Sunday, February 26, 2017

Still Life with Robin: The End of The Driveway Moment

Photo by Navigator84 via Creative Commons
by Peggy Robin

If you are an NPR listener, I’m sure you know all about The Driveway Moment. It usually happens like this: You’re driving along, listening to a segment of, say, This American Life or The Moth or Snap Judgment and you are all caught up in the story, when, before you know it, you have arrived back home in your own driveway. But you don’t want to get out of your car because that will make you miss perhaps the next 30 seconds to a minute of the story while you run into the house, find the nearest radio, and turn it on to resume listening. Yes, you could stop listening and then later go hunting for the podcast, download it to your computer, and pick up where you left off, but that would break the flow, and in many cases, leave you in a frustrated state of suspense. So what do you do? You sit in your parked car and you don’t move till the story is done. And if you’ve got a grocery bag with a pint of ice cream in the back seat – let it melt!

Now there’s a way to listen uninterrupted. I just found out about this yesterday, while sitting in my driveway, waiting to get to the end of the Snap Judgment tale of the two Katie Crouches  -- about two women living in the same city, sharing many other attributes, who kept being mistaken for one another. As soon as the show was over but before I could switch the car radio off, I caught a promo for the NPR One app, which gives the user access to NPR content through a smartphone. Now, I knew (or thought I knew) about this app: I understood it to be a Pandora-like service that steered the user to content presumably in keeping with the user’s tastes, based on the user’s listening history. That held no interest for me; just the opposite – I like to select my own shows and I very much dislike the idea of letting an app send me to whatever IT thinks I will like, based on a computer algorithm. That’s mildly creepy, to my way of thinking.

But that’s not all it does, I learned. It does something much simpler, and far more useful: It lets me listen to my local NPR station live, immediately. So the moment I park the car, I pull out my smartphone, tap on the NPR One app, and tap on “listen” and I’m hearing exactly what NPR is playing, without a break. So I can turn the volume up, stick the phone in my pocket, and unload my groceries, all while the show goes on.

Previously, I had something similar, but more difficult to manage. It was a radio app (TuneIn Radio) that gave me access to all my local stations through my phone. But by offering a choice of all the stations, it slowed down the selection process. By the time you got to the NPR station, you’d missed a bit of the show. The NPR One app avoids that problem by taking you straight to your local NPR station -- no chance of stumbling across something else

I’ve also learned that the NPR One app is not so new. It’s been around for a while – so perhaps I should have known about it before. But like Dorothy in Oz, tapping the heels of her ruby slippers and wishing herself  home, I had no idea I had the power all along. And if I didn’t know, I’m betting lots of others didn’t know this, either….there’s no app like NPR One.

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

Mardi Gras beads - photo by Tulane PR (via Creative Commons)
We wanted to share some events and activities that list members might be interested in. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 16,700+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ 

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Thursday, February 23 from 7 - 8:30 PM, “Writing in Israel - Can You Avoid Politics?” Award-winning Israeli Writer Assaf Gavron, author of “The Hilltop, ”a sprawling, daring novel, which dismantles the extreme and absurd reality in the Israeli-occupied West Bank," will discuss the topic question. Gavron's books have been translated into more than ten languages. While his primary residence is in Tel Aviv, Gavron also lived in London, Vancouver, San Diego, Omaha and Berlin. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the reception following the talk and Q&A. Free but RSVP required: At American University, Butler Board Room, Butler Pavilion, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW. More info: 

Friday, February 24 from 1:30 - 2:30 PM,Cosby Hunt, a prominent educator in the District of Columbia and the course creator and instructor for Real World History, will be the speaker at this Black History Month program at the Lincoln Cottage. Free. Please check in and gather in the atrium of the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center at President Lincoln's Cottage at 1:15 pm. Program will be held in the Scott Building of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, and members of the public will walk over together from the President Lincoln's Cottage grounds. Register at: Entrance to the Lincoln Cottage Campus is at Rock Creek Church Road NW and Upshur Street NW.

Saturday, February 25 from 9 AM - 1 PM, “Kids in the Kitchen,” a Junior League of Washington event. Kids can eat smart and make healthy lifestyle choices. Targeted to children ages 3-13, this event features local chefs demonstrating healthy cooking, fitness experts leading high-energy exercise sessions and certified nutritionists on hand to answer questions. Kids in the Kitchen is a fun-filled day of games, crafts, hands-on learning, and exciting prizes - all to celebrate and promote nutritional literacy. Free. At the Anthony Bowen YMCA, 1325 W Street NW. More info: Questions? Please email jlwkitk @ gmail dot com.

