Thursday, April 15, 2021

Get Out! Or Stay In! And Celebrate DC's Emancipation Day Holiday with These Events on April 15 & 16

Mayor Bowser Presents: Becoming Douglass Commonwealth, from D.C. Disenfranchisement to Full Democracy

For a first time in history, D.C. statehood bills will likely come up for votes in both houses during the 117th Congress. If past debates about D.C. statehood are any guide, the debates about these bills will be contentious and will focus largely on questions of history. Why should D.C. become a state? Can we admit new states into the Union? Or, is statehood for D.C. even constitutional? 


Westminster Presbyterian Church in Southwest DC Presents: Remember the Pearl, Commemorating the Historic Escape for Freedom by Enslaved Persons in 1848 From the Southwest Waterfront with C.R. Gibbs & Dawne Young, Edmonson Descendant
April 15, 2021 – 7:00 PM EST on Zoom
One hundred seventy-three years ago to the date, in the twilight of a spring Saturday night, 77 enslaved men, women, and children, quietly left their master’s quarters and stole away to freedom aboard a commercial schooner called the Pearl. It was the largest attempt in the country by enslaved persons to escape their chains of bondage. Their daring deed led to a major riot in the city. All were recaptured and sold off down south. But, their audacity to seek freedom shook the very foundations of the American ideas of liberty, justice, and equality. This program honors their strength, courage, fortitude to risk it all for the chance to be free.
From April 16 – 18th, you can visit the memorial site at the SW Duck Pond at 6th & I Streets, SW.   
Mayor Muriel Bowser Presents: D.C. Emancipation Day Virtual Kickoff Celebration “From Enslavement to Statehood - Representation, Identity, and Diversity"
April 15, 2021 – 6:00 PM EST
Leading up to DC Emancipation Day on April 16, 2021, The Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs, the Mayor’s Office of Religious Affairs, and the Mayor’s Interfaith Council will host “From Enslavement to DC Statehood - Representation, Identity, and Diversity 51 Faith Leaders for Statehood”.

This panel will explore the path forward in the quest for racial equality, social justice and DC Statehood with the same perseverance and resilience that brought African Americans through centuries of enslavement, Jim Crow laws, and the racial inequalities that continue to this day.

Emancipation Day Closing Concert
Presented by the Anacostia Coordinating Council, DC Vote, 51 for 51, Indivisible, League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia, and the ACLU of DC
April 16, 2021 – 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST
Facebook Livestream on Make GoGo Forever DC Vote and YouTube Livestream “MakeGoGoforever”.  
DC Emancipation Day Celebration – Mt. Zion-Female Union Band Historic Memorial Park Foundation (Georgetown)
April 16, 2021 – 11:00 AM EST at Mt. Zion Female Union Band Society Cemetery
2501 Mill Road, NW, Washington, DC, 20007
Join the Mt. Zion-Female Union Band Historic Memorial Park Foundation as they celebrate and learn more about those that were Emancipated on April 16, 1862. We will start with a libation ceremony and a reading of the names. We encourage anyone who would like to share about an ancestor, a song, poem or reading to come ready. 
For more information feel free to contact the organizer:  Contact
The Get Out!/Stay In! events column is published on The Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.  

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Still Life with Robin: A Useful New Word -- But Not For Long!

Image by Wikimedia - Creative Commons

by Peggy Robin

The good news this week is that covid vaccinations will be available to any DC resident age 16 and up starting this Monday, April 12.

I just learned a new word that may not be very useful for very long. And that’s a good thing, too. The word is impfneid – and it’s the German word for "vaccine envy."

All winter long, people who were not yet eligible to be vaccinated – or WERE eligible but could not manage to snag one of the coveted appointment slots – would learn of their friends who’d already had their shots – or they’d see Facebook photos of people smiling as they held up their CDC vaccination card – and instead of feeling happy for them, they’d feel the sting of jealousy. No wait, it’s more like a jab than a sting. A jab of jealousy for not getting the jab of inoculation.

Trust the Germans to come up with a word that encapsulates a myriad of negative emotions in one consonant-heavy mouthful. It’s like schadenfreude, but in reverse. Instead of feeling happy at someone else’s misfortune, you are unhappy to learn that someone else is protected, and you’re not.

