Saturday, August 23, 2014

Still Life With Robin: It's Doctor Who Day

Photo by Sceptre via Wikimedia Commons
by Peggy Robin

I’ve devoted two columns in August (http://bit.ly/1r1NfoS  and http://bit.ly/1p2okzZ ) to my complaint about this month’s lack of an iconic holiday. Somehow it totally slipped my mind that the 23rd of this month (that is to say, TODAY) is the chosen date of an incredibly iconic phenomenon, one of worldwide –no, trans-galactic!-- proportions. Today marks the premiere of the new season of Doctor Who. “Doctor … Who?” you might ask, if you have been away from all media outlets on Planet Earth for the past half century. A quick crib-sheet for those not up to speed: Dr. Who is the twelfth Time Lord of the long-running British sci-fi series, and he will be regenerating at 8 PM  tonight on BBC America.

If you have not been among the legions of fans breathlessly awaiting this event for months on end, it’s not too late to catch up with the voyages of the TARDIS (that’s the Doctor’s time-traveling ship in the shape of an old-style British police call-box). For anyone up for the challenge, it should not take more than the viewing of a half dozen to a dozen episodes to absorb most of what you need to know to be ready to meet the new Doctor. Just set your recording device for tonight’s episode and save it until you have a grounding in the basics: who the main characters are and how they travel in time and space. You might want to pre-game by picking up the essential jargon (Gallifrey; sonic screwdriver, Daleks, and other “timey-wimey stuff”) online: visit http://bit.ly/1p2V6Lx.

Here’s my personal selection of Ten Essential Episodes for getting into the Doctor Who universe:

Rose
A good place to start is with the 2005 reboot of the series, with the 9th Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, and his first companion, Rose Tyler. It’s fast, funny, and covers all the main bases of the franchise.

School Reunion
The Doctor and Rose investigate strange events in a school cafeteria – with the help of Sarah Jane (a companion from the 1973 – 1976 series and K-9 the robotic dog, who first appeared in 1977.

Smith and Jones
David Tennant, by far the most popular Doctor of the show’s 50 year run, gets a new companion in medical student Martha Jones, when her hospital is suddenly transported to the moon.

Blink
This episode introduces a new threat, the terrifying “weeping angels” whose touch instantly throws their victims back in time.

The Runaway Bride
This episode introduces Donna Noble, who though she is swept into the action unwittingly, will go on to become arguably one of the most intrepid and independent of all the companions. (She's the only one who never seems to be even a teensy bit in love with the Doctor.)

Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
These two episodes are both essential to the story arc of River Song, whose time travels keep intersecting with those of the Doctor and his companions (in this case, Donna Noble) in mysterious and crucial ways.

The Fires of Pompeii
If you decide to watch just one full episode before watching the premiere of the new season with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, you might want to see this one, in which Capaldi plays a merchant living with his family in ancient Pompeii, around the time of the volcanic disaster – which, as the Doctor is to discover, is not really caused by the natural action of the volcano.

The Eleventh Hour
This episode introduces the eleventh doctor, played by Matt Smith, as well as a new companion, Amy Pond, who first met the Doctor after the TARDIS fell into her back yard when she was a small child living in Scotland. He tells her he has to go and will be back shortly, and then fourteen years later he turns up again, and as the saying goes, “complications ensue.”

The Snowmen
Your best introduction to Clara, the current companion, who helps the Doctor save the earth in this two-hour Christmas special, with Matt Smith as the Doctor.

Rather than watch all or some of these selected episodes, you might prefer to take a speed course in Doctor Who by watching this short Youtube film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unJ9L-7qty0, which explains everything you need to know in just fifteen minutes. Or take a look at this even more accelerated version by two super-fast talkers, who manage to cover the same ground in less than half the time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szHO-wEmvio. You will feel as if you have traveled 50 years in just six minutes!

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Get Out! - The Events Column

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 14,000+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ fastmail.us.

