United House of Prayer Has Sweet Daddy of a Parade

(Photo By: heydayjoe)

(Photo By: heydayjoe)

Not to be confused with IHOP, UHOP is a big deal in DC. Bigger than all-day pancake breakfast. Big enough to have its own parade. IHOP doesn’t get its own parade.

With a dozen brass bands, gospel singers and cheerleaders for Jesus, UHOP takes the almighty word of God to the streets each year on Memorial Day weekend with its “Christian Saints” marching parade. The video below shows one of several blocks filled with church members preparing for the parade.

The United House of Prayer for All People (also known as the United House of Prayer for All People of the Church on the Rock of the Apostolic Faith) – let’s call it UHOP – was founded in 1919 by “Sweet Daddy” Grace, a Cape Verdi immigrant also known as Bishop Charles Manuel Grace and born as Marcelino Manuel da Graca. Let’s call him “Sweet Daddy.”

Once a railway cook, Sweet Daddy began using the title bishop and built the first UHOP church in Wareham, Mass., for 39 bucks – ecumenical and economical. The church was incorporated in Washington, DC, in 1937, and its national headquarters is located in the Shaw neighborhood at 601 M Street NW. Members refer to the headquarters as “Sweet God’s White House.” (Its gold dome can be seen in the still for the video above.)

In addition to its renowned cafeteria, which serves inexpensive soul food, UHOP headquarters is also famous for it mass street baptisms, in which hundreds of congregants dressed in white, many wearing shower caps, are baptized by fire hose.

According to UHOP documents, the church now has between 25,000 and 50,000 members, with 145 houses of worship in 29 states.

For its annual parade, UHOP busses in congregants from all over the country. After about an hour of preparation, in which shout-band cacophony fills the streets near the church, the parade kicks off in royal fashion. Led by long columns of male church elders in black robes, UHOP’s current bishop, C.M. “Sweet Daddy” Bailey, rides in a chariot throne with members of his family.

Born to Be Mild: Rolling Thunder Rumbles into DC

(Photo By: heydayjoe)

(Photo By: heydayjoe)

On Memorial Day weekend, the patriotic motorcycle rally Rolling Thunder rumbled into DC for its annual tribute to our country’s veterans. Tens of thousands of Baby Boomer bikers roared down the streets of DC to honor fallen soldiers, living veterans, prisoners of war and, particularly, those still missing in action.

Rolling Thunder’s mission is to educate, facilitate, and never forget by means of a demonstration for service members that were abandoned after the Vietnam War. Rolling Thunder has also evolved into a display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country.”

(Photo By: heydayjoe)

(Photo By: heydayjoe)

The annual ride and gathering first began in 1988 as the Rolling Thunder First Amendment Demonstration Run. Riders from across the country rallied in the Pentagon parking lots before cruising the streets of DC together because … freedom.

Some of these motorcycle enthusiasts have been fighting for their right to be heard for 50 years – essentially this is your grandfather’s motorcycle club – and they know how to make some noise. Baby Boomers hold more than half of all American wealth, and this capitol convergence showcases perhaps the finest collection of beautiful modern, vintage and iconic motorcycles to ever grace the grassy fields of the National Mall.

Given their need to accommodate expanding cargo, these elegant bikes are built for the ultimate comfortable ride. Most include custom amenities for the long haul, with one exception: the quiet muffler, which could stifle the sound of elderly rebellion. Sure, you can take the rebellion out of the aging rebel, but you can’t take the squeal out of the hog – unless you have patriotism-regulating Patriot Defenders pipes. In other words, patriotism needs to be heard to be seen but not necessarily seen to be understood. Got that? Freedom!

Wish We Here — DC Postcards #7

DC postcard

(Image By: heydayjoe)

For all of you who’ll be flying into and out of our nation’s capital this holiday weekend, here’s the latest creation from our collection of altered DC postcards. Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

See all of Heyday DC’s slightly deranged postcards here. Heyday DC postcards are gift-shop-bought cards that we’ve altered by the old-school method of cut and paste: scissors and glue.