But that’s all about to change, starting Monday, as vaccination opens up to all adults in all states – and non-states like DC.

Of course, it may take a few weeks for all who want the shot to secure appointments, so there may still be some weeks of impfneid ahead of us.

Want to learn more about the origins of this word? I got it from a wonderful podcast about language called “A Way with Words” – and each week the show covers a plethora of odd phrases, idioms, nonce words, and other linguistic oddities and delights.

The impfneid segment is here:   

The full episode is here:   

And the website for the series is here:     

If you end up waiting in a long line to get your shot, I recommend passing the time by listening to some episodes of the show. Here's one that's especially appropriate -- it talks about people who say "waiting in line" versus "waiting on line" -- -- but I do hope your line is not too many episodes long!  

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Get Out! And Feed Your Pooch While Helping Other Pups - Saturday, April 10 from 11am-1pm

Human Rescue Alliance 
Comes to Pet Pantry

by Peggy Robin

The highlighted event for this week is happening just up the avenue from Cleveland Park -- at Van Ness -- and it's an event for both two-legged and four-legged friends.

Here's the description from Van Ness Main Street (via Twitter):

Van Ness Main Street
HRA's PET PANTRY COMES TO VAN NESS MAIN STREET this Saturday, April 10th, 11am - 1pm.
@HumaneRescue Alliance's Pet Pantry is giving out free cat & dog food to DC residents who need support in feeding their pets.
Please feel free to share with others
Paw prints
Round pushpin
for DC residents
available on a monthly basis
SATURDAY, APRIL 11 from 11 AM - 1 PM
at Van Ness Main Street
4340 Connecticut Avenue NW Washington, DC 20008

Questions? Contact the HOPE Program at 202 735 0334
The "Get Out" event of the week is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays. 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Still Life with Robin: "The Stormys" - Best Storm Photos of 2020

Photo by Forest Wander (Creative Commons)
by Peggy Robin

It’s awards season and while the big thing of the season is universally acknowledged to be the Academy Awards for the best movies of the previous year, I would like to take this opportunity plug one of the lesser-known award shows -- "The Stormys" -- given annually to the best stormchaser/photographer and to the best individual photograph taken of a storm in 2020. One reason why you may not have heard of "The Stormys" is that the March 31, 2021 awards event was the first time "The Stormys" had ever been presented

I have to confess, I did not watch the show live; everything I know about it came from the superb coverage of the event by The Capital Weather Gang on March 31, 2021: 

But there actually is a physical trophy that gets handed to the winners. You can see :The Stormy" in this little video clip:   

Now, I won’t call it ugly….but wait, I can’t think of any other word for it, so yes, that thing is ugly.

On the other hand, the photograph taken by the winner of the “Photographer of the Year” award is stunning:  

You can view the work of all the nominated photographers here: 

And for the best individual weather photo of the year….the STORMY goes to: 

To see all the finalists and also-rans, scroll down the page at: 

Just FYI: the last one, of the small clapboard house alone on a plain in Taiban, NM with bolts of lightning forking behind it, would have won my vote for Best Storm Photo of the Year.

And now, just to prove that Washington,DC can produce its own award-worthy images of stormy's an undated photo of lighting off in the distance, and cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin: 

Looking forward to a balmy springtime!


Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Stay In! And Celebrate the 2nd Anniversary of 3 Israeli Couples Who Got Married in Cleveland Park


