Saturday, October 13, 2018

Still Life with Robin: Soupergirl in the Shark Tank

Shark Tank on ABC - Soupergirl episode airs Oct 21, 2018

by Peggy Robin

In Monday's edition of DCist there was an item about a local business person who will be featured in an upcoming episode of Shark Tank on Sunday, October 21 (ABC): 
"Soupergirl Will Pitch A 'Soup Revolution' On ABC's 'Shark Tank'"

We take an almost motherly interest in contestant in this case, as around the time that Soupergirl (a/k/a Sara Polon) was launching her soup business, that was just about the time we got the idea to turn the Cleveland Park Listserv into a viable business, taking it from an on-the-side, all-volunteer-run forum and reinventing it as a an economically sustainable, 365-day-a-year online publication, supported by local advertisers. Sara Polon's new business, Soupergirl, was one of our earliest sponsors -- and remains so to this day.

However, her very first business post on this listserv was not an ad but a query: she was in search of storage space for the business she had not yet opened (see November 13, 20008, message # 51859 Storage Space Needed). Clearly, she found what she needed to get started – almost ten years ago -- and we're proud to have had a hand in it. (OK, maybe not a whole hand, but at least a pinky finger!) And glad she had a hand in helping the listserv find the support it needed from the local businesses to keep growing and serving an ever-wider community. We are now just a few dozen subscribers away from hitting the 18,000 mark.

However she fares in the Shark Tank next Sunday, we want to say, here among the tree-lined streets of Cleveland Park, Sara the Soupergirl, you are a champ!

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Get Out! The Events Column October 12 - 18, 2018

Photo by Infrogmation (via Creative Commons)
We wanted to share some events and activities that we thought would be of interest to list members. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 17,900+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, please email us at events @ fastmail dot net.

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Friday, October 12 from 6 - 7:30 PM, Vikings at the Wharf: Draken Documentary Viewing and Q&A with Captain Björn Ahlander. The Vikings are here! During the 10-day celebration at Transit Pier (through October 15), you can take a tour of the world’s largest operational Viking ship, the Draken Harald Hårfagre (tickets $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 5-16, available here On Friday at 6pm you can attend a FREE lecture by the captain, with a screening of the ship’s documentary. At the Transit Pier at the Washington Wharf. More info:   

Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, 7 p.m. Author Talk with Markus Zusak. DC Public Library, in partnership with Politics & Prose, presents an evening with Markus Zusak, bestselling author of The Book Thief. His latest novel, Bridge of Clay, is a sweeping and affecting family saga chronicling the lives of the five Dunbar boys. Masterfully plotted and executed, Zusak's prose leaves readers reeling and applauding, and serves as a reminder that, no matter how winding, the stories we live and share possess indomitable value. Ages 14 and up. This event is free, but advanced tickets are required - Doors will open at 6:30 and seating for this event is first come, first served. To join the signing line, attendees must purchase a copy of Bridge of Clay. Tickets are available on Brown Paper Tickets: The Cleveland Park Library is at 3310 Connecticut Ave. NW. More info:   

Saturday, October 13 from 9:15 - 11 AM, An Architectural Tour of the National Zoo by Cleveland Park Historical Society (must join CPHS if you are not a member). Take a special private tour of the Zoo's historic architecture and landscape design: Building and Designs for a 163-Acre Oasis in Our Nation’s Capital: An Architectural Tour of the National Zoo with John Thomann, AIA, Gensler, and Matthew Sellers, Landscape Architect for the the National Zoo. Meet outside the Reptile Discovery Center. Free for CPHS members - spaces are limited to 20 people. Register at If you find the tour is full, please do put your name on the waiting list, since there is likely to be some movement in the list close to tour time. Questions? Email Carin Ruff, staff @ or go to:

Saturday October 13 from 11 AM - 4 PM, Palisades House Tour. The Palisades Village’s 6th annual house tour will feature the lovely neighborhoods of Foxhall and Palisades. Attendees will explore seven historic and beautifully appointed homes. Many of the houses have been remodeled and the interiors have been updated with contemporary amenities and showcase a variety of art and period furniture. Several of the homes have impressive gardens and landscaping. One of the seven homes featured is the “Smart House.” From an enticing foyer to garden folly, the “Smart” House smoothly welcomes guests with modern, streamlined “cool” hospitality. One almost hears ice cubes clinking in the 1950’s style Lucite ice bucket, just one of the selectively chosen items of cool décor. The Zen fountain gurgles soothing cool water, beckoning guests—now with cool cocktail or iced tea in hand—out into the intimate garden. But chic décor and art work, and a compelling lay-out are not the only smart aspects of this home. Lights, sound system, ac, and heat are all controlled by an integrated keypad for the utmost in comfort and atmosphere. Tour tickets on sale at the Lab School at 4759 Reservoir Rd for $35 on the day of the tour or buy in advance for $30 online at 

Saturday, October 13 from 12 - 4 PM, Murch Fall Fair. Take advantage of the gorgeous fall weather to stroll up to Murch Elementary School’s Annual Fall Fair! Enjoy our highly anticipated gently used book sale (usually some real gems for every interest and age group at unbelievable 'buy a bag' prices), bouncy houses for pre-k through tweens, hot dogs, pizza, fresh popcorn and we are currently confirming our sweet treats will come from one of the best ice cream/cookie food trucks in DC!  Kids will love our art projects and all can compete at our carnival games like corn hole, giant Connect-4, dual basketball, etc. We even have a dunk booth and a vendor section for local small businesses! More info: Murch Elementary School is at 4810 36th Street on the playground facing Ellicott Street between 34th & 36th.

