Thursday, September 24, 2020

Get Out! And Pay Your Respects....


by Peggy Robin

This week’s  “Get Out” column is highlighting just two events – both commemorative – and each in its own way a reflection on the actions of those who fought for our rights, human dignity and equality: One honors the life of an individual, Ruth Bader Ginsburg; the other, the commemorates the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and pays tribute to the hundreds of thousands who fought and died to defeat the Axis powers.

Today – Thursday, September 24 – is the second day that the body of RBG will lie in repose at the top of the front steps to the Supreme Court. You can pay your respects from 9:30 AM until 10 PM. On Friday, she will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Building. There will be a formal ceremony for invited guests. 

The following week interment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery, where she will be buried next to her husband, with a private service.

More information here:

On Friday, September 25 you can look to the skies over the National Mall to see a flyby of vintage World War II aircraft to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Allied Forces over the Nazis in Europe. This event was originally scheduled for May 8, 2020, on the actual 75th anniversary of V-E Day, but it was postponed until September 25 – a date by which the schedulers may have assumed the pandemic would be over and done with.

If you go to the Mall, please be prepared for crowds. It’s a large enough outdoor space that if you’ve got a good, tight-fitting mask and are careful about keeping your distance, you should be safe.

Here's DCist’s description of the event: "Vintage warbirds will fly south over the Potomac River from Northern Virginia in sequence. They’ll fly east over Independence Avenue along the National Mall before turning around near the U.S. Capitol and heading back to Virginia.

"The first formation is scheduled to fly over the Lincoln Memorial at 11:30 a.m. Each of the formations will represent one of the war’s major battles, ending with the Missing Man formation."

You can read more about this event in this article in DCist:

If you would rather watch from inside your covid-safe bubble, the event will be live streamed here:

The commemorative coverage will begin at 10 AM; the flyover formations will reach the National Mall at about 11:30 AM.


The "Get Out" events column is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Still Life with Robin: RBG's Opera Date


by Peggy Robin

I was privileged to meet Ruth Bader Ginsburg a couple of times. She and her husband Marty were friends of my mother and stepfather, going back many, many years. My mother used to be the Associate Director of the ACLU in the mid 1970s, back when Ruth Bader Ginsburg headed up the Women’s Rights Project. But their friendship really blossomed when both couples were living in Washington, and both my stepfather and Ruth were great opera fans, while each of their spouses was somewhat less enthusiastic. There were a number of occasions when either Marty Ginsburg or my mother might be called away on a business trip on a night when one couple or the other had booked a pair of tickets for a performance at the Kennedy Center. Whenever this occurred, my stepfather would escort Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the opera. She would enjoy her “dates” with my stepfather, getting a lot more out of the show, I'm sure, than my mother ever did.

I remember once asking my mother ever worried about her husband so frequently taking out “another woman.” My mother, now 97 years old and a widow for nearly a decade, laughed at the thought of it. Ruth and Marty adored each other, and there was never any reason for anyone to doubt it. She was absolutely the sort of person you could trust with your husband – never any doubt about that either. And, my mother added, a lovely person – quiet – but fun to be around.

If you value Justice Ginsburg for her wisdom and opinions, you might want to know what operas she judged to be the best – and you can hear it in her own words – here:

If you would like to see a short clip of her IN an opera (non-singing role), you can watch at: 

If you would like to honor her tonight, there’s a candlelight vigil in front of the Supreme Court, starting at 8 pm.

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

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Get Out! And See the New Eisenhower Memorial

by Peggy Robin

This week’s “Get Out” recommendation is about an event taking place online, which will afterward become an activity that you can do in real life, outdoors, while maintaining social distance from anyone else….if you pick the right time.  