Dear List Members,
The highlighted event for the week is actually a follow-up: It’s been two years since we first posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv an invitation to a triple wedding taking place at Washington Hebrew Congregation – and the whole community was welcome. 
Here’s the original invitation that appeared on the Listserv as Message  #144573  
Celebrate Love & Support Marriage Equality in Israel - Tues, Mar 26, 2019
3 Weddings and a Statement
Celebrate LOVE and support marriage equality in Israel!
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Washington Hebrew Congregation, 3935 Macomb St. NW, Washington DC
With great joy and meaning, Washington Hebrew Congregation and Adas Israel Congregation invite you to a very special event welcoming three couples into the covenant of marriage.
These couples could not or would not legally marry in Israel under the auspices of the ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate for three very different reasons: one couple is gay, the second couple has one partner that Israel’s Chief Rabbinate does not consider to be Jewish, the third couple rejects the Rabbinate’s rigid control over Jewish marriage.
They would have preferred to marry in their home country. In fact, each has already had a wedding ceremony in Israel, but the government will not recognize their marriages. Much like “commitment ceremonies” that same-sex couples had in the United States before the Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage, the three couples are married only in their hearts.
Learn More and RSVP to join us in person or live stream the ceremony: 
Some of you may have attended. (I did and it was lovely)
Now, whether you went to the original or not, you are invited to a Zoom follow-up conversation with all three married couples, live from Israel, who will be joined by: 

Anat Hoffman
Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center

Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig
Senior Rabbi, Washington Hebrew Congregation

David Astrove
WHC Past President and Reform movement participant at the recent World Zionist Congress

Sunday, April 4 at 10:30 am on Zoom  

Meeting Registration: Register
Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn  Microsoft (Outlook)

Three Weddings, Three Babies and Israel’s Election: Will the Next Generation of Israelis Have Equal Rights?


It was just two years ago that three Israeli couples traveled thousands of miles to get married in Washington, D.C. because they were unable to have legally recognized marriages in Israel.
Since that time, each couple has had a baby – and Israel has held FOUR elections. How will the results of this most recent contest affect our Israeli brothers and sisters? What does this mean for the couples and their children?
Find out at a special program about equal rights and pluralism in Israel! All three couples and Anat Hoffman, the Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center, will join us live from Israel via Zoom for a discussion with Rabbi Lustig and David Astrove, WHC Past President who participated in the recent World Zionist Congress with the Reform movement.
This program, sponsored by the Elizabeth and Richard Dubin Family Heritage Fund, is free and open to the community.

The "Get Out/Stay In!" featured event is published each Thursday on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local 

Mayor Announces "2020 Forgive & Forget" Relief to 4,121 DC Residents Through New DC Portal

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Today, April 1, 2020, is the one-year anniversary of the Emergency Order issued by Mayor Bowser at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Starting at 12 AM April 1, 2021 the Mayor has announced a new program designed to help all District residents put the hardships of 2020 behind them -- and for up to 4,121 DC residents, that will mean a significant financial rebate, as well.

The "Forgive & Forget 2020 Program" is a Statement of Positive Outlook (SPO), which, while acknowledging the disastrous unfortunate qualities of the previous year (2020), urges all District residents to stop complaining about the past and look forward to the many improvements in life that are sure to occur in 2021 -- especially after we all officially adopt an Optimistic Attitude (OPTA). 

The OPTA will be most easily accessible for the segment of the population that stands to benefit from one aspect of the program being administered by the DC Office of Tax & Revenue: The "Forgive & Forget 2020" OTR DC Tax Rebate. For those who qualify and meet the registration deadline for the limited number of slots, all taxes paid for the year 2020 will be forgiven; if you have already paid your DC tax bill -- whether personal income taxes or real estate taxes -- you will receive a rebate check for the full amount paid, plus interest.

How to Register for Your "Forgive & Forget 2020" Tax Rebate: 

Starting at 9:00 AM today, the DC Office of Tax & Revenue will open up its new portal: F2020DC/IWantMyYearBack/ 

Any DC resident who has paid taxes to DC for 2020 is invited to go to the site, create a user name and password, and enter the information needed to establish your eligibility to be refunded everything you have paid to DC during the year 2020, the year we all wish had never happened. 

Once you have created a log-on, you will have six minutes to fill in your tax ID information, your full legal name --must match exactly the name in your DC tax records-- your address, your preferred method of follow-up contact, and your bank account information for direct deposit of your rebate. You must provide your bank routing number and account number and then confirm by retyping the numbers in a separate box, while the previously typed numbers appear as asterisks, after which you must attach a PDF copy of your D-40, plus the lot and square number of any real estate for which you owe or have paid RPT [real property tax] in the previous tax year .

If the site crashes due to high user traffic or you cannot complete the forms within the allotted six minutes, you must refresh the site and start over.