Saturday October 13 from 12 - 7 PM, The H Street Festival! Everything you want in a street festival, including live music, dance performances, family-friendly activities, contests and plenty of food vendors across its 14 staging areas, with dozens of businesses participating. Free admission. Location: Ten blocks along H Street NE, from 4th St to 14th St NW,

Saturday, October 13 from 11 AM - 6 PM and Sunday, October 14 from 10 AM - 5 PM, Bethesda Row Arts Festival 2018. The streets of Bethesda Row transform into an outdoor art gallery featuring 190 juried museum quality artists. Art collectors and lovers will find one of a kind top quality: ceramics, drawing, pastels, fiber, decorative, fiber, wearables, glass, jewelry, metalwork, mixed media 2D, mixed media 3D, oil/acrylic painting, photography, digital art, printmaking, sculpture, watercolor, and wood. Live musical entertainment – all local and amazing. More than 50 nearby restaurants. Admission is FREE. Details at

Sunday, October 14, 10 AM - 12 noon, Tregaron Volunteer Planting and Clean-Up. Both skilled gardeners and novices are encouraged to attend! We will gather by the Lily Pond near our Klingle Road NW entrance. (The GPS address is 3031 Klingle Road NW.) Registration is required. To register, email info @ tregaronconservancy dot org, indicating the number of people in your group. Kids who are supervised by an adult and able to help out are welcome! All equipment will be provided. Breakfast treats and coffee will be served. Please bring a water bottle. Long pants and closed-toe shoes are recommended. More info:

Sunday, October 14 at 4 PM. Anderson House Concert: Broadway Classics. Jacqueline Neimat, soprano, Jose Cueto, violinist, H. David Meyers, oboist, and Jose Ramost-Santana, pianist, perform songs from famous Broadway musicals. This is the second performance of the fall American Music Series. Free. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. At the Society of the Cincinnati, Anderson House, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue, NW,

Sunday, October 14 from 6:30 - 9:30 PM, “DC: District of Coyotes,” with Megan Draheim, visiting associate professor at Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability and founding director of the District Coyote Project -- presented by Profs and Pints. When you hear the word “coyote,” do you envision howls through the darkness of Western landscapes? While coyotes likely evolved in the Western part of the country, they are incredibly flexible in their behavior and ability to adapt, and now claim the entire continent as their home. Having learned to live in cities as well as rural areas, they even call Washington DC home. The first official coyote sighting in Rock Creek Park occurred in 2003. Join us for a discussion of all-things coyote: who they are, how they live, how they interact with other animals and humans, and how people tend to react to them. Dr. Draheim will talk about their pack life, what they eat, and their seasonal behavior. You’ll hear about local coyote projects, get tips on what to do if you see one, and gain a newfound appreciation of this truly adaptable and intelligent native predator. Her proceeds from the talk will go to the District Coyote Project. (Advance tickets: $12 at; $15 at the door; $2 off with student ID.) At La Pop DC, 1847 Columbia Road NW.  

Monday, October 15 at 12 PM, Book Talk: "Lost Farms and Estates of Washington, DC" by Kim Prothro Williams, author and national register coordinator, DC Historic Preservation Office. Washington, DC has a rural history of agrarian landscapes and country estates. In 1791, the area was selected as the capital of a new nation, and the change from rural to urban was both dramatic and progressive. Author Kim Prothro Williams reveals the rural remnants of Washington's past. Free; no reservations required. At The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, 701 21st Street, NW,

Monday, October 15 from 5 - 7 PM, The No-Pumpkin Zone. This time of year, Starbucks has got pumpkin lattes out the wazoo, and every time you walk into a grocery store you see the entrance practically barricaded by giant bins of pumpkins and more pumpkins. Your friendly corner bar is pushing pumpkin ale and your neighborhood deli has bagels with pumpkin spice spread. Still two weeks to go until Halloween and already you are completely pumpkined out! You need a place to get away from all the big orange gourds! This is it - a guaranteed no-pumpkins zone on this mid-October night. The only problem is we have not yet identified a retail or restaurant location that is pumpkin-free and willing to host this meeting. Keep checking this link: to see if a location has been secured.

Tuesday, October 16 at 6 PM, American Honor: The Creation of the Nation's Ideals during the Revolutionary Era. Born in the aftermath of the American Revolution, the Society of the Cincinnati was created to preserve the fraternal connections forged by the officers of the Continental and French armies on the battlefields of the new United States. Framed on the Revolution's ethical ideal of honor, the members of the Cincinnati pledged, "to promote and cherish, between the respective States, that union and national honor so essentially necessary to their happiness, and the future dignity of the American Empire." Led by Henry Knox, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington, the Cincinnati aimed to continue the pledge of sacred honor made in the Declaration of Independence. However, in a time of post-war uncertainty, the hereditary nature of the group elicited cries of aristocracy from the likes of John and Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. The debate over the true nature of the Cincinnati reflected a broader battle over the ideals of the new nation and the understanding of democracy. What exactly was in the interests of national honor? Drawn from his new book, American Honor: The Creation of the Nation's Ideals during the Revolutionary Era, Dr. Craig Bruce Smith explores how the ethics of the Revolution were incorporated into the new republic and how new understandings of honor were created in reaction to the Society of the Cincinnati. The talk will last about 45 minutes, followed by a book signing and refreshments. Free and open to the public. At the Society of the Cincinnati, Anderson House, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, 

Tuesday, October 16 at 6:30 PM, Pumpkin Carving. Come celebrate Halloween with carving or decorating a pumpkin. You can make your pumpkin scary or funny! Supplies and Pumpkins will be provided. Free. At the Chevy Chase Library, 5625 Connecticut Ave. NW, 

Tuesday, October 16 at 7:30 PM, Two Faces of Comedy at Lincoln’s Cottage. Back by popular demand, and drawing inspiration from Abraham Lincoln's legendary humor and self-deprecation, President Lincoln's Cottage and The DC Improv are again partnering to present Two Faces Comedy, the first comedy series to transform Lincoln's living room into a comedy den. The theme for the October night is mental health, based on Lincoln's own dealings with depression. Each of our performers will incorporate that theme into their sets, however they choose. Tickets: $5 per person, available at Beer and wine will be available for $5 a drink at each show. This comedy series is recommended for adult audiences. President Lincoln's Cottage is at 140 Rock Creek Church Road NW.