The new Eisenhower Memorial  will be unveiled tonight, September 17 2020 at 7:00 PM at a small outdoor ceremony for invitees only – but the public at large is invited to watch it in virtual reality


Memorial Dedication Ceremony  

Thursday, September 17, 2020 | 7:00pm

Hosted by the Eisenhower Memorial Commission Via Facebook Live

Live stream open to the public | Registration not required  

The Memorial Commission explains: “The events celebrating the opening of the Eisenhower Memorial have been redesigned due to the impact of COVID-19. Given the constraints on public gatherings, and in consideration of public safety, we have restructured the dedication events. Following CDC guidelines for safe social distancing, space is more limited and we are unfortunately not able to allow for additional guests. We appreciate your understanding and hope that you will join us via Facebook Live for this reimagined commemoration of the memorial. or questions and assistance, email”   

You may know something about the history leading up to this moment – the 21 years of squabbling, lobbying, redesign hearings and re-hearings in front of various panels and commissions – finally bearing fruit with the compromise design that is being unveiled this evening. If you’re not up on this subject – or you want a quick refresher course – I recommend this recap in the New York Times: 

For an illuminating review of the design of the Eisenhower Memorial, the Washington Post’s architecture critic Philip Kennicott is the one to read: 

Here’s my own commentary on the process and outcome of this public installation:

The original, sole designer, starchitect Frank Gehry, came up with a concept for the memorial that had as its centerpiece a statue of the young Eisenhower as a barefoot child in Kansas – thus relegating his accomplishments as the Supreme Allied Commander in World War II and his two-term presidency (which, arguably, had the most bipartisan support of any president in our history) to side pieces in the panorama of his life. United in outrage and opposition to the design, the Eisenhower family and their allies spent years organizing, lobbying, and presenting the case for scrapping the design and starting anew. Over the years, a number of new and compromise plans were put forth, more changes were ordered; and eventually the ; the National Capital Planning Commission (the deciding agency) had its say. In the final version, several new statues of Eisenhower in his prime took over the main stage. Former Secretary of State James Baker served as the chief negotiator among the warring parties, hammering out the compromise arrangement of the statues that was to prove acceptable to all.   

You know the old saying about the camel – that it’s an animal designed by committee. The moral of that story is that when a design is worked on by a group of disparate people, the result will be something awkward, ugly, and not to anyone’s liking. Well, that story has never made sense to me. The camel is NOT ugly – unless you have a very constrained and stereotypical idea of what beauty is. The camel is truly a magnificent creature – amazingly well adapted to its harsh environment, serving its purpose better than almost any other pack animal. It deserves our respect, even admiration.

So it is with the Eisenhower Memorial. Yes, it was designed by a committee, but they found a way to represent all the various aspects of this towering figure of the Twentieth Century – and serve the goals of beautiful landscaping, public accessibility, and clear storytelling of history – all in a relatively compact space. This camel serves its purpose well  – and you should go to see it and admire it.  

Take Philip Kennicott’s suggestion and see it as the daylight fades, so that you’re there as it’s lit up at night. After dark there will be fewer visitors and you will find it easier to maintain social distancing. Please be sure to wear your mask. If there’s anything Ike taught us, it’s that when faced with a dangerous enemy we all must be prepared to make sacrifices to protect our country, our people. In this case, what we’re being asked to do is not that hard. Wear a mask when you go to visit the memorial. It’s what Ike would have done.   

The "Get Out" events column is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.     

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Still Life with Robin: Delicious!

by Peggy Robin

If I could go anywhere and do anything  in the world right now – instead of keeping my distance from everyone and anyone now and for so many months to come – my dream trip would be to Cornwall, England, where there’s a spectacularly situated hotel by the sea, featuring a Michelin rated restaurant run by the greatest Italian chef in England….and quite possibly the world. Every night, it’s another eye-popping, mouth-watering multi-course feast.

There’s just one trouble with this dream of mine, and it’s not the pandemic, it’s not the expense or the time it would require to get away – it’s that the hotel and the restaurant do not exist in real life. They are the fictional centerpiece of a TV series now showing on PBS called “Delicious.”  

Well, I shouldn’t say the hotel and restaurant are entirely imaginary. The show is filmed at a real location in Cornwall – Pentillie Castle – but it’s not a hotel. If you really want to stay there, you will need to rent out the entire place for a wedding or some other special event. So you might as well do what I’ve be doing, and enjoy its fictional doppleganger, the Penrose Hotel, the setting for the complicated romantic and epicurean adventures of the members of the two families (Bonelli and Vincent) who are the main characters of the story.  

I don’t want to tell you too much about these talented, passionate, charming, infuriating, and at the same time endearing individuals, as I think you will prefer to learn about them as their stories unfold. I will just say, they seem so alive in the series, it’s easy to forget they are made-up people. Even when they’re at their worst, and you are starting to feel you’ve had it up to here with them, you may still feel you will never get enough of this lush and sensual seaside locale. So very different from the strangled, restricted and shut-in world which now constitutes our socially distanced and isolated city in the midst of a pandemic.  