This Is Your History … on Drugs: DEA Museum

Good Medicine, Bad Behavior: Drug Diversion in America – an interactive DEA Musuem exhibit delving into prescription drug abuse (Photo By: heydayjoe)

Good Medicine, Bad Behavior: Drug Diversion in America – an interactive DEA Museum exhibit delving into prescription drug abuse (Photo By: heydayjoe)

“By 1900, when 1 in 200 Americans was addicted, the typical addict was a white, middle-class female hooked through medical treatment. But there was also a rapidly growing new group of young, urban pleasure users.”

And it is these users who will likely enjoy the DEA Museum the most.

Located just one block north of the Pentagon City stop on DC Metro’s Yellow Line, the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum & Visitors Center greets you with the friendly checkpoint security you’ve come to expect at DC’s museums, i.e., empty your pockets and step through the metal detector. (Note to stoners: We know that subtlety is not your forte, but that was your hint on what not to bring on your visit to the DEA Museum.)

The DEA Museum literally showcases its successes in the brief history of drug enforcement in the United States while inadvertently highlighting its many failures in the futile war on drugs. The combination makes for a delightful cocktail of fear and yearning.

From opium smoking in China, whence “began the modern drug pleasure culture,” to pill-popping pharm parties with the kids in suburbia, the DEA Museum has it all. The illicit drug-use story begins with the Opium Wars of 1840 and 1860, which Britain won, thereby forcing China to make opium legal. (Kudos to the Western World for once again starting something that it would spend endless years and dollars to stop.)

Yes, Bayer promoted heroin for children. (Photo By: heydayjoe)

Yes, Bayer promoted heroin for children. (Photo By: heydayjoe)

The narco narrative then moves to the U.S., with an array of plexiglass displays that hint at a nostalgia for the good ol’ days, when Americans used Schedule 1 and 2 drugs to alleviate every ailment known to man, woman and child – from the morphine-laced Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup for teething children to Bayer Heroin, a seductive sedative for that nasty cough.

The all-ages party begins to wind down in 1914 with the Harrison Narcotic Act, a law that dictated the orderly marketing of drugs in small quantities and the physician’s right to prescribe in larger quantities. Johnny Law took this to mean that a doc could not prescribe dope to an addict to maintain his addiction. Drug addicts took this to mean no more over-the-counter highs. Lines were drawn, and the honorable tradition of federal drug law enforcement was born. In a nod to the true motive behind this governmental oversight, the first enforcement agency was the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the precursor to the IRS. It was the U.S. Treasury that would enforce the Harrison Act, and it intended to make its presence on the streets known. Every narcotics agent was issued a badge, a Thompson machine gun and a pair of hand grenades. The war on drugs had begun.**

You didn’t see no kids selling or using drugs. If a kid came around … they’d chase him away. They’d say, ‘What do you want? Get out of here! You want a lollipop or something? The kids definitely were not involved [in drugs] in the Thirties and Forties.” – New York addict, 1970s

This campaign to make our children safer against heroin tablets and cocaine toothache drops was more than just taking candy away from a baby; it was taking away baby’s narcotics. Decades would pass before kids again had such easy access to drugs.

The Drug Enforcement Administration didn’t appear until nearly 60 years after the Harrison Act, when it was created in 1973 as part of the Department of Justice. Although it was a direct offshoot of the DOJ’s Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (1968-73), its ancestors include numerous agencies created in the first half of the 20th century: Treasury’s Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Bureau of Prohibition, the Bureau of Narcotics and the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Diamonds are a druglord's best friend, next to drugs. (Photo By: heydayjoe)

Diamonds are a druglord’s best friend, next to drugs. (Photo By: heydayjoe)