Wednesday, October 17 at 7 PM, Janney Days: A Brief History of Bernard T. Janney Elementary School. Anita Seline, Lena Frumin and a panel present the latest edition of Janney Days: A Brief History of Bernard T. Janney Elementary School, 1925-2000/ 2001-2018. Learn about the school’s role as a neighborhood institution. Free. At Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave. NW,   

Thursday, October 18 at 12 PM, No Spectators: Beyond the Renwick Walking Tour. From the desert to DC! Explore the six outdoor sculptures of No Spectators: Beyond the Renwick, extending the art of Burning Man from the Renwick Gallery into the streets and parks of Washington's Golden Triangle neighborhood. This program is presented in collaboration with the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID). Free. Meet at Renwick Gallery entrance at 1661 Pennsylvania Avenue. More info: Event Link: 

Thursday, October 18 at 4 PM, Day of the Dead Arts and Crafts: Sugar Skulls | Dia de los Muertos Artesanias: Calaveras de Azucar. Join us in celebrating Day of the Dead by preparing an altar. We will be doing arts and crafts to decorate an altar at the Mt. Pleasant Library in the Children's Room. This activity is open to all ages: children, teens, and adults. Altar decorating activities continue for the next two Thursdays with Skull Painting on October 25 at 4 PM and Papel Picado on November 1 at 4 PM. The Mount Pleasant Library is at 3160 16th St. NW, entrance on Lamont St.,      

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Still Life with Robin: The Vikings Have Landed!

 Draken Harald Hårfagre
by Peggy Robin

Yesterday, October 5, the Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre sailed up the Potomac and docked at the Transit Pier at the DC Wharf. It’s here for ten days, the sixteenth stop of its 2018 seventeen-city tour of the east coast of the US. It originally came from Haugesund, Norway and made a month-long crossing of the North Atlantic in 2016, including stopovers in the Shetland Islands of Scotland, the Faroes, and ports in Iceland, and Greenland before arriving in Newfoundland. See for the route– and be sure to scroll down and play the video of the ship sailing through a storm in the Labrador Sea. You’ll feel seasick just watching.

The Draken is the largest replica of a Viking ship ever built –and at the welcome ceremony yesterday, when a crew member was called upon to answer the question, “What was it like?” she answered with just three words, “Cold and wet.” The ship has an exposed deck – and no below-decks protected space, which was the exactly the case on the shipwrecks and unearthed burial ships that served as prototypes for the Draken’s design. Like those ships of old, it has oar-holes and rowing oars, but very much unlike them, it also has a motor, which was used to maneuver it into the  tight space of the Transit Pier at the Wharf upon arrival. And it’s also outfitted with modern navigation equipment and safety gear – because there’s only so much authenticity you can have without subjecting your crew to the high risk of death that went along with being a true Viking at sea. More about what’s old and what’s new on the ship at 

If conditions are good, the sail should be raised for its departure from the Wharf on Monday, October 15. 

Better than scrolling through webpages and watching videos is to see it in person. The schedule is here: - and you can buy tickets at the Wharf or get them in advance here: 

If you go, you just might want to greet Captain Björn Ahlanders and crew with a few words in Old Norse, which you can learn in just a few seconds if you go to: 

And if you are young and adventurous and don’t mind the idea of being cold and wet for months on end – join the crew! You can apply here: 

Happ! Or Gipta! (I googled “good luck” in Old Norse and came up with two different possibilities.)

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

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Exorcist Steps - Photo by Alma Mater
via Wikimedia 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 17,900+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ fastmail dot net.

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv     

Friday, October 5 at 1 PM, Viking Ship Draken Arrives at Transit Pier. Welcome the Draken ship as it sails into port with a display of Viking valor and excitement. Captain Björn Ahlander and his crew will step ashore to greet the crowd and introduce the Draken. This event is free and open to the public. The ship’s arrival marks the start of the Draken Village pop-up at Transit Pier at The Wharf, continuing until October 15. Climb aboard the world’s largest operating Viking ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre and discover your #VikingSpirit with inspiring ship tours, engaging crew demonstrations, and insta-worthy moments. Hosted in partnership with Wharf DC and with a number of free cultural events hosted by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington and the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce, Mid Atlantic Chapter. For more info on these events and to purchase tickets: go to The Draken Experience at

Friday, October 5 from 6 - 9 PM, Opening Night for “A (GOOD) AMERICAN: Artists on Immigration” New Art Exhibition at the Heurich Museum. Eight artists examine the immigrant experience in America in an era when the patriotism of American immigrants is under constant scrutiny. The artists use the interior and exterior spaces of the Heurich House Museum, historic home of 19th century German immigrant Christian Heurich, as backdrop and inspiration. The following artists will be featured: Sobia Ahmad, Antonius Bui, Irene Clouthier, Hoesy Corona, Andy Fernandez, Alden Leonard, Tsedaye Makonnen, and Carolina Mayorga. “A (GOOD) AMERICAN” draws some of its inspiration from the Heurich family’s own personal experiences of being targeted by anti-German sentiment during WWI. Heurich recalls that painful time in the autobiography he wrote towards the end of this life, saying: “Within my powers, and in so far as an old man was able, I was as good an American as were you.” The exhibition will be open on Friday with a public event from 6-9 PM featuring the artists. Free. At Christian Heurich House, 1307 New Hampshire Avenue NW. More info:

Friday, October 5 from 6 - 9 PM, The Friday Nights in the Heights concert series wraps up on October 5th!  Bring your lawn chair and dancing shoes and join us at the Cathedral Commons Giant on Newark Street at Wisconsin Ave. for a free performance from Nelly’s Echo, local food and drink, and fun for the whole family. More info: 

Saturday, October 6 from 1 - 4 PM, Chile Pepper Celebration at the National Herb Garden. Come taste all the delicious chile pepper infused food made by members of Mid-Atlantic District Units. There will be drinks, salsas, sweets and savories. Learn more about chile peppers and all the different varieties. Marvel at the beautiful chile pepper border in the National Herb Garden, which this year will also include other nightshade plants. Free admission. At the US National Arboretum, National Herb Garden, 3501 New York Avenue NE,

Saturday, October 6 from 1:30 - 6 PM,  Adams Morgan PorchFest. Join us for our annual Adams Morgan PorchFest as live music takes over the neighborhood on over a dozen different porches, patios, stoops, etc. featuring music from dozens of bands all over the neighborhood. The performances will overlap, enabling a nonstop musical stroll around the neighborhood. Each location will host three 45-minute sets between 2 pm and 6 pm. The range of bands touches nearly every musical genre, including classic rock, rap, reggae, folk, classical, a cappella, and more. For more details, pick up a map at PorchFest Headquarters in SunTrust Plaza (18th Street and Columbia Road NW) or visit and follow #AdMoPorchFest.