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv
www.cleveland-park.com



Friday, August 22 from 11:30 AM - 2 PM, Fairmont’s 5th Annual Sustainability Fair, showcasing the eco-efforts of many DC-based organizations as well as the hotel’s own green program. Guests will be treated to honey tastings from the hotel’s rooftop hives along with vegetable dips seasoned with herbs from the hotel’s garden. Many of the participants bring complimentary samples for attendees such as energy saving light bulbs. Free and open to the public. In the Colonnade Room of the Fairmont Hotel, 2401 M St NW, http://bit.ly/1s6SteM


Saturday, August 23, 9 AM - 4 PM, The Capital Dragon Boat Races (formerly the National Harbor Dragon Boat Regatta) is being held along the pristine waters of the Washington Channel along the beautiful southwest waterfront, celebrating Asian culture and bringing a family-fun event to the Washington DC area. The regatta is an open competition, seeking participants of ages 12 years of age or older. No experience is required and training sessions are being offered. Dragon boat racing is an important part of the Chinese traditional culture, dating back more than 2,300 years. At 600 Water Street, SW. More info: http://www.capitaldragonboat.com/

Saturday, August 23, 11 AM - 2 PM. Bao Bao’s Birthday Party! The National Zoo is celebrating Bao Bao's first birthday with special activities, entertainment, and giveaways for all to enjoy. Decorate a birthday card, take home a commemorative coloring sheet, and enjoy delicious treats! If you are a Friend of the National Zoo (www.fonz.org) you are invited to a members-only party from 9 AM - 11 AM. Location: Members meet across from the Visitor's Center at the upper entrance of Asia Trail. The public celebration will be held at Clint Fields Plaza and around the panda yards, both in the upper and lower viewing areas. Parking gates open at 8 AM.

Saturday August 23 from 10 AM - 4 PM, Peirce Mill Open and Running. Learn about the Peirce family and the other mills that operated along Rock Creek in a 20-minute video shown at the Visitor Center; plus games for children including a self-guided treasure hunt (with small prize), water flow and gravity toys, checkers, and other simple toys from the milling period. Watch the mill in operation from 11 AM - 2 PM. See the waterwheel turn and learn how the flow of water into the "buckets" brings the wheel to life and sets the machinery inside the mill in motion, grinding corn into cornmeal, and learn why inventor Oliver Evans (holder of US patent #3) designed mills to be tall. Tours of the mill from 10 AM - 4 PM.

Saturday, August 23 at dusk, showing of Macbeth, a filmed production by the Folger Theater company, directed by Teller (of Penn Teller) in 2008. Free. Gates open at 7 PM. At Carter Barron Amphitheatre, 16th Street Colorado Avenue. More info: http://www.folger.edu/woSummary.cfm?woid=950

Sunday, August 24 from 4 - 8 PM, Dogs and Tails, a U St. neighborhood barbecue hosted by City Dogs Rescue and Vinoteca, featuring hot dogs, cocktails, bocce, and adoptable dogs. Vinoteca will be donating $1 for every homemade hot dog and Dog Days of Summer punch purchased. Donate $10 to CDR, and get happy hour prices on the back patio. And don't forget the bocce -- it's just $25 for teams of 4 to enter the DC Bocce Charity Bocce tournament and compete for some great prizes. Sign up at https://www.dcbocceleague.com/RegNet/reg1.aspx?lgid=312. RSVP for the event at:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1469517743299283/

Tuesday, August 26 at 12:30 PM, “Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything” by Jonathan Foer. Book discussion by the West End Book Club. Free and open to all. At the West End Interim Library, 2522 Virginia Avenue NW, http://dclibrary.org/node/43881

Tuesday, August 26 at 7 PM, “The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro,” book discussion with author Zachary M. Schrag. Free. In the Great Hall of Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St NW, http://dclibrary.org/node/44011.

Wednesday, August 27 from 2 - 3 PM, Young Adult author Claire Griffin will discuss her book, Nowhere to Run, which tells the story of. Calvin, a senior and track star at a DC public high school, who lives in a world filled with violence and threats of violence, yet offering the promise of avenues of escape. Kirkus Review says, “Dialogue, situations, relationships and issues all ring pitch perfectly but ever so discouragingly true. This brief debut packs a serious punch and will leave readers stunned with Calvin’s grim options.” The novel is aimed at readers age 12 and up. Copies of the book are available for checkout at the DC Public Library. At the Tenley Library, Large Meeting Room, 4450 Wisconsin Ave, http://dclibrary.org/node/43796