And the food! I’ve watched a lot of cooking shows in my time, but there’s never been a series to give such a rich, appetizing, inviting window into the making serving, and consuming of food. You don’t need Smell-O-Vision; when you watch the food scenes in “Delicious,” the neurons in the part of your brain that process smell will be firing as if you are right there on the set. And as I understand from my reading about the show, in most cases the TV crew members were able to enjoy the feasts right after the filming was done. Unlike most food shown on TV, the food wasn’t pumped up with non-food additives to make it photograph better under TV lights. On the odd occasion a dish would be given a light brush of oil to make it shine – but in most cases the dishes were presented just as they were prepared by the real chefs hired for the series.  

Doesn’t that sound tempting? You can binge-watch the entire series (three seasons of four episodes each, for a total of twelve 45-minute shows) if you have Acorn TV (available through Amazon Prime), or you can tape the shows as they air on PBS (but you’ll need to check the schedule and see if the series will repeat from the beginning; it’s already in the middle of season two.) Or you can buy individual episodes or whole seasons through Amazon: Or you can buy the DVDs through  

I give it five stars!

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

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Get Out! And Go to a Neighborhood Festival Or Stay In! And Go to a Virtual Festival

by Peggy Robin

Slowly, cautiously, the "Get Out!" events column is returning with some In-Real-Life events. Our two featured IRL events today are happening this weekend. The Old Towne Alexandria Arts Festival is on Saturday and Sunday. The Zoo's Scavenger Hunt is Sunday only.  Both are outdoor events with requirements for masks for all, gloves recommended, limited guest admission, and social distancing rules in place. 

Keep a close eye on the weather, though. If it's stormy all weekend long, you might want to opt for our third featured event, taking place in safe, dry cyberspace: It's Virtual Adams Morgan Day -- happening on Sunday from 11 AM to 7:30 PM.

Old Towne Alexandria Arts Festival
Saturday, September 12th, 2020 from 10am to 5pm
Sunday, September 13th, 2020 from 10am to 5pm
300 John Carlyle St. in Alexandria, VA
Free Admission

The 18th Annual Alexandria Old Town Art Festival (formerly the King Street Art Festival) is in a new location this year, at John Carlyle Square, just 2 blocks from King Street in the heart of the Old Town district, close to the King St. Metro station.

Safety measures in place for the socially-distanced, outdoor art event:
• All attendees are asked to wear a mask upon entering the Festival, with the exception of children aged 2 and under.
• Entrances and exits will be monitored for one-way traffic.
• Visitors should reserve free time slot on Eventbrite.
Social distancing is required between artists and patrons, and patron groups.
• Patrons are asked to stay home if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, awaiting test results for COVID-19, or show any symptoms of the virus.
• Guests are also asked to utilize hand-washing and sanitizing stations on a regular basis and avoid casual touching.

More info:

Scavenger Hunt at the National Zoo
Sunday, September 13, 2020 from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM

Meet Outside the Starbucks Across from the National Zoo, 3000 Connecticut Ave NW

Lions, tigers, Bears…
Apes, Lizards, Seals…
Birds, Birds, Birds…

The scavenger hunt takes place throughout the National Zoo. Look for items, answer trivia, get exciting pictures and win big prizes!

How does it work?

Upon arrival, we will break you into teams. Each team will be given a list of several items to retrieve, pictures to take or answers to get from the zoo. The items are all of little or no cost.

The winning team will be the one that collects the most points. Prizes will be awarded to the top teams.

Throughout the day, you’ll learn about and explore fascinating subjects of a wide range at the zoo. There are a large number of items listed and what you see depends upon your team’s resolve, speed, and ability to have fun!

Note: The race starts at 11:00 AM sharp!

1) All Attendees MUST Bring and Wear a Mask (Gloves Recommended as well).  If you forget a mask, you will not be allowed to participate, and refunds will not be granted.

2)  All Attendees MUST be in good health. If you have a fever or feel you have been exposed to someone with Covid-19, you will not be allowed to participate.  While we will use our best efforts to prevent this, , its agents, affiliates or officers cannot be responsible for the health of the attendees or if you are exposed to the virus potentially among or between anyone else during this event.