Saturday, February 25 from 11 AM - 2 PM, Remembering the Literary Achievements of August Wilson. Dr. Sandra G. Shannon, Professor of English at Howard University, will lead a lively discussion of topics portrayed in the works of author August Wilson, focusing on his masterpiece “Fences", now a film featuring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. This free event will be held in the A.J. Edwards Fellowship Hall at Zion Baptist Church, 4850 Blagden Avenue NW. A book signing and light refreshments will be offered immediately following the discussion. 

Saturday, February 25 at 1 PM, "The Electoral College Strikes Again." Jamie Stiehm, a Creators Syndicate columnist and contributor to, discusses the presidential election of 1876, which installed Rutherford B. Hayes in one of the dirtiest deals in American history. Free. At the Georgetown Library, 3260 R St NW. More info:

Sunday, February 26 from 12 noon - 1:30 PM, Community Conversations: “Armor Down.” Ben King, veteran of the Iraq War and founder of Armor Down and The Mindful Memorial Day Foundation, will describe how he is helping himself and others to “armor down” from their war experience, while bringing together veterans and civilians to mindfully honor the fallen each Memorial Day at Arlington Cemetery. Friendship Place will also update us on its ongoing Veterans Program and let us know how we can best support and advocate for this work. Free. At Cleveland Park Congregational UCC, 3400 Lowell Street NW. Free and open to all. Coffee and snacks provided.

Sunday, February 26 at 3 PM, Teach-in on Immigration at Politics & Prose. How do we honor our history as a nation of immigrants while also ensuring security in a dangerous and uncertain world? What are the legal, political, economic and social costs to the Trump Administration's plans to build a wall along the Mexican border and restrict arrivals from majority-Muslim countries? How do we protect the rights of immigrants already in our country and strengthen our pluralistic values and traditions? The speakers are: Scott Michelman, senior staff attorney of the ACLU of DC; Nithya Nathan-Pineau who manages the Detained Immigrant Children’s Program at the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition; and Faiza Patel, Co-Director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program. This event is free to attend with no reservation required. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis. Politics & Prose is at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. More info: 

Monday, February 27 at 4:30 PM, A Black History Month Craft. February is Black History Month! To celebrate, every Monday at 4:30 PM, we'll do an after-school craft celebrating different heroes. We'll also make a special button each time - see if you can collect them all! Free. For ages six or above. All supplies will be provided. At the Petworth Neighborhood Library, 4200 Kansas Avenue NW,

Monday, February 27 at 12 noon, A Black History Month Forum: 50 Years of Civil Rights Since Thurgood Marshall. As 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Thurgood Marshall’s appointment to the US Supreme Court, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will moderate a panel to discuss civil rights, voting rights, Thurgood Marshall, and the Supreme Court. Panelists include: Danielle Holley-Walker, Dean of Howard University Law School; Todd A. Cox, Director of Policy at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; and Angela Rye, CEO of IMPACT Strategies and former Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus. Free. At the Howard University School of Law, 2900 Van Ness St NW. More info:

Tuesday, February 28  at 11 AM, Pancake Races at the Washington National Cathedral. Join in the fun for the last day of frivolity before Lent as the Cathedral celebrates “Mardi Gras” with races in the nave on Shrove Tuesday. Races include the Gargoyle Gallop and the Satterlee Special - find out who will win the grand prize of the Golden Skillet! All are welcome. Free. The Cathedral is at Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues NW, 

Wednesday, March 1 at 11 AM, Workshop: Repurpose Your Old Mardi Gras Beads. At this practical and timely workshop, you will learn about the dozens of practical uses for those plastic, beaded necklaces that get tossed from floats at Mardi Gras parades. Don’t throw them away! Use them instead to make a “groovy” 1960s style doorway curtain! Or replace the pull-chain on your ceiling fan with a colorful, beaded string! Braid many strands together to make a festive yet strong dog leash. Cut the beads apart to use as the “checkers” in a homemade Chinese checkers set. Thread them onto wires within a box frame and you have an abacus! You won’t believe how many creative ideas we have for you! So sign up now at -- and hurry, spaces are filling up quickly!

Wednesday, March 1 at 7 PM, Veteran Broadcast Journalist Ray Suarez will discuss his book “Latino Americans: The 500 Year Legacy That Shaped A Nation.” The book chronicles the rich and varied history of Latinos, who have helped shape the US and have become, with more than 57 million people, the fastest-growing and largest minority in the nation. With controversy swirling around the recent arrest of several hundred people by US immigration authorities and the Trump Administration’s plan to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, Suarez’s “Latino Americans” is more relevant than ever. Suarez, 59, a Puerto Rican born in Brooklyn, New York, is a renowned broadcast journalist, who has spent more than 30 years in the news business. The New York Times called Suarez the “thinking man’s talk show host,” and “a national resource.” Free. At the Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,

Thursday, March 2 from 1:30 - 3 PM, Jason Dring, President of the DC Physical Therapy Association, will speak about the benefits of physical therapy in improving balance and strength in the elderly. Free. At the Chevy Chase DC Library, 5625 Connecticut Avenue NW.