Each of these drug enforcement predecessors had a touch of seizure fever. Although they were all opposed to people taking drugs, none had any qualms about forcefully taking away people’s drugs – and anything else they found next to or in the same house or in the general vicinity of those drugs. Confiscated treasures on display at the DEA Museum range from a homemade honey bear bong to a full-size marijuana vending machine to the diamond-encrusted Colt .45 of drug kingpin Rafael Caro-Quintero

The DEA has even managed to obtain for display a box of twisted steel and concrete chunks from the World Trade Center. What’s the connection to drugs? Here’s your answer: Poppies grow in Afghanistan; poppies are used to make heroin; heroin production fuels terrorism; and terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. Seems straightforward, right? (NOTE: None of the 9-11 terrorists were Afghani nationals, and opium production has been on the rise in Afghanistan since the U.S. occupation began in 2001.)

The original title of this 1956 mass market paperback was "Second Ending." (Photo By: heydayjoe)

The original title of this 1956 mass market paperback was “Second Ending.” (Photo By: heydayjoe)

Growing drugs isn’t always a profession of choice, but taking them usually is. Many have tried to enhance their personalities by devouring dope, but drug use typically doesn’t enhance your career – unless you’re an athlete, or a former DEA agent, or a musician. The intertwined story of drugs and music is much like the chicken or the egg causality dilemma: Although we don’t know which came first, there’s a long history of taking drugs to make music to take drugs to. The DEA Museum graciously provides some pleasant side effects of that medicinal medley. Here are some of the high notes:

  • “Marijuana enthusiasts of the 1920s called themselves ‘Vipers.’ Jazz music with lyrics about marijuana, known as viper music, was often played in basement clubs known as ‘tea pads.’ To listen to the Rosetta Howard & the Harlem Hamfats version of “If You’re a Viper,” click here.
  • Milton ‘Mezz’ Mezzrow was the jazz musician who introduced marijuana to Harlem in 1929 when the drug was still legal.” He became so well known for selling weed to the jazz cats that “mezz” became slang for marijuana, a reference that is used in “If You’re a Viper.” He was also known as the “Muggles King” – “muggles” being another slang term for marijuana.
  • Kurt Cobain makes an appearance in heavy eyeliner, included in the gallery because he “shot and killed himself while high on heroin.”
  • Perhaps the greatest song featured in the museum is one created by the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Check out the video below.

Don’t forget to the visit the DEA Museum gift shop before you leave!

**According to the DEA, the “war on drugs” began during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, with increased penalties for even first-time drug offenders and expanded DEA powers. By the 1990s, more than half of federal prisoners were incarcerated for federal drug violations.

Willie Wood Way: A Packers Drive in Redskins Territory

Willie Wood Way (Photo By: heydayjoe)

Willie Wood Way (Photo By: heydayjoe)

Named for the Hall of Fame safety who played for the Green Bay Packers from 1960-71, Willie Wood Way is the block of N Street NW between First Street NW and New York Avenue NW in DC.

William Vernell Wood (b. 1936) and his family lived on this stretch of road in the 1950s, and Wood played football at the neighborhood boys club before he went on to become a star player at Armstrong High School and a quarterback at USC.

The Trojans were a good fit for Willie (sorry, had to say it). Willie Wood was the first black quarterback in the history of the Pac 12 conference and, though he was not drafted by the NFL – which wouldn’t be ready for its first black quarterback until James Harrison suited up for the Buffalo Bills in 1969 – Wood tried out for the Packers and was signed as a free agent in 1960.

Willie Wood in the 1960s (Courtesy of Green Bay Packers)

Willie Wood in the 1960s (Courtesy of Green Bay Packers)

Willie Wood helped the Packers win Super Bowls I and II, and he holds the record for most consecutive starts by a safety in NFL history. He was also the first black coach in the Canadian Football League.