3) We will create an environment where if we put you on a team with new friends, social distancing will still be required.   Yet, it will not affect your ability to work together and have fun.

Tickets: $20 Purchase here:  

Rather stay in and play it safe? You can still go to a festival! This year Adams Morgan Day has gone virtual. No need to fight your way through the throngs as you may have done for any of the the 40+ years of A-M festivals past. 

September 13, 2020, 11 AM to 7:30 PM

Bands ~ Dance Performances ~ Kids Activities ~ Art and Artists ~ Panel Discussions with Community Activists ~ Covid in the Community ~ Virtual Sports ~ And Much More!

View the complete schedule here: and click on any event to register.

Whether you Get Out! or Stay In! .... Stay Safe!

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

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Still Life with Robin: On the DP Bandwagon...At Last

by Peggy Robin 

The time has come for me to jump on the David Pham DP Auto Repair Bandwagon. I’m on board at long last because my 13-year old car is running fine, thanks to the  ministrations of his good mechanics.

First, some background. My 13-year-old Hyundai Accent has lately been showing its age. Just about one month ago I wrote in this space about the breakdown that led me to leave the car at a repair place near the White Flint Metro….and the long and frustrating series of transportation glitches that turned the trip home (which should have taken about 20 minutes) into an hour-plus ordeal. Well, a few days after that adventure, I picked up my patched-up car – it seemed to be running OK again – and enjoyed a few weeks driving it around without problem.     

Then came the morning that I went to start it up…and what do you know…dead battery. I’m on Geico’s free Roadside Assist Plan, so I called for a jump-start. They came; they jumped; the car was working fine the rest of the day. I figured, I must have left some electrical thingie on by mistake (maybe a door was not completely shut and the interior dome light drained the battery??) Whatever it was, I thought it was just a one-time fluke.  

Next morning: dead again. This time, not even a little churning noise when I turned the key. 

I called Roadside Assist again. Guy came, gave it another jump, and the car was running again. But this time I realized there had to be something that was keeping the battery from holding a charge. I thought about driving back out to the Hyundai place near the White Flint Metro. The repair place was the service department of the dealership where I had bought the 2008 model car back in 2007, and where I’d taken it for service ever since. It had always been something of a pain in the neck to run out to Rockville every time anything needed to be done to it – but until recently, it had never needed much in the way of work – just the periodic scheduled maintenance.    

Back when I bought the car, as a deal-sweetener during the price negotiations, the Hyundai salesman had thrown in a five-year extension on the three-year warranty – all standard maintenance included. But I was tied by the deal to that service department. I didn't mind – I liked having everything covered and pre-paid. So, for the next eight years, I took the car there whenever it needed anything, and never thought of going anyplace else.   

After 2015, when the deal ran out, the Hyundai service place still kept offering me coupons and special offers that made it cheap to keep hauling the car out to Rockville for maintenance. However, the last couple of times, there were some bigger system problems….and it wasn’t so cheap anymore. On top of that, as my most recent experience showed, getting from Rockville back to Cleveland Park can be less than smooth sailing, especially if the Cleveland Park Metro happens to be closed due to anticipated flooding.    

This long history was all in my mind as I drove off in my freshly jump-started car. Maybe it was just the battery. Or maybe it would need a complete overhaul of the electrical system. But why drive all the way out to Rockville to find out? All during the previous week, Cleveland Park Listserv members had been singing the praises of DP Auto. Why not see if they're right? There are over 131 pages of  reviews of DP Auto in the CP Listerv archives – 20 messages per page! – and all but two or three are glowing tributes. And DP Auto is slightly more than a mile and a half from my house. It was a nice day – I could walk home!  

So I drove straight to DP. I should have known, after all those customer endorsements, they'd be busy! Lots of people waiting – but everyone was masked, and the process was orderly and efficient. I described the problem and left my old car in their hands. It was ready the next morning. Yep, it was just an old, worn-out battery, nothing more.   

Now it's about a week later, and the car's been starting up fine. I'm sure I paid a lot less for the battery and the labor than I would have paid at the Hyundai place out in Rockville – even with all those discounts they kept giving me. No more long haul up Rockville Pike again – what a relief!  