Thursday, March 2 from 5 - 6:30 PM, Help Make a Museum! The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington offers a sneak peak into its plans for a new Jewish Museum in Washington, DC, and gives participants an opportunity to share feedback. At the The George Washington University & Textile Museum, 701 21st Street, NW. Free, but reservations are required. To register, contact the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington at 202-789-0900 or rsvp @ jhsgw dot org, or sign up at

Thursday, March 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, Humanitini: The Creative Economy and the DC Cultural Plan. John Howkins coined the term “creative economy” to identify the intersection of arts and humanities entrepreneurship, government policy, and private foundation support. The DC Council’s recent foray into shaping the local creative economy – the DC Cultural Plan – may shape the District’s identity for years to come. A panel discussion with: Uwe S. Brandes,, faculty director of the graduate program in Urban and Regional Planning at Georgetown Univ. and principal of Brandes Partners LLP; Sakina Khan, Deputy Director for Citywide Strategy and Analysis at the DC Office of Planning; George Koch, currently serving as Chair Emeritus for Artomatic, Inc.; Ronald Dixon, Founder/CEO+Creative of ideaPlexDC; moderated by Pamela S. Perkins, adjunct professor at UDC Community College. Free, but please register at At Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th Street NW.  

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Bad Abbreviations

by Peggy Robin

DMV is the worst. It’s really too late to take a stand against it, though; unfortunately, it’s here to stay. But think about it: The M for Maryland and the V for Virginia give our two neighboring states equal status to our own District of Columbia, even though only three of the 24 counties in Maryland (Montgomery County, PG County, Howard County) and four of the 95 in Virginia (Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William) should count. If we’re going to use an abbreviation for the jurisdictions involved, it should actually go something like this: DMPGHALFPW. You could turn it into an acronym by pronouncing it: Dimp-Guh-Half-Pew. That would take in just about everyone in the metro area, and there’s no confusion with the abbreviation for Department of Motor Vehicles, and it’s just one syllable longer than Dee-Em-Vee. But I concede that it’s never going to happen.

Then there’s “Demo.” I’ve been mulling that one over ever since I ran across a listserv post (sorry, I can’t remember which listserv, though I tried and failed to retrieve it on an internet search) when it appeared in the subject line of message concerned with neighbors’ objections to the proposed tear-down of a free-standing garage. Something about a “demo” being planned....but  I couldn’t tell whether the abbreviated form referred to a demonstration – a show of support to preserve the garage – or the demolition of the garage itself. At least it wasn’t a “Demo about the Demo.”

It’s bad enough when an abbreviation can stand for two things at once. Then there’s a shift that occurs when a perfectly innocuous abbreviation picks up an association with a bad thing – which we’ve seen just this past week with LOL. We all know what that stands for: “Laughing Out Loud.” Those of us who grew up in the pre-Internet age had to un-learn it as an abbreviation for “Little Old Lady.” But just a few days ago, a woman wearing a long-sleeve T-shirt emblazoned with those letters was arrested for the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the exiled half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The murder weapon, it is alleged, was a bottle of spray poison. The story is that she sneaked up on him at the airport in Kuala Lumpur and sprayed a lethal dose of poison in his face. There’s video footage of her earlier in the day, strolling through the airport, instantly identifiable by the large black lettering, LOL on her white shirt. And now someone’s been marketing the that shirt on a Chinese website for over $900 – see

I've also read that she has an alibi: She thought she'd been hired by a reality TV show to participate in a prank by spraying water in the face of an unsuspecting man. She had no idea --the story goes -- that there was poison in the spray-bottle. If that turns out to be true, then she’s not really a murderer. Whatever she is in (not-for-TV) reality, you will now discover when you start to enter the abbreviation “LOL” into Google, the first thing that comes up is “LOL killer” and the second thing is “LOL assassin.” That’s quite a shift in association….and a long, long way from Little Old Lady.

So here’s my question: How many different meanings can you now derive from this short sentence? LOL at DMV demo!


Still Life with Robin (abbreviated as SLw/R) is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

Portrait of Washington by Gilbert Stuart
(Public Domain)
We wanted to share some events and activities that list members might be interested in. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 16,700+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv  

Thursday, February 16 at 7 PM "Crossing the Rubicon: The Battle for Black Public Education in the District of Columbia" - a lecture by C. R. Gibbs, noted author and researcher - part of the Black History Month series of lectures at DC libraries throughout the month of February. Free. At the Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,

Friday, February 17 at 12:30 PM, Lunch Bites Program: Commemorative textiles and yard goods were produced and sold as souvenirs or for household use, to celebrate or memorialize an historical person, event, time or place. As early as the late 1700s, textile printing processes evolved and began to include information and figural imagery, rather than merely simple patterns. Katherine Hill Winters, museum collections manager, shares the rise of various printing processes used to create commemorative textiles, as well as the wide range of printed textiles available between the American Revolution and World War I. Free. At Anderson House, Society of the Cincinnati, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. More info:

Friday, February 17 at 6 PM, Edna Greene Medford, Chairperson and Professor of History at Howard University, will give a Black History Month lecture at Guy Mason Recreation Center. Dr. Medford's publications include: Lincoln and Emancipation (2015), The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views (co-authored with Harold Holzer and Frank Williams, 2006), and she is the editor of Historical Perspectives of the African Burial Ground: New York Blacks and the Diaspora. Q & A and refreshments will follow the lecture. For more information, please contact the staff at Guy Mason Recreation Center at 202-727-7527. Free. The Guy Mason Recreation Center is at 3600 Calvert St. NW.

Saturday, February 18 from 9 AM - 4 PM, DC Greens will present “Rooting DC,” an all-day gardening forum that aims to provide education about urban food production and consumption, to cultivate health and preserve the environment, featuring: interactive workshops, cooking and food preservation demonstrations, and panel discussions focusing on youth gardening, nutrition, sustainable growing techniques, and healthy food access. The event also hosts 60+ green businesses and nonprofit from throughout the region at an information fair.a gardening forum about efforts to grow a healthier food system in the nation’s capital. Free, but a $10 donation is suggested. Register at: At Wilson High School, 3950 Chesapeake St NW.

Sunday February 19 at 10:30 AM, Matthew Zeller, co-founder of the nonprofit organization, No One Left Behind, will speak about the group’s mission to help Afghan and Iraqi combat interpreters with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) resettle safely in the United States. Zeller's own interpreter, Janis Shinwari, will join him for the forum. Zeller is the author of Watches Without Time: An American Soldier in Afghanistan. Free. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 3001 Wisconsin Ave. NW. More info:  

Monday, February 20 at 4 PM, They Shouldn’t Have Been Presidents Day. Out of 45 presidents, five --which is to say, one in nine-- have become President of the United States after losing the popular vote. They are: John Quincy Adams (1825-1829); Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881); Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893); George W. Bush (2001-2008); and Donald Trump (2017 - ?). This Presidents Day, we’ll hear a lecture from a well-known Presidential Historian of Asterisked Presidents on how the electoral process has occasionally worked to put Not-the-People’s-Choice in the most powerful position in the land. Free. Location still to be determined but will be posted at:

Wednesday, February 22 at 6 PM, A Vintage Evening: Whiskey and Rebellion. Celebrate the spirit of insurgency at this Vintage Evening on the Whiskey Rebellion. Learn about the uprising against a tax on distilled spirits in 1791 and George Washington’s bold response to subdue the protesters, while sampling whiskey from Lyon Distilling Co. of Saint Michaels, Md. and Wigle Whiskey from Pittsburgh, Penn. This event is in commemoration of George Washington's 285th birthday. At Anderson House, Society of the Cincinnati, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. Reservations required. Tickets $15 at must be 21 years old or older.

Wednesday, February 22 at 6:30 PM, “Donald J. Trump: An Assessment of the First 100
Days of His Presidency.” In recognition of Black History Month, join us in the Black Studies Center for a lecture by WAMU Radio News Director, Alicia Montgomery, who will speak about Mr. Trump’s first 100 days in office. Free. At the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW,

Wednesday February 22 at 7 PM, The University of the District of Columbia’s “JAZZforum.” Trombonist and jazz historian David Sager will discuss the first jazz recording and the events leading up to and following that historic event in 1917. Free. In the Recital Hall of UDC, Performing Arts Bldg. 46-West, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW,

Wednesday, February 22 from 6 - 7:30 PM “A Toast to the General: Washington’s Birthday Evening Tour.” Celebrate Washington on his actual birthday with an elegant evening tour at the home his step-granddaughter built. The Peter family of Tudor Place inherited, purchased, and carefully curated more than 200 Washington artifacts into what is now one of the largest public Washington collections anywhere. See furniture, art, and personal objects all with ties to the founding first family, including several not normally on view, and enjoy wassail and light nibbles. [What is wassail? A mulled cider popular in Washington's day, whose name originates from the Middle English toast, "Waes Hail", meaning 'be you healthy.'] Tickets: $10 Tudor Place Member; $25 Non-Member available at: Tudor Place is at 1644 31st Street NW.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Keep on Giving It Away!