Wood is truly a football legend, and the street naming in his hometown is a nice gesture for a man known for getting to the ball first. But much like the oft-replaced Stoner Road and Middlesex Road street signs from heydayjoe’s youth, the Willie Wood Way sign is destined to be a decorative trophy in the room of some sticky-fingered teen.

Presidential Inbreeding: Are All U.S. Presidents Related?

Octopus King - the genealogy of related presidents (Illustration By: Matt Wainwright)

Octopus King – the genealogy of related presidents (Illustration By: Matt Wainwright)

Does anybody else wish we could be done with all Bushes, Clintons and Kennedys? No more Roosevelts, Harrisons or Adamses?

As it turns out, ruling dynasties formed by centuries of incestuous coupling aren’t just for European monarchies. Here in America, we have our own “royal” families, a certain posterity who just can’t seem to keep their posteriors away from the seat of power.

Although no U.S. president has ever been directly related to the president that he immediately follows or who immediately follows him, some have come pretty close:

  • George W. Bush (#43) was the son of George H. W. Bush (#41).
  • John Quincy Adams (#6) was the son of John Adams (#2).
  • Benjamin Harrison (#23) was the grandson of William Henry Harrison (#9).
  • James Madison (#4) and Zachary Taylor (#12) were second cousins.
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt (#32) was a fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt (#26)

The presidential bloodline runs especially deep for our longest-serving president. Genealogists have determined that FDR was related to a total of 11 presidents, five by blood or and six through marriage: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Ulysses S. Grant, William Henry Harrison, Benjamin Harrison, James Madison, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Zachary Taylor, Martin Van Buren and George Washington.

But it gets better. In 2012, a 12-year-old girl in California traced the lineage of all but one American President back to King John, who ruled England from 1166 to 1216. King John “Lackland” Plantaganet signed the Magna Carta in 1215, limiting the monarch’s power and helping form the British Parliament. According to the pre-teen, only one president was not related to King John – Martin Van Buren (#8), who has Dutch roots. (He was known as the “OK” president. Seriously.) If her research is true, it appears that all but one of the U.S. presidents are cousins. Kissing cousins. Of related royal bloodlines. Descended from European monarchs. So much for the Revolutionary War of independence

The Face of the Voice of the DC Metro

Randi Miller - from singing telegram to car dealer intercom to most heard voice in our nation's capital

Randi Miller – from singing telegram to car dealer intercom to most-heard voice in our nation’s capital

The most frequently heard voice in our nation’s capital isn’t the enunciated clip of Barack Obama or the smoker’s rasp of House Speaker John Boehner. It’s the sultry intonations of Randi Miller, the voice of DC Metro, who also happens to be an auto lease retention manager from Woodbridge, Va.

Randi’s voice is played 33,017 times a day in 86 Metro subway stations spanning DC, Maryland and Virginia. It’s Randi’s voice you hear just before the Metro doors snap shut on your bag with a thud – “Doors closing.”

Randi Miller’s voice was not the first to reverberate throughout Washington’s subway system though. Back in 1996, DC resident Sandy Carroll made a recording in her apartment as a favor to a friend, a recording that was to be the gentle voice of Metro for a decade.

Sandy Carroll - former voice of the Metro (1996-2006)

Sandy Carroll – former voice of the Metro (1996-2006)

In 2006, Metro decided to change its tone by announcing the “Doors Closing Voice 2006” contest to find a new voice for the Metrorail trains. The voice of Sandy had seemingly faded into the background, and Metro needed a more authoritative voice to nudge its passengers along. Anyone over the age of 21 was eligible to compete.

Metro asked each contestant to record two messages in three tones of voice: polite, serious and authoritative. Several scripts were specifically written to deter notorious door-blockers: “One arm. One leg. One briefcase. One purse … can delay everyone.” Another script began with “Jeepers, Batman! Did you see that person just shove their briefcase in the doors?”