So now I'm sold on DP Auto and happy to have joined the chorus. Patronize your neighborhood businesses, folks! DP Auto just up Connecticut Avenue at the corner of Fessenden (4940 Conn Ave), in the Shell station (although it's a separate business). Call David Pham at 202 966 0408.  

You can bet that now that I’m on the DP Bandwagon, I’ll be going back…but hope it won’t be anytime soon!


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

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Get Out! Or Stay In! Either Way, DC Public Libraries Have Great Things Going On

Photo of MLK Library by D Monack (public domain)
by Peggy Robin

It’s not often I have anything good to say about the DC government. But there is one department that can make any DC taxpayer sure they’re getting their money’s worth – and that is the DC Public Library system.  

Before the pandemic hit,  you could go into any of the 24 branch libraries – they were spread out all over the city and highly accessible – and in any one of them you would find a high level of programs happening all week long, all free and open to all. 

And the system just kept improving. There's a long-term, well-thought-out plan in progress to update, renovate, and rebuild all the old libraries. So far, each branch that has completed the renovation process has turned out to be, one after another, a  marvelous confluence of good stuff: good architecture, good functionality, and user-friendly design – accomplished with tons of constructive community input that really was listened to and incorporated into the final design. (Bet you thought that just did not happen in city government planning!). But our CP Library sitting at Macomb and Connecticut is a shining example for all to see. And now we can actually go inside again. 

Soon the renovated MLK library will reopen. The multi-year, long-delayed renovation process took this 1972 building from a leaky, dilapidated, hulking, depressingly dark box and has transformed it into a light-filled, open, welcoming and even joyful building. There’s a video preview here:  

Now, if you’re like me, and you are still cautiously staying put inside a bubble as much as possible, you may want to wait a while longer before checking out any of these libraries in person. In that case, you will want to limit yourself to what the DCPL system has to offer in cyberspace. It's a lot! You can get e-books. audiobooks, movies and other shows. Get research help, and sign up for any number of programs conducted in cyberspace. For the month's schedule of programs, start here: 

For one-stop convenient access to everything the DC Library system offers, you need the new Library app on your smartphone. Go to to learn what it does and how to get it.  

So far, so good. But you want to know the greatest innovation of the DC Library system this year? They got rid of late book return fines! 

And now for a fun bit of trivia as a little extra takeaway from this column:  Have you ever wanted to know the answer to this one: What's the most overdue library book of all time?  

Answer: It's this scintillating title, “Scriptores rerum Germanicarum septentrionalium, vicinorumque populorum diversi” (which translates to: "Various historians of the Northern Germans and of neighbouring peoples"), which was borrowed from the Sidney Sussex Library at Cambridge, sometime around 1667-8 by Colonel Robert Walpole when he was an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge. The book was discovered 288 years later in the library of Houghton Hall in Norfolk, built by Colonel Walpole's son, Sir Robert Walpole, who became the first prime minister of England. The person who found it was the British historian, J.H. Plumb, who was at Houghton Hall doing some research on a biography of Sir Robert Walpole. Professor Plumb returned it to the Sidney Sussex Library  reportedly without a fine. 

Read the full story here:   _________

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

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Still Life with Robin: In Defense of Cub Cuteness


by Peggy Robin  

With all the things to be outraged about in the world today, trust me to find the most trivial one possible, and play it for all its worth. Here's what has my back up today: Some cockamamy reporter over at WAMU/DCist, going by the name of Colleen Grablick, has written that our new baby panda is not cute. In fact, she says it’s something you need to “brace yourself” to see. (See article.)   

Not Cute???!!!!   

Let me school you, Colleen: A baby panda is the very definition of cuteness. It meets all the tests:  

Small. Check.
Wiggly. Check. 
Pink. Check.
Funny little face. Well, just look at this!   

And it makes these unbelievably cute squeals -- the kind you expect would come from a much bigger but still adorable animal, like, say, a scampering piglet:  

With its helpless, flailing movements, how you could you NOT want to pick it up and cuddle it? (Colleen, I'm talking to you!). Which of course is what is making Mei Xiang do her mothering thing so well -- just as she's done successfully with her three previous cubs.  