Once the 4,121 available slots have been taken, the DC Forgive & Forget 2020 program is closed to further applications. 

For further information and more detailed instructions about completing the DC Forgive & Forget online registration, please visit our HELP LINE at: DC Forgive & Forget - Sorry You Missed Your Chance - Better Luck Next Year! 


Connect With Us
Executive Office of the Mayor
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 311-4121
Website: DCMayorMBowser

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Still Life with Robin: It's All Greek to Me - But Why Is That a Problem?


Hurricane Zeta - National Weather Service

by Peggy Robin

Sometimes there are problems that get solved before we even knew there was a problem. Did you know about the problem of late season hurricane names?

In a busy hurricane season, if there are more named hurricanes than the internationally approved list of 21 names for that year (which runs from A to W – leaving out Q, X, Y, & Z), the “extra” hurricanes are called the letters of the Greek alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu, Nu, Xi, Omicron, Pi, Rho, Sigma, Tau, Upsilon, Phi, Chi Psi, Omega.

Last year’s hurricane season was one of the longest and busiest ever, tearing through the 21 names from Arthur (May 16 2020 – that’s two weeks before the official start of hurricane season on June 1!) to Wilfred by September 17, 2020. The first Greek alphabet named hurricane, Alpha, began that same day, September 17, and the Greek-letter-named hurricanes raced through the first half of the Greek alphabet, until the final one, Iota, on November 13 2020.

So what was the problem? It wasn’t a shortage of Greek letters! It was that too many people don’t know the Greek alphabet and were confused by the sequence. When we got to Hurricane Zeta, the SIXTH letter of the Greek alphabet, lots of people assumed, since Zeta starts with a Z, that it must be the equivalent of the Z in our alphabet, and we’d already run out of Greek letters. So when Hurricane Eta came along on November 1, 2020, a week after Hurricane Zeta, people were calling up the National Weather Service and NOAA to complain, “Hey, Zeta was supposed to be the end!”

Greek alphabet illiteracy -- THAT was the problem. To quote the greatest Floridian ever (Dave Barry), “I am NOT making this up!”

Clearly, there’s been a decline in classical education: not enough people knowing their Greek letters. You would think people would at least be familiar with that resounding phrase from the New Testament, “I am the Alpha and the Omega” – that is to say, the beginning and the end. But no!. The confusion was bad enough to spur the World Meteorological Organization to give up the Greek letter naming scheme and switch to a set of second-string girls’ and boys’ names.

So here we are, a few months away from Hurricane Season 2021, with a whole B-list of hurricanes names to use after the A-list runs out.

Here are the 2021 hurricane/tropical storm names that will need to be used up first:
Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Julian, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, Wanda

And here’s the list of Hurricane Round 2 names if we get more hurricanes after Wanda (which we will! In this era of climate-change-fueled intensified weather phenomena, you can make book on it):
Adria, Braylen , Caridad, Deshawn, Emery, Foster, Gemma, Heath, Isla, Jacobus, Kenzie, Lucio, Makayla, Nolan, Orlanda, Pax, Ronin, Sophie, Tayshaun, Viviana, Will

I may be cementing my reputation as a curmudgeon, but I have to call the dumbing down of late season hurricane names a bad thing -- a symptom of alphabetical laziness, an unwillingness to make people memorize a set of foreign letters. They’re not even that unfamiliar, as we’ve seen them used in everyday math and science -- not to mention fraternities and sororities. Is it really too much to ask for people to remember that after zeta comes eta?

If you’d like to learn the Greek alphabet the easy way, here’s a little song you can get stuck in your head: 

Of course, now that the Greek alphabet is no longer in use during the hurricane season, you may wonder, what’s the use of learning the order now? Pure knowledge! And you may want to join me in my (undoubtedly fruitless) campaign to BRING BACK THE GREEK LETTERS!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.   

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Get Out! And Get Ready for Once-Every-17-Years Invasion of the Cicadas

Cicadas - Photo by USDA
by Peggy Robin

 If you’ve never lived through The Great Cicada Awakening before…..that means you are either under 17 years old, or you were living outside the Great Mid-Atlantic Cicada Invasion Zone (see map at and scroll down to the 2021 map) the last time the swarms emerged.