Wednesday, August 27, 7 PM,  DC premiere of Above All Else, presented by the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. The film is an intimate portrait of a group of landowners and activists in East Texas who tried to stop construction of a segment of the Keystone XL pipeline. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker John Fiege; Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr., CEO President of the Hip Hop Caucus; Steven Mufson, energy reporter for The Washington Post, who has driven the length of the proposed pipeline, and Julia Trigg Crawford, a landowner who appears in the film. At the E Street Cinema, 555 11th Street, NW. Tickets $10 at: http://tinyurl.com/mtxfdrx. More info: http://www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org/u/news#88

Thursday, August 28, Brew NOT at the Zoo. Every year the National Zoo throws a big bash and the tickets are always sold out far in advance. Even if you could get tickets, why pay $85 to $100 to drink craft beer at the Zoo when you could be enjoying Brew NOT at the Zoo for free? This special event is for brew lovers with independent spirits. All you do to participate is stay at home, crack open a bottle of your favorite independently crafted beer and park yourself in a comfy chair and watch Nat Geo or Animal Planet instead of going to the zoo. Wait, you don’t even have to watch animals on TV -- go ahead and watch sports if you prefer. There, that was easy! We don’t even need to tell you that you’re attending this week’s fake event, because anyone can enjoy Brew NOT at the Zoo, anytime.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Still Life With Robin: The Days of August - Part II

Photo by Janneke Vreugdenhil via Wikimedia Commons
by Peggy Robin

On the first Saturday in August I devoted my column to a complaint about August, and its dismaying lack of an emblematic holiday. I went over the first two weeks of August day by day, suggesting events and commemorative occasions that could easily be elevated to the status of a big-deal celebration. Now I present the last two weeks of August with similar intent. There are some doozies here. I particularly like Wayzgoose Day, on the 24th.

August 16: Hawaii Statehood Day

August 17: Davy Crockett Day – on this day in 1786 the American folk hero was “born on a mountaintop in Tennessee” … and if you can believe the songwriters at Disney Studios, “killed him a b’ar when he was only three.”

August 18: Bad Poetry Day

August 19: National Aviation Day

August 20: St. Stephen’s Day (National Holiday of Hungary)

August 21: Winnie-the-Pooh’s Birthday

August 22: Tooth Fairy Day

August 23: Vulcanalia – The Vulcan Fire Festival

August 24: Wayzgoose Day – Nope, I’m not going to explain this – you’re going to have to look it up.

August 25: National Park Service Day

August 26: National Dog Day

August 27: Banana Lovers Day

August 28: Dream Day – The Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a dream” speech

August 29: Happy Housewives’ Day

August 30: Slinky Day

August 31: National Eat Outside Day

So, in closing, let me bid you an appropriately Hawaiian “Aloha!” (for today’s holiday, Hawaii Statehood Day).

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

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Get Out! - The Events Column

Civil War Medicine: It's Not What You Think!
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 14,000+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events@fastmail.us (events @ fastmail.us).

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv
www.cleveland-park.com

Thursday, August 14 at 7 PM, Civil War Medicine: It’s Not What You Think! The Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library the Friends of the Cleveland Park Library are pleased to invite you to this free lecture. Historian Kyle Wichtendal, Educational Coordinator at the National Civil War Medicine Museum in Frederick, MD http://www.civilwarmed.org will talk about the work and challenges of surgeons and medical personnel during the Civil War. Kyle will be bringing reproductions of period medical equipment that you'll be able to handle and examine. This program commemorates the ongoing 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and especially the Battles of Monocacy (Frederick, MD) and Ft. Stevens (DC), which were fought during the summer of 1864. Free. At the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library, 1st fl. auditorium, 3310 Connecticut Ave, NW http://dclibrary.org/node/43152

Thursday, August 14 at 7 PM, “Energize DC.” The DC Public Library and Pepco present a class on how to use Pepco’s online energy management tools and create personalized energy management plans. You’ll also learn simple and helpful ideas to help you save money and energy in your home. Free. At the Petworth Library, 4200 Kansas Avenue NW, http://dclibrary.org/node/42493