For all the proof you need, watch this Zoo footage of the cub on Day 7:   

Yet Ms. Grablick points to this newborn "in its fur-less, screaming glory," and says that its “screeches” are “reminiscent of a car’s windshield-wipers scraping against dry glass, or acrylic nails dragging across a chalkboard". 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is not the first time DCist has dissed our newborn panda. They did it to Mei Xiang's previous cub, Bei Bei, in 2015, when DCist's then Associate Editor Rachel Sadon sniffed that he “looks like a knock-off stuffed animal.”  See:   

What is WRONG with these people!!!??   

Is it just to be contrarian? I get not wanting to love Mom and Apple Pie, but I have to draw the line at slamming a baby panda for its looks. There are so few of them in the world. And really, objectively, they ARE CUTE!  

I call upon this Listserv to help me make the case. WAMU/DCist has actually put this question to a vote!  

Here in DC, we don’t get to vote on much….but let’s all get on top of this issue and register our support for the cuteness of our baby panda!   

Vote here:     

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the poll. No need to worry about the safety of your ballot! And I'm sure Mei Xiang and Tian Tian would thank you for your support!


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

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Get Out! And Celebrate Record Day (In Socially Distant Safety, Of Course!)

Record Store Day

by Peggy Robin

It’s time to start venturing out again….as long as you can do so in a safe, socially distant manner. Let’s begin by observing an annual holiday – Record Store Day! -- that was supposed to have happened back in the spring -- just as it has done on the second or third Saturday in April for the past dozen years. But that was just when the pandemic started roaring across the country like a hurricane, and everything had to be shut down or boarded up. The record store/vinyl lovers’ community put their heads together (via Zoom, no doubt) and picked a new date, and it’s  the last Saturday in August – a date so many months down the road, it was bound to be safe!  

Well, here we are, a few days from that long-delayed date, and there’s no use putting it off again. Now the way forward is to celebrate on Saturday, August 29 – but be sure to do so safely, in a socially distant way.

Here are the rules and regs that will be in place for Record Store Day at the four participating record stores in DC (info courtesy of DCist): 

DC Participating Record Stores:

Joint Custody
1530 U Street NW
The shop will be open from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m., and will only allow four customers inside at a time.   

Smash! Records
2314 18th Street NW
Unlike past years, browsing will be confined four stations specially stocked with Record Store Day titles. Five people will be allowed inside at a time, and are asked to wear gloves while shopping, which the store will provide. The shop will open at 11 a.m. and close at 9:30 p.m.   

Som Records
1843 14th Street NW
No more than four customers allowed in the shop at a time. The store will be open from noon to 6 p.m., and gloves will be provided.   

Songbyrd Music House
2477 18th Street NW
From 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., the store will operate on an appointment-only basis to allow for social distancing, and titles will be limited to one copy per person. Appointments are sold out, but they will welcome walk-up customers in the afternoon. Songbyrd will also host a special outdoor screening of the documentary Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine at 8 p.m. Reservations are available via their Facebook page.  

Note that gloves are provided for shoppers at three of the four stores. If you are a vinyl fanatic, you’ve probably been handling your LPs with gloves on all the while, to ensure that no oil from your fingertips gets into the sensitive grooves of your precious platters. Now there’s even more reason to handle your vinyl with gloves on!

And now for those who would rather stay home and observe Record Store Day remotely: Yes, you can order online! And while you’re at it, you can enjoy the spirit of the record store through streaming the movie, “High Fidelity” starring John Cusack as the owner of a struggling record store who understands music a lot better than he understands relationships. (2000, available on Amazon video.) Or maybe you would prefer the 2020 reboot, a streaming comedy series, with the record store owner gender-flipped, now played by Zoe Kravitz (10 episodes, on Hulu:  


Not into vinyl? How about black&white fur? Here’s another event you can celebrate remotely: It’s Tian Tian’s birthday today! This proud father of our newest panda cub has turned 23! He’s already enjoyed a fruitsicle birthday cake this morning – but you can read about the party here:

And you can get a really good glimpse of his 6-day-old cub (name and gender TBD) here:


Whatever you are celebrating today, we wish you a good one! 

The "Get Out!" events column is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.  