Sunday, October 7 at 1 PM, Beyond the Studio Workshop: Kokedama Making with Lily Cox. Join artist and founder of A Strange Flower DC, Lily Cox, for an afternoon of kokedama making! Hear about Lily's experience as a DC-based artist and receive instruction on how to create, display, and care for your very own kokedama. A kokedama is a ball of soil and moss that contains the roots of a living plant that can be fashioned to hang like an ornament or displayed to sit on its own. This event is presented in collaboration with Shop Made in DC. At the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center, 3rd floor. Tickets: $12, available online at 

Monday, October 9 from 6 - 9 PM, “The Exorcist’s Power,” with David Wilt, professorial lecturer in film studies at George Washington University - a presentation in the “Profs and Pints” series. William Peter Blatty’s best-selling 1971 novel The Exorcist, based on actual events in the Washington DC area in the late 1940s, gave rise to a film that was, and remains, extremely popular and influential. Wilt will discuss the original case that inspired Blatty, the best-selling book itself, the film The Exorcist and its many cinematic offspring, and the DC area locales that factored into the film. His talk is a can’t-miss event for horror-film buffs and folks willing to sleep with the lights on for the rest of October. Your head just might spin, and you’re double-dared to stroll out of talk and make a pilgrimage to Georgetown’s Exorcist stairs. (Advance tickets $12. At the door: $15. $2 off with student ID. Advance tickets available at: At the Bier Baron Tavern, 1523 22nd Street NW. More info:

Monday, October 8 at 7 PM, Goodbye, Columbus Day? - A Panel Discussion and Planning Session. Every year more cities and towns join the movement to re-brand Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day (see:, as they see no reason to honor the colonizer who enslaved native people, helped spread epidemics that eventually wiped out millions, and suppressed native religions and culture. Still, in many more cities, Columbus Day has been the occasion for Italian Americans to put on a parade celebrating Italy, birthplace of their ancestors as well as birthplace of Columbus. Is there a way to continue to honor Italian Americans and at the same time honor the culture and heritage of Indigenous Americans? We say yes! And we propose a NEW national holiday that will accomplish both purposes, to be called Indigenous Americans and Italian American Culture and Heritage Event, or IA-IA-CHE (pronounced Ya-Ya-Chee). We will meet on October 8 in our first planning session which we hope will be the start of a movement to turn Columbus Day into IA-IA-CHE Day for the whole nation! To find out the location of the meeting, please register here: If you can’t attend but want to help kickstart this movement, you can sign our online petition here:

Tuesday October 9 at 4 PM, Art Attack: Vincent Van Gogh. Learn all about Vincent Van Gogh and his fantastic impasto and make a painting inspired by his art. This program is for ages 6 and up. Free. At Georgetown Library, 3260 R St. NW, 

Tuesday, October 9 at 6 PM, Triple Take: A Double Take Special Edition. In this special edition of Double Take, three Smithsonian experts come together to discuss the natural history of the buffalo, its significance to native peoples, and its place in American Art. SAAM’s curator of sculpture, Karen Lemmey is joined by Paul Marinari, senior curator for species survival at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), and Emil Her Many Horses, associate curator at the National Museum of the American Indian, to discuss relevant works in SAAM’s collection. Free. At Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets, NW -  meet at G Street Lobby. More info:

Wednesday, October 10 at 5:30 PM, Fab Lab Pop-Up at NoMa: Make 3-D Halloween Horns. Halloween is coming, and 3-D printed horns make a great last-minute accessory. During this workshop, pick your own pair of horns and decorate them with glitter, paint and LEDs. Space is limited, so please register at to reserve your spot. The Fab Lab at NoMa is a weather-dependent space, and may close at short notice due to adverse conditions. We will do our best to notify class members in advance.NoMa Fab Lab Pop-Up is at 1150 First St. NE, 202-604-7820,

Thursday, October 11 at 4 PM, Day of the Dead Arts and Crafts | Dia de los Muertos Artesanias: Tissue Paper Flowers and Sugar Skulls. Join us in celebrating Day of the Dead by preparing an altar. We will be doing arts and crafts to decorate an altar at the Mt. Pleasant Library in the Children's Room. This activity is open to all ages: children, teens, and adults. There are three dates for this project: October 11 for Tissue Paper Flowers and Sugar Skulls; October 18 for Sugar Skulls; October 15 for Skull Paintings. Free. In the Children’s Room of the Mount Pleasant Library, 3160 16th St. NW. Entrance to Mt. Pleasant Library is on Lamont St. More info:

Thursday, October 11 from 6 - 11:59 PM, East Building’s 40th Anniversary. I.M. Pei’s iconic East Building opened in 1978. The National Gallery of Art is celebrating 40 years of this landmark building and modern art collection with disco music from local favorite DJ Kelton Higgins, a film inspired by the East Building, and pop-up talks featuring works of art from the 1970s. Visitors can design birthday cards, construct the museum of the future using blocks and magnetic tiles, play beloved games from the disco era, and indulge in cake pops and a variety of empanadas. Free. At the National Gallery of Art, 4th St. and Constitution Ave. NW,

Thursday, October 11 at 7 PM, Nathalie V. Black Book Discussion Series: American Autobiography: From Colonial to Contemporary Times - led by resident scholar, Philip Burnham, associate professor in the English Department at George Mason University. The series will look at how the style and themes of American narratives have evolved over the span of several centuries.  Readings include personal accounts by a Founding Father, an African American activist, a Native American medicine man and the first Hispanic member of the Supreme Court.  To register, please e-mail cplbookseries @ gmail dot com. The series is made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Cleveland Park Library. Free. At the Cleveland Park Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue NW,     

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Still Life with Robin: Sunshine and Some News with a Bit of Zen

Official Scrabble Players Dictionary 
by Peggy Robin

If you have spent much of the past week glued to the Kavanaugh hearings on TV followed by the endless post-hearing Talking HeadFest, you are probably still on political overload this weekend. I hope you have taken advantage of the glorious weather – the first beautiful weekend after an August and September of unrelenting, unprecedented rains – to get away from the TV and Twitterverse and enjoy the kinder face of nature. 

