to use, which can mean the difference between life and death". 

Dead Woman Comes Back to Life at Burial

AFP wires
Bogotá, D.C., Colombia -- Funeral home workers in the Colombian city of Cali got the shock of a lifetime when an apparently dead 45-year-old woman suddenly started breathing and moving as they prepared her for burial, AFP reported Wednesday.

Local media said the woman had been declared clinically dead at a medical facility Tuesday after having been hospitalized in serious condition with a neurological condition a day earlier. "The instruments the patient was connected to gave no blood pressure or heart rate readings," said Miguel Angel Saavedra, a doctor at the clinic where the woman was treated.

Medical staff at the facility signed the women's death certificate and her body was transferred to a funeral home to be prepared for burial. But, in a case of what physicians call "Lazarus Syndrome," the woman was not actually dead. "When they were going to apply formaldehyde, the patient began to breathe again and make movements," Saavedra told a local news station.

The woman, whose name has not been released, was readmitted to hospital and was in a coma, doctors said.







February, month of despair, 
with a skewered heart in the centre. 
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries 
with a splash of vinegar. 
Cat, enough of your greedy whining 
and your small pink bumhole. 
Off my face! You’re the life principle, 
more or less, so get going 
on a little optimism around here. 
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

-- Excerpt from "February" by Margaret Atwood


Before we commence with the mastication of random dignities, allow me to pause and welcome a new contributor to the Entertainment section; one Alice Gable, advice columnist and blogger on many intriguing topics, some of which I got to sneak preview this week. Hang onto your teacups, pets, as Alice will take you down the rabbit hole in weeks to come.


The only things massacred on this anniversaire of Saint Valentine were reputations, and of course you know that reputation is everything.


Let's start off with the pièce de résistance as we did last time, and delve straight into the morass that is currently shock rocker Loki's personal life. We do have a fascinating update on this drama. My utmost gratitude to the anonymous reader who was kind enough to update us on some alleged further details of the current child custody battle ensuing for our trickster god. Hot on my desk was a note identifying an enclosed photograph as "Natalie M. Wallace and her new boyfriend, Orin Foster. Natalie is the mother of Loki's 4 month old daughter." Loki confirmed that he is aware of the status of Ms. Wallace and Mr. Foster but would not elaborate further, except to let a stray "accidental" comment slip about Foster being a stepfather, and to confirm that the two are serious enough that Foster is assumed to be involved in Byrne and Wallace's daughter's care. He confirmed that earlier rumors that Ms. Wallace gave up custody entirely and that his father was bidding for it, are apparently no longer true. He added, "My father is providing much welcome support in the matter, I'm glad we reestablished contact, and that he'll be able to be part of his granddaughter's life. Needless to say, I'm happy I'll be there for my daughter too; I know fatherhood is not what people picture when they think of me, but I'm incredibly happy to have her."

I did actually manage to catch up with him vis-à-vis a certain YouTube video which continues to come down and pop up elsewhere, as often happens. He still staunchly refuses to identify the newest Barista Barbie frolicking with him, so I am afraid this is another mystery that will have to be solved by other means. He did say that "I may have character flaws, like everybody does, but I'm not a violent person, much less an abuser. Real life violence makes me sick." P.S. -- turns out the schoolgirl he was seen with recently is actually a musical protégée in a project to be announced soon. And here we were worried... He is also rumored to be working on a book of poetry.


We wait with bated breath for the unveiling of New Eden's next iteration, said to be crowned "The 11th Hour Lounge." No idea who the new owners are as of yet, though doubtless this will soon change by their grand opening. Certainly we hope the new owners are not from Vegas, as seemed in prior custody.








Dear Alice,

I'm a young woman who’s been married for several years to a good man. However, our sex life is abysmal. He says he loves me, and he can be very tender, but when it comes to sex? Nothing. I can count on one hand how many times we've been intimate since we were married and I have finger's left over. There not enough lingerie or Viagra in the world to spark his interest. What can I do to make him desire me? Or is it even worth it?


DEAR TROUBLED: You poor thing! A marriage without sex can be a source of insecurity and stress for both people involved. Sometimes, the best thing to do is talk it out. I know that I’m advising a drastic move, and one that is going to be uncomfortable, but it sounds to me like the lack of sex is the elephant in the room, and y’all are looking everywhere but in its big elephant eye. One time for my Momma’s birthday, my Daddy decided to redo the bedroom. Sounds sweet, but he picked strawberry and blush and bashful pinks and lace and (Help us!) stuffed animals, and it almost gave my sensible khaki colored momma a heart attack. Momma just couldn’t bear it, and no self-respecting man would be happy in that pink lace room, so they were both up the creek and couldn’t talk about it. This lasted about a week before Momma had to sit that man down and explain, so nicely, that while she appreciated his gesture, it was obvious that he was unhappy with it, and she just couldn’t rest easily until he was, so they would redo the room together. 
My point here, Troubled, is that neither one of you are happy with this arrangement. Because you’re the one that wrote in, you have to be the tough one. Be diplomatic about it. Be sensitive. Sit him down and explain that you’re in love with him, that you desire him, and that you want to show him—right then. Then (polite readers, please prepare to gasp), you do all the work, if you know what I mean. It’s going to take guts, darlin’, but I know you can do it. Be strong, and new panties won’t hurt. 