The “Doors Closing” contest attracted 1,259 contestants from across the country, some from as far away as Seattle. Metro reviewed the CD submissions and narrowed the field. Of the 10 finalists, all lived in the metropolitan area and half rode Metro regularly. The contestants’ reward for making it to the Top 10: a DC edition of Monopoly.

The stage was now set for a studio showdown. Each finalist recorded new messages in a professional studio near Dupont Circle: a 10-minute recording session under the guidance of a creative director from Arlington’s LM&O Advertising.

Three judges – the head of marketing for Metro, the advertising creative director and a former local anchorwoman – listened to the recordings to select the new voice. On Feb. 2, 2006, Metro announced its winner.

Chosen for the honor of being the new voice of Metrorail trains – and it is only an honor – Randi Miller, like Sandy Carroll before her, didn’t receive a dime for her efforts. Her recording was simply loaded onto a chip and placed in Metro’s more than 950 train cars.

Although Randi’s a lifelong singer who’s delivered singing telegrams, her only previous broadcast experience had been over the intercom at the Alexandria car dealership where she works. But after landing the Metro gig, her vocal career took off. Now her voice can be heard at kiosks in the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History, aquariums across the country and even radio commercials. She’s also used her voice to raise more than $250,000 for charities including Central Hospice, the Duffy Project and the Thomas G. Larbrecque Foundation.

Although she’s an infrequent subway rider, Randi still finds it weird to hear her voice on the trains. “When it first started running on the trains, I couldn’t wait to hear it. I wanted to see how it sounded,” she said. “And it was so annoying to me when I heard it. Maybe because it’s me. Maybe because … maybe just because it’s me.”

TRUMPed! Old Post Office Closes for New Hotel

A view southwest from the Old Post Office Tower on a gloomy day in Oct. 2013 (Photo By: Matt Wainwright)

A view southwest from the Old Post Office Tower on a gloomy day in Oct. 2013 (Photo By: Matt Wainwright)

Goodbye, Old Post Office Tower. We’ll miss you and your most spectacular views of Washington, DC. See you in 2016.

Today the Old Post Office at 12th and Pennsylvania Avenue closed to make way for the latest glitzy jewel in a certain real estate developer’s gilded empire.

In 2013, the federal government’s General Services Administration signed a $200 million, 60-year deal to rent the building to infamous real estate mogul Donald Trump. The GSA had been paying about $12 million annually to operate the building while collecting only about $5 million in rent. Now, with the operating expenses handed off to Trump, the GSA will collect about $3.33 million a year in rent.

Trump’s daughter Ivanka said her father plans to renovate the Old Post Office into “the finest luxury hotel in the world.” If it’s anything like the glittery Trump establishments in Atlantic City, be prepared to wear your sunglasses inside. Following a $200 million overhaul, this grand old mailroom will reopen in 2016 as the Trump International Hotel.

Old Post Office (Photo By: Matt Wainwright)

Old Post Office (Photo By: Matt Wainwright)

Although your average tourists will not be able to afford a stay at the Trump, they will still be able to go up into the tower to the observation deck when the building reopens in 2016. The National Park Service will retain the rights to allow public access to the wonderful views. And, if we’re lucky, the Donald won’t require black people to present their birth certificates when entering his hotel. Welcome to Chocolate City, Donald!

DC’s first skyscraper, the Old Post Office at 12th and Pennsylvania Avenue opened in 1899. It was the first government building on Pennsylvania Avenue and the first building in town to boast having its own electric power plant.

At 315 feet, the Old Post Office Tower is the second-tallest structure in DC, following the Washington Monument. For those missing the tower’s sky-high views, don’t fret. The Washington Monument reopens on May 12, after years of repairs following the 2011 earthquake that rocked DC.

Here’s a last glimpse of the Old Post Office Pavilion, after the shops and food court had closed forever.

Old Post Office Pavilion in Feb. 2014 (Photo By: heydayjoe)

Old Post Office Pavilion in Feb. 2014 (Photo By: heydayjoe)