While you were hooked on the hearings, you may have missed some of the smaller, sillier or gentler stories in the news – stories that have no lasting impact on the future of our society but stories that were worth your time nevertheless. 

Here are three pieces of not-so-newsworthy news from the week that was:

Dog Warms Up Baby Koala:

Maryland Zoo Creates Lego Wheelchair to Heal Injured Turtle

And the best news for word game lovers to come along in four long years:

300 New Words Added to the Scrabble Dictionary:

The legally playable words now include:

* “OK” and “EW” – expanding the list of two-letter words that serve as the basic building blocks of any Scrabble game
* QAPIK, adding one more “Q without a U” word to those that keep you alive when you draw the Q but all the U’s have been played. (See for the others)
* BIZJET, a small airplane used for business, worth 24 points without hitting any bonus squares. And if played in the plural, BIZJETS, with the Z hitting the double letter score and the 8-letter word hitting both triples, the value of the play would be 374!
* ZOMBOID, resembling a zombie – letters worth 21 points, and any play putting down these 7 letters at once would bring in a 50 point bonus, for a minimum score of 71 points.
* And finally, your moment of ZEN. Yes, that’s right….ZEN, which up until now has been considered a proper noun because it’s the name of a religious movement within Buddhism. Now it’s recognized in its everyday, generic sense of a state of mind achieved through meditation, bringing tranquility and a sense of understanding.

Now that’s news you can use (well, at least you can if you are a Scrabble player)!

Enjoy the last day of September!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on weekends (usually on Saturday but occasionally on Sunday).

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Get Out! The Events Column for September 28 - October 4, 2018

Art All Night - Tenleytown Main Street
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 17,900+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ fastmail dot net.

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv 

Friday, September 28 at 6:30 PM, UNCENSORED 2018: The Cocktail Party. The cocktail party is the premier event of the DC Public Library Foundation's annual Banned Books Week celebrating the freedom to read, create and express. The evening will feature: banned book-themed cocktails created by DC's best local bartenders; live performances by talented local artists and bands; maker crafts led by DC Public Library librarians; pop-up market with local retailers; and so much more. Tickets: $60 individual, up to $300 host - available here: This event is +21. If you require special accommodations, please email info @ dcplfoundation dot org or call (202) 869-4099 in advance. At Blind Whino, 700 Delaware Avenue SW.

Friday, Sept 28 at 7 PM, Freedom First: Contrabands, Camp Barker and Logan Circle. The program will guide visitors from Logan Circle—detailing the African American contraband camp at Camp Barker—to the African American Civil War Memorial, located 1/2 mile northwest on New Hampshire Ave. The topics will include enslaved African Americans seeking refuge in the nation’s capital, Federal response to the estimated 40,000 people that came into the city (which included creating contraband farms/camps in northern Virginia, recruiting black laborers and soldiers). Meet Ranger Steve T. Phan at the intersection of 13th St. and Rhode Island NW at General John A. Logan equestrian monument. The program will end at the African American Civil War Memorial, 1925 Vermont Ave NW. Free. Questions? Email tuan_phan @ nps dot gov or visit: 

Saturday, September 29 from 8 AM - 5 PM, The 11th Annual Tenant and Tenant Association Summit. All tenants in the District of Columbia have the right to decent, safe, and affordable housing. Learn how the District’s new eviction rules will protect families. Who should attend: renters in DC; real estate agents; children’s health advocates; disability rights groups; landlords with rental property in Dc; emergency housing agencies; senior service agencies. Free. Lunch provided. At  the Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Avenue NE. Free shuttle service from NoMa-Gallaudet Metro. Register at For more info visit:   

Saturday, September 29 at 2 PM, Getting Published: A Discussion on "Self-Publishing, Traditional Publishing, & Literary Agents." Calling all local authors, aspiring writers, and other members of the DC literary community! Join Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts for a meet-up, networking and workshop session about various aspects of publishing. Topics that will be addressed include: Finding and Obtaining a Literary Agent; Do You Even Need a Literary Agent?; Self-Publishing - Benefits, Risks, and How to Do it Right; Copyright and Trademark Law for Authors; When Do You Need to Get a Lawyer?; Royalties and Revenue Streams for Authors;
Publishing Contracts and Negotiations; Who Owns the Rights to Your Book?; Intellectual Property Issues Faced by Authors and Publishers in the Digital Age. Free. At Georgetown Neighborhood Library, 3260 R St. NW,

Saturday, September 29 at 7:30 PM, “Silence the Violence” Benefit Concert, featuring musical performances by: The Augmented Eight men's acapella group; Children's Chorus of Washington; Members of the Capitol Hill Chorale; The Boy & Girl Choristers of the Washington; National Cathedral Choir; National United Methodist's Men's Ensemble. This concert is part of "The Concert Across America" to end gun violence and proceeds will benefit the TraRon Center ( The TraRon Center was created to help those affected by gun violence heal through the arts and activism. General admission $20, children 12 and under are free - tickets at or at the door. At National United Methodist Church, 3401 Nebraska Ave. NW. Ample parking in church lot and across Nebraska Ave. in underground lot of American University. More info:   

Saturday, September 29 from 7 PM - 12 Midnight, Art All Night - Tenleytown. Join Tenleytown Main Street for a celebration of the visual and performing arts. Enjoy paintings, sculpture, photography, music, dance, poetry, and more from over 100 artists and performers at 14 venues. And explore your own artistic talents with interactive crafts, photography, dance classes, and even body art! Art All Night has something for every art lover at every age – and all for FREE. The festival kicks off at 7 at the Tenleytown Metro plaza with a special performance of music and dance as we celebrate the power of the arts to transform and transport you. Performances by CityDance POP!, Alma Boliviana, Sahara Dance, and the Chinese lions from Wong People. Then follow our performers as they herald the start of the arts festival, passing Tenleytown’s art and performance venues. The procession ends back at the Metro plaza, but your art journey just begins! Find the full schedule of events and exhibits at - and don’t forget to stop by the Welcome Center (Wisconsin Ave & Brandywine St) on Saturday to pick up a printed Guidebook to Art All Night in Tenleytown featuring a map, full schedule of events and exhibits, and special offers from local businesses.