Friday, August 15 at 6:30 PM, “Art on 8th.” Dance Place and Monroe Street Market present Denise Bryant and her students at Music2YourFeet, who will lead the audience in line dances. Free. At the Arts Walk at the Monroe St Market at 8th and Monroe Streets NE (Brookland). More info: http://bit.ly/1A5tbTu and http://www.danceplace.org/events/welcome-to-art-on-8th/

Saturday, August 16 from 5:30 - 9:30 PM, Birthright: Farafina Kan 10th Anniversary Concert by the Adinkra Group Farafina Kan, a celebration of West Arfrican culture with an elegant evening of pure energy sheer grace in honor of the joy, spirit of sharing and cultural legacy inspired by West African Dance and Drumming. At the University of the District of Columbia Theatre of the Arts, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW, Tickets: $18-$20 at http://bit.ly/1rciQEv

Saturday, August 16 at 7:30 PM, 14th Annual DC Poetry Festival, featuring The Last Poets, honoring Gil Scott-Heron. Free -- First Come-First Served. Gates open at 7 PM, Showtime 7:30 PM. At Carter Barron Amphitheater, 16th and Colorado Ave NW. More info: http://bit.ly/1t07ShR

Saturday, August 16 at 11 AM. Walking Tour of the U Street Corridor. Washington Walks offers a guided tour to the history, architecture, and culture of the neighborhood. Meet outside the 13th St entrance to the U St Metro. Tickets $15 but no reservations necessary - simply show up. More info: http://www.washingtonwalks.com/tours/u-street/

Sunday, August 17 at 4:30 PM, Synchro Swim, presented by Washington Project for the Arts. At WPA’s SynchroSwim, we celebrate creativity and enthusiasm. During the one-hour event, 4 artist teams will perform short, unique routines set to musical compositions. Some may actually be synchronized, but the vast majority will be a free expression of creativity. Performers this year include DC Synchromasters, The Docents, The Elementals, and Fluid Movement.. Free. At the Capitol Skyline Hotel Pool, 10 Eye Street SW. More info: http://wpadc.org/synchroswim/

Monday, August 18 from 2 - 5 pm, Shark Day Swim-in. Shark Week on the Discovery Channel goes from August 10 - 16, but if you wake up on Monday morning still wanting more sharks, then this fun event is for you. First, create a Shark Fin hat (instructions here: http://bit.ly/VnYz00). Go to any public pool or public beach on August 18 and between the hours specified and take a little swim with the hat on. (Best to make it out of waterproof foam). You’ll get the optimum effect if you first set an iPod or other music-playing device to pump out a loud version of the theme from Jaws: http://www.mp3olimp.net/jaws-theme/. This is most definitely the weekly fake event, but don’t let that stop you...

Tuesday, August 19 at 1:30 PM, “Reptiles Alive!” Get an exciting introduction to the world of reptiles. Learn snake secrets and laugh at lizard stories and turtle tales. Featured animals may include a boa constrictor, tortoise, exotic lizards and other amazing animals. Free. At the Takoma Park  Library, 416 Cedar St. NW, http://dclibrary.org/node/42171

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Still Life With Robin: The Heft of the RH Catalog

by Peggy Robin

The New Yorker has weighed in (weak pun intended) on a matter of some substance I brought up in this column a few weeks back (http://yhoo.it/1sI1gGJ): the 12-pound assemblage of catalogs that Restoration Hardware has dumped onto the doorsteps and crammed into the mailrooms of millions of non-consenting recipients. Though over a month late to the fray (as the UPS deliveries were carried out in May and June), the New Yorker brings its wry amusement, coupled with understated derision to thoughts I had expressed earlier and in a much kvetchier tone.

An example: The New Yorker charmingly mocks the overpriced faux antiquery of the featured products with this elegant sentence, backed up by a direct catalog quote: “the bed frames are high and imposing; the lamps are reproductions from eras before electricity; the wooden furniture is distressed and baronial. (‘Inspired by a pair of late 17th century Louis XIV doors, the walnut cabinet is emblematic of French Baroque design with a bolection-molded cornice, raised panel frames, and full-length poignée hinges.’ Nine unspecified sizes, starting at $2,495.)” -- the clear implication being that New Yorker readers are not the sort of people who would settle for cabinets “inspired by late 17th century Louis XIV doors” – they would most assuredly want the real thing.