For a good description of what we’re in for, listen to Sir David Attenborough narrate (in his usual, calm, plummy Queen’s English) the ferocious burst of noise and activity that will soon be upon us:

Whether you’ve lived through it before or not, it’s good to be prepared for what’s coming. Think of ways to deal with the noise. Want to hear it now? Listen to this: You will also want to consider how you are going to avoid the crunch of insect shells beneath your feet. If you’re at all squeamish, you might consider learning and using calming relaxation and breathing techniques. Or maybe just get away to Hawaii for the duration. (Get your negative covid test and book a vacation at a resort that will act as a “bubble”.)

Don’t want to cut and run? Then get ready to protect your garden from the invaders….as much as you can. Here’s a free online course that can help:

Preparing Your Garden for the Seventeen-Year Cicadas

Price: Free · Duration: 1 hr 30 min
Public  · Anyone on or off Facebook  

Event by Virginia Cooperative Extension - Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia and VCE Arlington 

Virginia Cooperative Extension - Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia


The Get Out!/Stay In! column is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.   

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Old Dialing Habits Die Hard


Telephone Booth
New Orleans
Wikimedia Commons
by Peggy Robin

I’ve been mulling over the report, posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv on March 8 (Message #171076  ) that DC will be getting a new area code. It’s 771. The poster who announced this impending change said that starting on April 10 we're supposed to transition to dialing 202 or 771 to make calls within DC, and this will become mandatory starting on November 9.

To which another list member immediately replied (I'm paraphrasing here): "Whaaaah???! You mean I all this time I've been dialing ten digits, I would have been fine with seven? I thought we've had ten-digit dialing for decades!!!"

I have to admit, so did I. Back in the olden days, -- when there were far fewer phones to connect to -- you could dial someone in the Maryland ‘burbs with just 7 digits; you didn’t need the 301. Dialing ten digits only became necessary if you were trying to reach someone as far away as Baltimore (410). On the Virginia side of the Potomac (703), I really have no idea how far you could go on your seven digits, because all my friends and family in the Metro area were either in the District proper or just a few miles over the line at Western Avenue.

With the help of Google, I found out that it was in 1990 when they first made us start dialing 301 and 703 to reach our friends in contiguous states. Here’s some history—along with some local color about longtime residents and their loyalty to their area codes – in a very informative article from WAMU:

My own takeaway from this article is a sense of regret to learn that for so many years, I could been saving precious seconds punching in just seven numbers when calling within for in-town dialing. I just tested it out by dialing the weather, 589-1212, and sure enough, the call went through without a hitch -- no 202 needed. But it’s too late for me to un-learn the 10-digit dialing habit now! Not worth the effort, because we’ll just have to go back to ten-digit dialing once that new 771 area code comes into use.

Anyway, consider all the times that you don’t have to do more than push a single button. Come to think of it, that’s most of the time, these days. I can hardly remember the last time I actually punched in all ten numbers into my keypad. Those I call frequently are in my cellphone under “favorites” and all I need to do is touch a name to start a call. When people call me and leave a message, I just hit “call back.” When I don’t know someone’s number, I can look it up on my smartphone and then touch the number to start a call. That’s not going to change when a new area code comes in.

The only thing I expect to happen is that some people will feel a sentimental attachment to the old 202 area code, and will feel dismayed if they need a new number and get one that starts with 771. There could even be some 202 snobbery: People with 202 numbers may look down upon newbies whose number begin with 771. Why would I assume this? Because that’s exactly what happened when New York City – 212 from the Dawn of the Age of Area Codes – first acquired a second area code, 917, back in 1992. People who had the “classic” 212 were glad they weren’t stuck with 917. Sometimes people who had to change their number would try to wriggle out of a 917 number, and even pay extra for a 212. Seven years later when 646 was introduced, you had both 212 AND 917 phone owners looking down upon those upstarts with 646. Think I’m making this up? Just watch these two clips from an old Seinfeld episode: and    

As soon as 771 comes in, someone oughta do a Tik Tok about 202 versus 771. If you create such a TikTok, please post the link to the CP Listserv! 


"Still Life with Robin" is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.