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Still LIfe with Robin: What This Pandemic Needs is a Baby Panda, Part 2

by Peggy Robin 

Last week’s column was all about how much we needed and wanted a baby panda to cheer us up!  We got our wish! Mei Xiang & Tian Tian’s tiny cub was born at 6:35 PM on Friday, August 21. Sex as yet undetermined, name to be bestowed (most likely according to Chinese tradition on the 100th day after the birth.


Of course the first 100 days of a panda’s life are far from a sure thing. Panda cubs are the most fragile of newborns, just 3.5 ounces, from a mother 900 times the size! You’d think something so tiny would be better off as a marsupial, tucked away, safe inside a pouch -- at least until they’ve got a few pounds on them. The newborn's so tiny, it's hardly big enough to be noticed; it can all too easily be crush by a careless movement. 

A student of the panda life-cycle, Peishu Li of the University of Chicago, has described panda newborns this way: “They’re basically undercooked.” Kinda makes you wonder whether the baby panda should have been a back-to-the-drawing-board moment in evolutionary engineering. Maybe that’s part of the reason we love them so much: It’s the out-of-scale strangeness of a giant bear producing this teensy pink thing that's smaller than a piglet. But far, far more precious and rare. And of course, off-the-charts in cuteness.   

Until our little cub is ready for its close-up, here's a look at what a baby panda can do once it's grown a bit bigger and can move about on its own. They do grow fast!


You can get just a glimpse of the newborn now on this Twitter feed from the National Zoo:


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

Monday, August 17, 2020

Stay In! And Watch 35+ Speakers to Hear Maybe One of them Mention DC Statehood for Like 20 Seconds

by Peggy Robin

Once the pandemic started and our regular Thursday “Get Out” column no longer had enough in-person events to justify a weekly listing, it’s been hard to find activities to highlight in this column. Events listed here need to be things that anyone can do during a pandemic – and they also need to take place in the DC Metro area or be tied to DC in one way or another. So why am I listing the Democratic National Convention as the event for the week? Because it’s the most significant event taking place week – and it also has the potential to have enormous impact on the status of DC in the future. If the Democratic National Convention adopts the cause of DC statehood as a plank in the party platform, and if Democrats take the Presidency and the Senate, and keep control of the House, then finally DC statehood will have a chance to become a reality. So that’s my angle and I’m working it as hard as I can.

Now, I don’t know if any of the scheduled speakers will mention DC statehood as one of the things they are fighting for – but I’m posting this column three days early to be able to give you a heads-up of who's speaking when, and that may increase the likelihood of catching the speech of the person who brings up our DC cause -- however brief a mention we may get. Of course you can always catch a wrap-up of highlights and replays, if you don’t watch it live.

You can find an more detailed listing of each day’s events at:   

Here’s the Monday, August 17 line-up of speakers in prime time, 9 – 11 PM, in order:   
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto
Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Rep. Jim Clyburn
Convention Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson
Rep. Gwen Moore
Former Gov. John Kasich 
Sen. Doug Jones
Sen. Bernie Sanders
Former First Lady Michelle Obama   

Speakers on Tuesday, August 18, 9 – 11 PM:  
In a change from the tradition of the star keynote speaker, at this convention, 16 rising stars in the Democratic Party, including Stacy Abrams and Conor Lamb, will each deliver short parts of the keynote speech. 
Former Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
Former Secretary of State John Kerry
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester
Former President Bill Clinton
Former Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden

Wednesday August 19, 9-11 PM:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Gov. Tony Evers
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords 
Sen. Kamala Harris
Former President Barack Obama   

Thursday, August 20, 9-11 PM  
Sen. Cory Booker
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Gov. Gavin Newsom
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
Sen. Tammy Duckworth
Sen. Chris Coons
Andrew Yang
Vice President Joe Biden and the Biden Family  

Now, as promised, here’s your tie-in to DC-centered politics – a Kamala Harris tweet on DC statehood:      
Kamala Harris

Washington, D.C. has 700,000+ residents—more than some states—but they are denied full representation in Congress. It’s time to grant D.C. statehood.      

But that’s not all! While we’re on the subject of Kamala, here’s a BONUS musical performance (it’s not going to be shown at the Democratic National Convention, but it should be!):
Randy Rainbow singing “Kama-lot!”: 


The “Stay In!” events column is usually published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and All Life Is Local on Thursdays, but this one had to be posted on Monday to provide the schedule of speakers for all four days of the Democratic National Convention.