Dear Alice,

I have the worse luck with men. My fiancée died a year ago, and I am having a hard time getting back into the swing of things. I just can’t seem to find the energy to go out and find love again. What do you suggest I do? I'm not old, or unattractive, but I just can’t seem to find that spark of life that makes me want to go out and find a new partner.

- Dead Inside

DEAR DEAD: Honey, I understand. Happiness is mostly ignored when we have it, but the minute we lose it, it’s all we want. We become shadows of who we used to be. The French call it joie de vivre, and when it’s gone, it feels like it’s never coming back. I can’t fix it for you. The advice about getting back in the saddle is so cliché that it even makes my stomach turn, and (I assure you) I have a strong tolerance for old adages. I suggest, if I may, that you take a look at a few things. First, why do you assume that you have to immediately find a new partner? If you’re having a hard time remembering how to have fun, I would start there before worrying about the complication of husband hunting. Find your spark. Search for it. Dig it up, whatever you have to do, but you find it and keep it safe. Feed it. Do things you love. If you don’t love anything anymore, do things you’ve never tried until you find something that keeps your interest. Forget finding love for now and focus on finding yourself. When you’re happy, you’re a beacon for happy and interesting people, and maybe that partner you’re so worried about will show up then. Keep your chin up, Dead, and take care of yourself. Men should compliment, not complete. 

Dear Alice,

I am planning to marry the man of my dreams this August. Although his parents are wonderful, I'm a little concerned about the role that they still play in his life...particularly his mother. She still does my fiancé's laundry, cooks his lunches daily, and cleans his house. What do you think?

- Mother Drama

DEAR MOTHER DRAMA: Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials, and congratulations on finding a man who loves his momma (or at least loves her like he loves the hired help). I can see your concern, and I would share it myself. Either your Mr. Perfect is charming enough to have his momma wrapped around his little finger and she just loves him so much she wants to help him, or he expects her to cater to him (you know what they say about boys treating women the way they treat their mommas), and you too, by default. Or, worse, his momma doesn’t think he’s working with a full deck, and won’t trust him with the operation of his own major appliances. I’d do a little investigative reporting and see which theory pans out… then see which aligns with your dream life. His Momma might just love you for taking the responsibility off of her hands—for better or worse. 

Dear Alice,

My wife and I have been married for a year but together as a couple for nearly 5. We come from very different background and ethnicities, and we have worked through that with both her family and my own who were shocked with we started dating. We are both young, professional individuals who work hard, provide for our children, have a nice house, do what is right and leave a small print on the planet. I would say we are good people. With that being said, how do we deal with the racism that we still experience in this modern day and age? If one more person asks my wife if she has to wear a hajib to visit her in-laws she is going to deck them, and I’m not even Muslim, people just assume I am because of my skin color.

- Racism

DEAR RACISM: This situation reminds me of my friend Bucky, who had the unfortunate job of being a practice client for his girlfriend in cosmetology school. Long story short, Bucky had white tipped hair and permanently surprised arched eyebrows for a few weeks, and got a lot of flak for it. People had a few different reactions: They either tried to convince him that gay wasn’t the way or tried to be progressive and steered him toward the glittery gun-rack at the Wal-Mart. Regardless, everyone treated him based on what they perceived him to be… as they had before the Tammy Faye Baker make-over. People, for whatever reason, feel safest when they can box and label people up. When a person (or in your case, two people) find a way to break out of the status quo, it confuses the rest of us. Frankly, sometimes people are jerks, but sometimes, people are well-intentioned, but misinformed. It’s up to you whether you feel the need to correct their assumptions, or if you want to handle it with a stock response, “No, I don’t wear a hajib to visit my in-laws, do you?” Remember, a polite smile and a few well chosen seconds of awkward silence goes quite a long way to remind people to keep their assumptions to themselves. Best of luck! 

Dear Alice,

I really want my boyfriend to take charge of our sex life, and I want him to spank me and stuff, but I have no idea how to tell him what I want. What do you suggest? 

- Paininthebackside

DEAR PAIN IN THE BACKSIDE: Well, well. You certainly stumped me, you sassy thing! I thought I’d ease into this new job nice and slow, but DC has other ideas. I promise you a full article in the next edition of the Star-News. Now, off to do some investigative reporting. Back soon! 



Alice Gable is a big city girl recently freed from a small town world. She might not know it all—but she’s on a mission to find out. She hates long walks on the beach and slow jazz, but does like a good cup of coffee. If you have a question you’d like Alice to answer or a how-to you’d like to volunteer for, please email her at <cute random email addy> 

OOC: Email serwendipitous@gmail.com or see Wendi.