Photo by LotusHead (via Wikimedia Commons)
by Peggy Robin

It’s always nice to see giveaways on the listserv. Just in the last month (counting backward from January 11) there have been 61 giveaway messages on the listserv, offering up at no cost a spectacular variety of goodies, including:

- moving boxes
- magazines
- books
- a jogging stroller
- carpets/rugs (three separate ones)
- an Anki Overdrive set (don’t have a clue what that is!)
- misc baby items
- amplifier stuff
- printers
- lots of ink (lost count after 3)
- CDs
- yarn
- a yarn winder
- headboards
- a futon
- beds (queen size, a few twins, box springs – all separate messages)
- a refrigerator
- cribs
- a changing table
- a bassinet
- a treadmill
- radiator covers
- a play kitchen
- a medicine cabinet (mirror is cracked)
- concert tickets
- bookcases (at least 3 different ones, plus a shelving set)
- desks and desk chairs
- tables (night tables, end tables, dining table)
- an upholstered armchair
- a sofa
- TV stand
- bar stools
- shutters
- wooden pallets
- a carseat
- some kind of mat cutting set used in picture framing
- a light therapy lamp
- some mollies (they’re fish)
- aquarium tanks (from another poster, not the same one who gave away the fish)
- art and some vases
- LPs
- 60s poster
- Watergate books, magazines and memorabilia
- caps for the Women’s March
- tennis balls with hopper
- plant grow-lights


You may think giving away stuff is easy, but having done it quite a few times myself, I can tell you, so many things can go awry! You get an email saying “I’m coming to pick up your flowerpots” and you think, that's that -- and a week later, they’re still on your front porch. Or, a month after those nice new parents came for the stroller, you’ve found the matching rain cover, and you want them to have it, but you no longer have their email address.

Things can get thornier when the pickup people seem nice but aren’t. There’s the time that a list member was giving away a like-new appliance but wanted the person who got it to make a modest donation to a charity. The pickup person showed up on time but without a checkbook. Still, she promised she’d send in the donation later. Trusting her, the appliance-giver let her take away the item. Not only did the pickup person never mail the check, but a follow-up with the designated charity proved that donation was not received directly, either. Email exchanges between the donor and the pickup person quickly turned accusatory.

Or let’s say you’re giving away two sets of skis, boots, poles and accessories. You imagine some young couple having all the fun you had with them back before your orthopedist advised you to switch to low-impact aerobics. You’re relishing the thought of someone else enjoying the schusses and slaloms you’ve had to give up….a vision that lasts right up until the moment you see an ad for those same skis on Craigslist….for $250!

This is just a quick sampling of a few of the downsides of the giveaway message. We’d like to think they are relatively rare… but we have no way to collect data, and so can only give advice to help prevent more of the same from occurring. We do believe most of our listserv members are nice, honest, decent people. But it’s a very large group (16,696 at last count!) and we certainly can’t vouch for the characters of all our members. Common sense and caution when dealing with strangers --even when they’re your neighbors-- must be applied. Here are a few measures we highly recommend:

* When you write your giveaway message, spell out who gets priority to take the item. If you want your item to go to a local family, or have the item go to a school or nonprofit organization, be clear about that expectation in the original message. Then be prepared to do a fair amount of screening of the responses before selecting the one who best fits your criteria.

* Do not promise your item on a “first come, first serve” basis, unless you really don’t care who ends up with it. Better to wait for a number of pick-up offers to arrive at your inbox and look for the one with the clearest, most practical pick-up plan – including the means to transport the item, if it’s heavy or bulky. If choosing between someone who says they can pick up soon but can’t say how they’ll accomplish the pickup, and someone who says they’ll come next week when they have access to a van, go for the one with the plan.

* If you know it will be a multi-person job to move the item, make sure you are not being counted among the movers, unless you said you'd help in your original message….and you have never had any back problems.

* Create a back-up list of at least three names, in case the first taker fails to show. If you have trouble saving your email messages, print out the responses. (I can’t tell you how often we have to tell people, no, we’re not posting a message to the whole listserv so you can attempt to reschedule a pickup time with someone whose phone number/email address you’ve lost. There are over 16,600 list members and not everyone reads every message; you need to keep track of your off-list correspondence.)

* Have different expectations when the giveaway is of marginal value. If you are giving away a nonworking, possibly repairable appliance or an old lumpy mattress, make it easy for someone to take it away but at the same time be prepared to dispose of the item if the taker, after seeing it, says, "No thanks."

Keep in mind, it’s up to the giver to set and enforce any conditions for the giveaway. We – the moderators – can’t help you if you don’t like the way the giveaway has gone. We’re not the giveaway police!

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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

Photo by Johntex via Creative Commons
We wanted to share some events and activities that list members might be interested in. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 16,600+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv  

Friday, February 10 at 7 PM, Art Deco in Shanghai (with PowerPoint). The speaker, Tess Johnston, first came to Shanghai in 1981 to work for the American Consulate General. In 1996, after 30 years in the diplomatic service, she retired and stayed on to research, write, and lecture. She and her co-author, Deke Erh, have published 25 books, including 15 volumes on Western architecture and the expatriate experience in old China. A reception will be held after the Q&A session. Please RSVP by Wed, Feb 6 by calling 202-727-7527. Free - with free parking on site.. At Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street NW.