But the high point of the article for me was its account of an inspired consumer defense tactic -- making RH take the damn things back:

Then, customers rebelled. In Palo Alto, seven volunteers returned two thousand pounds of the catalogues to a Restoration Hardware store in one day, on hand trucks. Erin Gates, an interior designer in Boston, rallied her blog readers to remove their names from the mailing list, explaining that the catalogues are useless, because they don’t contain product dimensions. Some who received the books have proposed alternate uses: dog toy, home-fitness equipment. Melanie Johnson, an origami artist in California, is rolling the pages into paper-bead jewelry. A UPS driver suggested the catalogue would make a handy wheel chock in an emergency.

Brilliant!

[Here’s the link to the New Yorker article: http://nyr.kr/1sENhRQ

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NOTE on last week’s column: In my previous column I promised that this week's column would present Part II of my list of The Days of August, covering August 16 – 31, supplying a celebration or commemoration for each of those days (that column can also be found on All Life Is Local, August 2). I decided to bump the follow-up column over to next Saturday,allowing me to post the New Yorker’s coverage on the RH Hardware catalog debacle in the same week that the New Yorker ran it. Perhaps conveniently, that means the August holidays column will appear on August 16, the first date in the Part II list of August holidays.

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

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blue Sky Puppet Theater at Tenley Friendship Library
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 14,000+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ fastmail.us.

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv
www.cleveland-park.com


Thursday, August 7 at 7 PM, “Healthy Approaches to Weight Control, Reversing Diabetes, and the Best of Health,” presented by Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Free. At Tenley Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue, http://dclibrary.org/node/43757

Friday, August 8 at 12:30 PM, Joshua Barney's Presentation Sword. Commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bladensburg and the British march on the nation's capital in August 1814 with a talk by Curator Emily Schulz on a presentation sword awarded by the City of Washington in September 1814 to Joshua Barney, commander of the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla and an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati. The sword is featured in the current exhibition, The Reward of Patriotism: Commemorating America's Heroes of the War of 1812 (through September 20). The presentation will last approximately 30 minutes with time afterwards for questions and up-close viewing of the object. Free Admission. At Anderson House, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue NW. http://bit.ly/1otOy8g

Saturday, August 9 from 10 AM - 4 PM, Peirce Mill in Operation. Join the Friends of Peirce Mill and the National Park Service for a day of family fun, live music and mill tours.10 AM - 4PM Visitor Center open. 11 AM - 2 PM Peirce Mill in operation turning corn into cornmeal. 11 AM - 4 PM Games for children including a self-guided treasure hunt with small prize. 12 PM - 2 PM Wilson and the Bluegrass Boys play next to the mill. 12 PM - 3 PM Sandy Burke demonstrates the many species (turtles, eels and fish) that live in Rock Creek. Peirce Mill is located in Rock Creek Park at 2401 Tilden St NW. Accessible from the Van Ness Metro Station.

Saturday, August 9 from 2 - 10 PM, New Vintage Jazz Wine Festival. Enjoy music, taste 15 different wines, and watch artists at live painting stations create large-scale pieces to be featured in a silent auction. Sponsored by Capital Bop, Art Whino, Petworth Jazz Project and the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation. Tickets: $20 - $70 at http://bit.ly/UWF7aj. At the Half Street Fairgrounds, 1299 Half Street SE.More info: www.newvintagejazzfest.com/

Sunday, August 10 at 3 PM, The Extreme Life of the Sea with father-son team Dr. Stephen Palumbi and Anthony Palumbi, a visual presentation, discussion and book signing, sponsored by the National Museum of Natural History and the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. In the Q?rius Theater of the NMNH, 10th St and Constitution Ave. Tickets: $8 at http://bit.ly/UYBGAd. Recommended for ages 10 and up. To get a sense of what the presentation is like, watch this Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV0CfdkuGsM&feature=youtu.be

Monday, August 11 at 5 PM, Where Is Everyone? - a guide to The Vineyard, Coastal Maine, Jackson Hole, and Many Other Places You’ll Never Visit Unless You Know the Right People. It’s August in Washington and half the town has fled to far-flung places -- small impossibly cutesy villages in Maine with names like Wiscanscottabunkquit or islands off the coast of Massachusetts but only if you've booked the ferry three years in advance. Learn the geography of Washington in August. At the map room of the National Geographic Society, 15th floor... but you won’t find it because this is the weekly fake event.