Saturday, September 29 from 7 PM - 12 midnight, Art All Night - Dupont. There are 18 Dupont Circle galleries, retailers, embassies, and a historic house that will be open from 7 PM until midnight, showcasing paintings, photography, sculpture, dance, music, and retail pop-ups. New this year, there will be an art market at the corner of 15th and P Street, NW – Art Rave – hosting 30 painters, jewelers, and other makers. Details at and   

Saturday, September 29 from 7 PM - 3 AM, Art All Night - DC. Learn about each of the eight Art All Night events taking place in these neighborhoods across DC: Congress Heights; Deanwood Heights, Dupont Circle; H Street; Minnesota Avenue; North Capitol; Shaw; Tenleytown. Find links to each neighborhood’s Art All Night event here:

Sunday, September 30 from 11 AM - 7 PM, FiestaDC celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. At the Fiesta DC street festival you can check out food, festivities, and entertainment while learning more about resources about and for the Latino community. The festival takes place along Pennsylvania Ave. NW, between 3rd and 7th Streets. Free admission. More info: 

Monday, October 1 at 12 noon, Book Talk: Recent Publications on Frederick Douglass, by John Muller and Paul Kendrick, authors. With nationwide recognition of the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial occurring across the country and around the globe, join GW graduates and authors Paul Kendrick and John Muller as they discuss their respective books covering the relationship between Frederick Douglass and President Lincoln, and the life and times of Douglass in “Washington City.” Their discussion will be moderated by GW Professor Randi Kristensen. Free; no reservations required. At The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, 701 21st Street, NW, 

Monday, October 1 at 7 PM, The Great American Read Guessing Game. This fun interactive event is based on the PBS Great American Read contest going on until October 18. Readers are asked to vote for their favorite among the 100 books featured on The Great American Read site. Before you look at the list of 100 books and vote for the greatest in your estimation, you can come to this event where we will play a guessing game to find out, without peeking, what worthy works of literature made the cut. Here’s how the game is played: The moderator will call out the name of a book and the audience will applaud if they think it’s on the list or stomp their feet if they think it’s a fake entry. Here’s a preview of some of the contenders: Twilight Saga; 50 Shades of Grey; Gone Girl, The Da Vinci Code, The Hunt for Red October. OK, you are laughing now, because you are sure that none of the above would be named to anyone’s 100 Great Books List. Well, if that’s what you think, you are ready to play! The game will be played on the Honor System, so we will take your word you have not checked over the list ahead of time. There’s only one problem with this game, and that is, it’s the weekly fake event

Tuesday, October 2 at 4 PM, Back to School Open House. Celebrate Back to School at the library! We'll have snacks, a back to school craft, giveaways, and plenty of information on programs and resources like the Educator Card. Whether you're an educator, a parent, or a student, please stop by for information on how Northwest One Library can help you excel this school year. All ages. Free. At Northwest One Library, 155 L Street NW. More info:

Wednesday, October 3 at 7 PM, Friends of The Library Author Talk: Daniel Stone. Join author Daniel Stone for his author talk on The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of The Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats. In the nineteenth century, American meals were about subsistence, not enjoyment. But as a new century approached, appetites broadened, and David Fairchild, a young botanist with an insatiable lust to explore and experience the world, set out in search of foods that would enrich the American farmer and enchant the American eater. Fairchild's finds weren't just limited to food -- from Egypt he sent back a variety of cotton that revolutionized an industry, and via Japan he introduced the cherry blossom tree, forever brightening America's capital. Free. At the Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave. NW,

Thursday, October 4 at 12 noon, Chamber Music at Noon. The DC Public Library, in partnership with the Goethe-Institut of Washington, presents a chamber music series (formerly titled the Brown Bag Chamber Recital), free and open to the public. Performers include internationally known, local musicians Ralitza Patcheva and Vasily Popov, as well as special-guest performers. At the Goethe Institut of Washington, 1990 K St. NW (entrance is located on 20th St. between Eye and K Streets). More info:

Thursday, October 4 from 6 - 9 PM.The Smithsonian Craft2Wear Opening Night Party. The Smithsonian Craft2Wear Show is a pop-up couture show and sale of fabulous jewelry and fashion by over 60 designers. At the Opening Night party at the National Building Museum you will be among the first to shop limited-edition, hand-crafted jewelry, clothing, and accessories by over 60 designers. Sample cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and sweets. Tickets are $50, advance purchase only -  (Includes ticket to return to the show on either Friday or Saturday). Proceeds support education, outreach and research at the Smithsonian Institution. The National Building Museum is at 401 F St NW.     

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Still Life with Robin: Equal Time for Daylight

by Peggy Robin

Happy Autumnal Equinox! 

On this day we’ll get as close it’s possible to get to an equal division of daylight/darkness. If, like me, you get a little kick from tossing out bits of scientific trivia about the equinox, not caring whether you come across as a giant geo-nerd, here’s a good place to pick up some nuggets: 

If you’d like to be a bit more entertaining and pop-science-y with your equinox trivia, then go to for a listicle with “8 Things to Know about the First Day of Autumn”:

If you were hoping that the official arrival of autumn in Washington, DC would break the long dreary spell of stormy/rainy/cloudy days – and omnipresent mugginess – even on those few days giving us glimpses of sun! – I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed this weekend: 

Keep that dehumidifier running! Sooner or later, some crisp, clear fall weather days must come along.