Friday, February 10 at 11 AM, Celebrate Black History Month with Games, Lunch and a Movie: “The Black American Experience: Charles Drew" (A Documentary). Dr. Drew was a Washington DC native who revolutionized medical science. He was also the father of Council Member Charlene Drew Jarvis. Free. At Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert St NW. For more information, please call the staff at Guy Mason Recreation Center at (202) 727-7527.

Saturday, February 11 from 11 AM - 4 PM, Valentine’s Day Card Workshop at the National Postal Museum. Nothing delivers love better than a heartfelt and handmade card for your valentine! We'll have pretty papers, vintage stamps from around the world and lots of other supplies to inspire your creativity as you create one-of-a-kind valentines. Visit the museum’s stamp store to send your cards to your loved ones with a special National Postal Museum postmark! All ages welcome. Free; no registration required. In the Atrium of the National Postal Museum, 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE. For more info contact Motoko Hioki, HiokiM @ si dot edu or visit:

Saturday, February 11 at 1 PM, 50 Great American Places: Essential Historic Sites Across the US. Brent D Glass, Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, discusses his one-of-a-kind guide to fifty of the most important cultural and historic sites in the United States that are guaranteed to fascinate, educate, and entertain. Free. In the Peabody Room of Georgetown Library, 3260 R St NW.,  For more info email Jerry McCoy, jerry.mccoy @ dc dot gov

Saturday, February 11 at 1 PM, David Pedraza, violinist, and Annya Nizhegorosteva, pianist present a program of works by Enescu, Bach, and Vieuxtemps. The concert is followed by an informal reception with light refreshments. This is the first performance in the Spring Concert Series at the Society of the Cincinnati at Anderson House, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue NW. Free, but seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. More info:

Saturday, February 11 from 1 - 3 PM, “Sweet Tea. Hats and Ties” will be the theme for this year's annual tea party at Chevy Chase Community Center to celebrate Valentine's Day. Boys are more than welcome to attend! Young ladies are asked to wear hats and boys bow ties or ties. Light lunch served along with Valentine's day card making, cupcake decorating and other activities. Free for youth aged 4-10. Registration is required - call 202.282.2204. At the Chevy Chase Community Center, 5601 Connecticut Ave NW.  

Sunday, February 12 at 6:30 PM, "Whatsoever You Do for the Least of My People": An Evening of Song and Reflection. The Young Adults of St. Thomas Apostle Church, are hosting a concert to benefit refugees of all religions and no religion. All are welcome. No ticket price but all proceeds of the free-will donations go to Catholic Relief Services for their response to the Global Refugee Crisis. Cash and checks will be received on 2/12; donations may also be made online at any time at: St Thomas Apostle is at 2665 Woodley Road NW. For more info see the event Facebook page at:

Monday, February 13, all day, Valence Time Day. On this special day, let us honor the underappreciated ties that bind all matter together. Valence electrons move at the speed of light, seeking out others to form bonds between atoms - bonds as worthy of our recognition as the bonds between humans in love. Why is there not a day to honor this building block of all things? Now there is! Celebrate Valence Time Day with your favorite physicist and ask him or her to talk to you sweetly about the sharing of electrons between atoms. If you find yourself without a nearby physicist on this Valence Time Day, then listen to this lecture at To find out about places near you that are holding Valence Time parties, go to:    

Tuesday, February 14 from 11 AM - 2:30 PM, From D.C. with Love: District Trivia at the Historical Society of Washington, DC. Join the Historical Society of Washington, DC for tea, cookies, crafts and trivia with District Trivia! Test your knowledge of local history through DC-themed trivia questions in this special pub-style trivia event, presented by District Trivia. Refreshments and crafts are free and open to the public between 11 AM - 3 PM. Those who wish to partake in the trivia session (12:30 – 2:30 PM), presented by District Trivia, must purchase a ticket - $5 for Historical Society members, $8 for non-members - available online at or at the door. At the Carnegie Library, East Gallery, 2nd Floor, 801 K Street NW

Tuesday, February 14 from 7 - 10 PM “Seeing Deeper: Love to the World” - Interactive Art. On Valentine’s Day, bring your family, friends or that Special Someone to weave messages of love to the world in this interactive art exhibit. Sized for the grandeur of the National Cathedral and the intimacy of human connection, we’ll provide art supplies (or bust that yarn stash!) to help you build a collective expression of love. Or, find your own way to fill the space—explore the depth and breadth of the Cathedral’s space, find a nook for quiet contemplation. Free - please register at At Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW.