Tuesday, August 12 at 2 PM, Blue Sky Puppet Theater puts on an interactive show for kids ages 5 - 12, featuring elements of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). Free. At the Tenley Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave, http://dclibrary.org/node/42301

Tuesday, August 12, 2 - 4 PM, Health and Wellness: E. Gordon Margolin, MD, and an Iona Aging in Community specialist will review the issues of diet, exercise, medical and mental care, and emotional-attitudinal adjustments which are said to keep life “worthwhile” and discuss the issues of applying the best of current knowledge to these endeavors. Part of Iona’s Summer Advocacy Series, Live Well in DC. All sessions are free and will be held at Iona Senior Services, 4125 Albemarle Street, NW. To register, please call (202) 895-9448 or email us at registration@iona.org. More info at: www.iona.org


Wednesday, August 13 at 12:30 PM, “Dolley Madison and the War of 1812,” a discussion led by Dumbarton House executive director Karen L. Daly. Learn more about Dolley Madison's exciting flight from the White House and her stop at Dumbarton House through research by author Anthony Pitch and the collections of Dumbarton House. The talk will feature items on loan for the exhibition "Homefront 1812: Friends, Family Foe" on view at Dumbarton House throughout Summer 2014. Held at At Dumbarton House, 2715 Q St NW in the Belle Vue Room. Bring your own brown bag lunch. Free but reservations suggested: http://bit.ly/1oHlS02. More information: http://bit.ly/1u1j5CA


Thursday, August 14 at 7 PM, Civil War Medicine: It’s Not What You Think! The Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library the Friends of the Cleveland Park Library are pleased to invite you to this free lecture. Historian Kyle Wichtendal, Educational Coordinator at the National Civil War Medicine Museum in Frederick, MD http://www.civilwarmed.org will talk about the work and challenges of surgeons and medical personnel during the Civil War.  Learn about diseases and the medicines used to treat them, surgeries and amputations, soldiers’ food and nutrition, and more.  Kyle will also recount how Dr. Jonathan Letterman led the introduction of the first system of staged evacuation and treatment for mass casualties.  Kyle will be bringing reproductions of period medical equipment that you'll be able to handle and examine. This program commemorates the ongoing 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and especially the Battles of Monocacy (Frederick, MD) and Ft. Stevens (DC), which were fought during the summer of 1864.  Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library, first floor auditorium, 3310 Connecticut Ave., NW http://dclibrary.org/clevelandpark

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Still Life With Robin: The Days of August (Part I)

Photo by Ralph Daily via Wikimedia Commons
by Peggy Robin

August is a nebulous month -- it’s not well defined. You don’t automatically think of a particular activity or celebration associated with it, And now that so many schools start up in August (no more waiting for Labor Day), August is neither entirely a summer break month nor a fall semester month. More troubling is its lack of an iconic holiday. No one’s decorating the house for any special reason, or planning a 3-day weekend around a government-approved day off. Lots of people aren’t even around for half the month – it’s the biggest vacation time of the year -- so you can’t count on getting anything done; yet there’s no uniformity to the absences, which often leaves you with an up-in-the-air feeling about all kinds of things.

August need not be this way: any of the commemorative days below could be turned into an August holiday. There’s one for every day of the month….and I didn’t make up a single one of them. Here’s what we have for the first half of the month. (I will be back next week with a list of August occasions from the 16th to the 31st):

August 1: Lughnasa – the ancient Druidic harvest festival

August 2: Ice Cream Sandwich Day

August 3: National Watermelon Day

August 4: The Night They Invented Champagne

August 5: National Underwear Day – Go to Times Square on this day and get a free pair of underwear!

August 6: Imagine Peace Day – Yoko Ono is the driving force behind the commemoration of this day.

August 7: National Lighthouse Day

August 8: Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night

August 9: Book Lovers’ Day

August 10: Lazy Day

August 11: Babe Ruth/500 Day – Babe Ruth hits his 500th home run.

August 12: Middle Child’s Day

August 13: Left Hander’s Day

August 14: V-J Day

August 15: Indian Independence Day

Happy Whatever-Whatever-You-Want-to-Celebrate, Everyone!

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