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Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Tangled Skein 

I had no idea that there was this whole thing going on in Washington, DC. This story by Cirumlocutor got my attention because I was worried a few weeks ago by some dog poo on the next block. That's correct: a mere block away from my house, on the street that I normally take to and from work, I observed three smallish turds on the sidewalk about five yards from the corner. I made a mental note to take the other side of the street for the next while, especially after dark(!!!), and, as they say, “moved on”.

But if you read the entry “Speaking of Wemple... Shit-Flinging Wife Still Barking About Dogs”, you'll find that the people in question are cranks. Stephanie Mencimer, a journalist and the wife of the editor of Washington's City Paper, had already fomented a habit of complaining about neighbours, and ...

“For a while, I thought my fixation with the neighborhood was a new kind of neurosis that afflicts the homebound,” she wrote.

The affliction apparently continued and only got worse when she and her husband, Erik Wemple paid $890,000 to purchase a home next door to Wag Time.

“Wag Time” being a pet spa, a business pretty much chockablock with vacationing dogs, and yet they buy a house next door. Don't you think they would have asked the agent, “What's up with the building next door? There seem to be some dogs?” Anyway, what she then did was get into a set-to with the spa people which came to a head when she threw a bag of dog poo at them:

Soon, as with her neighbor who she complained about to the Department of Consumer of Regulatory Affairs for holding yard sales without a permit, Stephanie [i.e., Ms Mencimer—P. Drāno] was on the phone with the DCRA complaining about Wag Time. And then after that she went to court against Wag Time. And then after that, she complained to the zoning board.

And when all of that did no good, Stephanie goes next door and starts slinging the shit at her neighbors. And finally, her husband Erik, upset at the DCRA for their inaction, orders a cover story exposing the DCRA as an inept and ineffective agency, without disclosing his and his wife’s own grudges.

The story gets more interesting. Far from being an isolated incident, it intermeshes with some more tales of journalistic weirdness: “The (attempted) Swift boating of Murray Waas”; “Eric Wemple Apparently Has an Awesome Editorial Plan for The City Paper ”; and Orcinus's “The Accountability Problem”. (All of those stories have more links that are worth reading.)



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