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

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Get Out! The Events Column, Sept 21 - 27, 2018

ZooFiesta - Sunday, Sept 23 at the 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 17,900+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ fastmail dot net.

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv   

Friday, September 21 from 11 AM - 2 PM, DC Jazz, Dignity, and Human Rights. Join the Library Associates of the Georgetown University Library for a special program entitled DC Jazz, Dignity and Human Rights. In partnership with the Department of Performing Arts, the program will feature remarks from Maurice Jackson, Associate Professor, Department of History, and will include a special performance from vocalist, Imani, and musicians Jon Ozment, Pepe Gonzalez, and Sam Turner. Light refreshments will be provided. At 11 AM, Lecture and Program, Booth Family Center for Special Collections, 5th Floor, Lauinger Library. At 1:15 PM, Concert with Imani, Jon Ozment, Pepe Gonzalez, and Sam Turner, McNeir Auditorium. Free. Register at Georgetown University Library, 3700 O Street NW.

Saturday, September 22, (hours vary), Museum Day. Across America on Museum Day there are over 1250 participating museums opening their doors for free. In DC that includes, The National Building Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Newseum, The Phillips Collection, The Kreeger Museum and several more. More info at these websites:

Saturday, September 22 from 10 AM - 12 noon, Springland Farm Walking Tour. America’s most important vineyard was located on the Springland Farm (circa 1814) and the Father of American Viticulture was the farm’s owner, John Adlum. A grape developed on the farm became the first American grape to compete with European varieties. The Father of American Winemaking, Nicholas Longworth, was a mentee of John Adlum. This tour will explore the Springland Farm, highlighted by two historic-designated properties, the Adlum manor house and springhouse. It will explore the major institutions that were founded on the farm, the National Bureau of Standards, International Chancery Center and University of the District of Columbia. NBS had a distinguished history of inventions, including leadership roles in developing technologies during World War II. Sixteen embassies now call the ICC home and there are stories to tell about them. UDC has a distinguished history going back to its founding by Myrtilla Miner, an amazing woman. We’ll talk about the enslaved individuals who worked the Adlum farm (we have lots of information about them as the Adlums sought compensation when they were emancipated in 1863); the cholera epidemic that nearly wiped out the Adlum family; street namesakes Marcia Van Ness, Jesse Reno, Emory Upton, Samuel Tilden, and Melvin Hazen; and the evolution of the Adlums into real estate developers – and disciples of Frederick Law Olmsted – whose homes now are part of the Springland Farm Community. This tour is all about stories. Not just places on a map and buildings. Free. More info: Tour starts at Dennard Plaza, UDC, 4200 Connecticut Avenue.

Saturday,September 22 from 10 AM - 3 PM, Homecoming Day at Lincoln’s Cottage. During the Civil War the Lincoln family called the Cottage home. This year we welcome everyone back "home" to join us for a full day of activities where you can run, walk, and play like Lincoln. Free activities: Explore a Civil War Encampment: View the 150th Pennsylvania Volunteers, better known as the Bucktails, who served as Lincoln's personal guards. Pony Rides: It's no secret Tad Lincoln loved keeping pets on the ground. Don't let this chance slip by to ride a pony on Lincoln's front lawn. Arts and Crafts: Make cards for veterans and those in need, craft your family tree, and create your own top hat! Picnic on the Grounds: Enjoy delicious food from our on-site vendors Old Smokey Bar-B-Que (selling pulled pork, smoked chicken, mac 'n' cheese, hot dogs and more) or pack your own picnic and enjoy lunch at the picnic tables or on the ample South Lawn. Story hour, music, and more! Tour the Cottage: Take a guided tour of the Lincoln family's seasonal retreat. Regular ticket prices apply; visit our tickets page to purchase in advance. First tour begins at 10 AM; last tour at 3 PM. More info on free events and link to purchase tickets for the Cottage tour at President Lincoln’s Cottage is at 140 Rock Creek Church Road NW

Saturday, September 22 from 10 AM - 4 PM,  Historic Preservation Community Day. Morning lectures include architectural history of DC, history of the preservation movement, city regulations for historic districts and historic landmarks with information on the homeowner grant program. Afternoon technical discussions include how to research your house history and historic window rehabilitation, maintenance and replacement. Afternoon preservation stations will feature vendor consultations and local and neighborhood preservation organizations. Sample stations include: restoring historic windows, repointing, roof repair, and more! ASL and Spanish language interpretation provided. Free and open to the public. At All Souls Church, 1500 Harvard Street, NW. Registration is not required, but encouraged to assist us with planning for the day - go to:

Saturday, September 22 at 1 PM, A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston. Peabody Room presents author Kim Roberts who will discuss the rich literary history of Washington, DC, a longtime home to many of our nation’s most acclaimed writers.Free. At Georgetown Library, 3260 R St. NW, 202-727-0232,

Saturday September 22 from 5 -7:30 PM, Turtle Park Jazz Project. Final 2018 free concert at the park presented by the Friends of Friendship "Turtle" Park. 5 PM: Magician Drew Owen (for the kids!) 5:30 PM: The Bruno Nasta Quartet (for all!);  Variety of food and ice cream trucks on hand! Bring a blanket and a picnic and enjoy the last official night of summer at the park! Free. Friendship “Turtle” Park is at Van Ness and 45th Street.

Sunday September 23 from 11 AM - 3 PM, ZooFiesta - Un día de diversión animal para toda la familia. There will be a variety of fun-filled family activities, including live music and educational activities about conservation in Central and South America. Animal keepers will host talks, feedings and demonstrations highlighting a variety of animals native to the region, including Andean bears, sloths, golden lion tamarins, Panamanian golden frogs and more. Visitors have an opportunity to meet Zoo scientists who are working to save native species and learn about their research. For animal demonstration schedule, music line-up, and other details of the day, go to Free. The National Zoo is at 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW.