Wednesday, February 15 at 3 PM, An Afternoon of Piano Music: Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven Chopin and Toselli, performed by members of the Adult Music Student Forum (AMSF), a Washington, DC-region association of adult music students that provides educational and performance opportunities to non-professional/non-collegiate adult instrumental and vocal students, regardless of their level of expertise. Beginners, students returning to music after an extended absence, and advanced students are all welcomed by the Forum. Free. At Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street, NW. For more information, please contact the staff at Guy Mason Recreation Center at (202) 727-7527.

Wednesday, February 15 at 7 PM. Book Hill Talks - France Alive: A History Told Through Great Works of Art. This is the fourth lecture in the series on 19th Century Paintings Part Two: Impressionist Painters: Friendship, Landscapes and Modern Life. Guest Speaker - Vanessa Badré For more info contact Wendell Kellar, wendell.kellar @ dc dot gov. Free. At Georgetown Library, 3260 R Street NW,

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Still Life with Robin: News of the Zoos

Photo by Smithsonian National Zoo
by Peggy Robin

It’s certainly been a zoo-y week! There was a bobcat on the loose, with sightings reported from here to B-CC (see message #121682, passing along an alert from the principal of B-CC High School, now proven to have been a false alarm). And while this extremely cute bobcat was hogging the media spotlight, there was a Twitter war going on between fans of the National Zoo and fans of the Virginia Zoo over who had the cutest babies. To quote the catchphrase of weird news devotee Dave Barry, we are NOT making this up! See: - start at the bottom, and scroll upwards.

Zoo-mania will continue into next week with the “Bye Bye to Bao Bao” parties, starting with the exclusive-to-FONZ event next Saturday from 9 – 11 AM:, which gives you plenty of time to join, and get your members-only invitation. Or you can choose from one of the EIGHTEEN other public farewell events, either at the Zoo or online, taking place between Thursday, February 16 and Monday, February 20.  See the link below for the full schedule of send-off activities:

Bobcats coming and going, pandas going…. Life is always exciting when the Zoo is your neighbor.


Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland ParkListserv and on All Life Is Local, usually on Saturday but occasionally on Sunday.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

Bobcat Ollie
Photo by Smithsonian National Zoo
We wanted to share some events and activities that list members might be interested in. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 16,600+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ 

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler 
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Thursday, February 2 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM, “DC Culture and the Michelin Guide.” In 2016, the Michelin Guide awarded DC its first ever restaurant guide, with a scattering of stars awarded to local establishments. The Washington Post critiqued the Michelin Guide critics, asserting that they seemed unimpressed by DC’s cityscape, wary of certain neighborhoods, and inaccurate in characterizing the crowds in certain DC restaurants. How do outsiders perceive DC culture? Are these external portrayals trustworthy? Explore these topics at a Humanitini Happy Hour hosted by Busboys & Poets, 1025 K St NW (5th & K), in the Cullen Room. Free but reservations required:    

Thursday, February 2 at 7 PM, Film screening: “9 X 10 Novanta.” Celebrate the 90th anniversary of Italy’s Luce Institute of photographic and film by attending a free screening of the 2014 documentary, “9 X 10 Novanta.” The film footage speaks of the outbreak of war, implorations of peace; building collapses and reconstruction; recollections of (possibly) lost landscapes, and lost realities; miracles, superstitions and dreams. It's a weave of themes: women's rights, sexuality, the meaning of a song, the Moon, in the form of fairy tales or diaries, pseudo-history or poetry; the words of great writers alongside the voices of the man on the street; starring real people, historical figures, and characters made up out of thin air. A diverse picture, a combinatorial game of intersecting moves, contrasts and analogies, with one common thread: those images from the Archives. 94 minutes, in Italian with English subtitles. At the Embassy of Italy - Auditorium, 3000 Whitehaven Street NW. Free, but registration is required at Doors open at 6:30 and close at 6:55 PM.  

Friday, February 3 at 7 PM, Welcome Home Party for Ollie the Bobcat. Now that Ollie, the National Zoo’s most famous disappearing act, is back home, the Zoo is throwing a party for its latest celebrity animal. You are invited to join the Cat of Honor along with the lesser-known, stay-at-home bobcats, for festivities including: homecoming toasts; reminiscences by the searchers about their three days on the prowl; a nostalgic look back at past escape artists, including a photo-montage tribute to the late Rusty the Red Panda; plus a special guest appearance by Ollie’s favorite comedian and namesake, Bobcat Goldthwait. Tickets are going fast, so be sure to reserve your spot at  

Saturday, February 4 from 10 AM - 5 PM, “La Chandeleur” Celebration at Hillwood. La Chandeleur, also known as Crêpe Day, marks the halfway point between winter and spring. In France, families celebrate by eating crêpes, which are round and golden like the springtime sun. Come celebrate this holiday in festive French fashion, including: a tasty treat of sweet crêpes;  classic French tales inspired by scenes from La Fontaine fables that are pictured on tapestries covering chairs from France displayed in the mansion docent-led, family-friendly gallery talks and a printed activity guide; a chance to decorate a plate with fanciful designs and flourishes inspired by Hillwood's French Sèvres porcelain. Tickets ($5 - $18) include 3 crêpes per person, available at: Hillwood Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Avenue NW.    

Saturday, February 4 from 11 AM - 2 PM, “Newspaper Fort Challenge.” The National Building Museum is hosting a newspaper fort challenge in the Great Hall. Bring your family and collaboratively construct an awe-inspiring fort made entirely of newspapers and tape. Learn about the triangle, the strongest shape out there, and create tetrahedral caverns small enough for one, or big enough for your clan. Free, drop in, no RSVP needed. All ages. The National Building Museum is at 401 F Street NW. More info:  

Saturday, February 4 at 2:30 PM, Civil War Reenactments featuring the Ladies of FREED. Celebrate Black History Month by joining the ladies of FREED (Female RE-Enactors of Distinction) as they perform stirring reenactments depicting the lives and contributions of black women of the Civil War era. FREED is an auxiliary organization of the African American Civil War Museum. Through reenactments and dramatic readings, the group aims to “educate the public and to promote the accomplishments of the African American Civil War soldiers and the women who supported their fight for freedom.” Free. At the Chevy Chase Library, 5625 Connecticut Ave NW,

Sunday, February 5 from 2 - 3:30 PM, “Gun Violence Prevention: Where Do We Go from Here?” A Panel Discussion and Conversation with three DC Metro leaders on the best ways to help impact positive changes in laws and policies. Panelists: Lori Haas, Virginia State Director, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence; Ladd Everitt, One Pulse for America; Jen Pauliukonis, President, Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence. Free to all, including parking in the garage. In the Perry Auditorium of the National Cathedral, Wisconsin & Massachusetts Avenues NW. Note:  There will be a hard stop at 3:30 so that football fans can get home well before Super Bowl kickoff. More info:

Monday, February 6 from 3:30 - 5 PM, Village Seminar: Decluttering One’s Home and Right-sizing. Downsizing and de-cluttering your home can feel overwhelming and difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. At this workshop, presented by Village Board Member and local realtor Marjorie Dick Stuar, Marjorie will discuss de-cluttering, provide information on where you can donate unwanted items, and address various concerns people may have when considering selling their home. Light refreshments will be provided. This event is co-sponsored by the Cleveland & Woodley Park Village and Northwest Neighbors Village. Free and open to the public. RSVP to 202-615-5853 or info @ ClevelandWoodleyParkVillage dot org. At Forest Hills of DC, Assembly Room, 4901 Connecticut Avenue NW.    

Tuesday, February 7 at  7 PM, Poetry Reading with Megan Alpert. Her poems have appeared in Sixth Finch, Denver Quarterly, Harvard Review, Green Mountains Review and others. Ms. Alpert is an Orlando Poetry Prize winner, a former resident-fellow at Vermont Studio Center, and a graduate of The Bennington Writing Seminars. Free. At the Georgetown Library, 3260 R St NW,

Wednesday, February 8 at 4 PM, “Never the Same Day Twice: Art History and Curatorial Practice.” Virginia Treanor, associate curator for the National Museum of Women in the Arts, will talk about her adventures as a curator and how she has learned to balance exhibition planning with unexpected challenges and opportunities. Reception to follow. Free and open to the public. At American University’s Katzen Arts Center, Abramson Family Recital Hall, northeast of Ward Circle,

Wednesday, February 8 at 6:30 pm, Black History Month Program: Dr. Robert J. Patterson. The Georgetown Neighborhood Library is proud to have Dr. Robert J. Patterson give a special talk for Black History Month. Dr. Patterson is an Associate Professor of English and African American Studies, and Director of the African American Studies Program at Georgetown University. Free. At the Georgetown Library, 3260 R St NW,    

Wednesday, February 8 at 6:30 PM,” The Obama Years: An Assessment of Race Relations in the United States.” Have race relations in America improved or deteriorated since Barack Obama ascended to the White House? The rash of police shooting deaths of unarmed black men has brought attention to the enduring problem of racial violence in the United States. Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery, author of  the forthcoming book, “They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement,” will give a presentation on this topic - part of the Black History Month Speaker Series at Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library, 901 G St NW,

Friday, February 10 at 7 PM, Art Deco in Shanghai (with PowerPoint). The speaker, Tess Johnston, first came to Shanghai in 1981 to work for the American Consulate General. In 1996, after 30 years in the diplomatic service, she retired and stayed on to research, write, and lecture. She and her co-author, Deke Erh, have published 25 books, including 15 volumes on Western architecture and the expatriate experience in old China. A reception will be held after the Q&A session. Please RSVP by Wed, Feb 8 by calling 202-727-7527. Free. At Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street NW. (Free parking on site.)