Sunday, September 23 from 11 AM - 4 PM, Taste of Georgetown. Washington, DC’s most anticipated epicurean festival will be celebrating its 25th year with creative tastes from more than 30 of the neighborhood’s best restaurants. This year, guests will be able to enjoy beer and wine as they stroll from booth to booth. This foodie event takes place in the heart of Georgetown, on K Street NW, between Wisconsin Ave and Thomas Jefferson St and along the scenic Georgetown Waterfront. This longstanding event in Georgetown benefits the Georgetown Ministry Center’s mission to support the homeless. The is a dog-friendly, family-friendly event with a Kids' Corner tent with coloring and face painting, too! Discounted tickets can be bought online at by 12 noon on Thurs, Sept. 20. Ticket packets will also be sold onsite at the Ticket Sales tents. Free admission.

Sunday, September 23 from 1 - 4 PM, Tenleytown Block Party. Citizen Heights Church invites you to the annual fun, family-friendly and completely free Tenleytown Block Party! Featuring: Free Grilled Burgers/Hot Dogs/Drinks & More; Free Ice Cream by Local Area Favorite Food Truck; Cotton Candy, Shaved Ice & Popcorn; Children’s Ferris Wheel and Bounce House; 24 ft Rock Climbing Wall; New Rides to include: Reckless & Super Sonic; Face Painting, Balloon Artists & Temporary Tattoos; The Fan Zone- Featuring Lounge Area with Live Viewing of NFL Games; Shaded Seating Areas;  Rides & Amusements for All Ages; Live DJ/Music; PLUS … lend a hand in helping put together 150 care packages that will be distributed by Martha's Table to our neighbors in need; And Much More! At Citizen Heights Church, 4100 River Road NW, (Rain Date: Sunday, September 30, 1 - 4 PM)

Sunday, September 23 from 11 AM - 8 PM, DC State Fair. The DC State Fair is a free showcase of the District’s agricultural and creative talents and a daylong celebration of all things homegrown. While the DC State Fair is inspired by time-honored state fair traditions—growing and gardening, animal husbandry, and deep-fried foods—it also honors the things that make the District of Columbia unique. This means the DC State Fair holds competitions to find the tastiest mumbo sauce, best honey, and the yummiest baked goods -- not just pies but also biscuits, doughnuts, cookies, and breads, including a gluten-free category! We’ll have a Pet Parade instead of a pig race and we’ll be looking for the most creative hula hoopers. We’re working with local businesses and organizations that are committed to helping our community thrive. Free admission. At Waterfront Station, 375 and 425 M St. SW. Check for updates on the event; schedule is here:

Sunday, September 23 from 8:30 - 9:30 PM, DC State Fair Pie Judging Court of Appeals. Immediately following the conclusion of the DC State Fair, all bakers of pies except the winner of the pie judging contest are invited, in true Washington fashion, to file an appeal in the Pie Judging Court of Appeals. Appeals forms may be picked up on site or downloaded and printed ahead of time, at this link: Please be sure to bring 5 more copies of your pie to be tasted by the full court en banc. Same location as the DC State Fair (above).

Monday, September 24 at 12 noon, Book Talk: "DC Jazz: Stories of Jazz Music in Washington, DC." Noted historians Maurice Jackson and Blair Ruble, editors of D.C. Jazz: Stories of Jazz Music in Washington, DC, present a collection of original and fascinating stories about the DC jazz scene throughout its history. They will examine the cultural hotbed of 7th and U Streets, the role of jazz in desegregating the city, the great Edward "Duke" Ellington's time in D.C., notable women in the city’s jazz scene, and the seminal contributions of the University of District of Columbia and Howard University. Free; no reservations required. At the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, 701 21st Street, NW,

Tuesday, September 25 at 4:30 PM, Hispanic Heritage Month Crafternoon: Make a Piñata. In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, make a Piñata at the Mt. Pleasant Library. We will break one full of surprises together! Recommended for ages 5 and up. En celebración por el Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana, ven a hacer una Piñata en la biblioteca Mt. Pleasant y juntos quebraremos una que estará llena de sorpresas.  Recomendado para las edades de 5 años en adelante. Free. At Mt. Pleasant Library, 3160 16th St. NW, entrance on Lamont St. More info:

Tuesday, September 25 at 7:15 PM, Falling Apart Syndrome Part II: Lower Extremities -- Dealing with Knee, Ankle, and Foot Pain. In this workshop, you’ll learn ways to alleviate pain or discomfort in the lower extremities: knees, ankles and feet. The workshop will be led by Dr. Anthony Noya, chiropractor and owner of Noya Chiropractic, located in Tenleytown, Free. Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave. NW,

Wednesday, September 26 at 6:30 PM, DC Punk Archive Rooftop Show. Join us for a night of local music overlooking Langdon Park and learn more about the DC Punk Archive collection. Featured bands: Glue Factory; Honey; Peace and Body Roll Duo BOOMscat. Capacity on the outdoor terrace is limited to 70 people and is first come, first served. The show will move inside in case of inclement weather. Free. On the roof of the Woodridge Library, 1801 Hamlin Street NE,

Thursday September 27 at 6 PM, Information Session for First-Time Home Buyers. Tired of renting? Are you ready to buy your own home? We can help. At this session, sponsored by nonprofit housing counseling program University Legal Services, find out: How to qualify to buy a house; About the HPAP program for first-time home buyers; How to attend future information seminars; Answers to any questions you have about the home-buying process; University Legal Services is funded by the District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development. The session will be presented in English and in Spanish. Free. At Mt. Pleasant Library, 3160 16th St. NW, entrance on Lamont St.,     

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Still Life with Robin: Come Inside and Dry Off, Hurricane Reporters

by Peggy Robin

Have you been following coverage of Hurricane Florence? That means you’ve seen the reporter in a hooded rainjacket, hood drawn tight, standing at the side of a flooded road, or in front of a house with waters lapping up almost to the top porch step, or alone on what’s left of the beach as the waves are crashing over the top of the pier. And all around, the rain is hammering down, the wind is bending the trees, it’s making the dangling traffic lights dance on their wires, and at times you may see the reporter having trouble remaining upright. Even so, the reporter keeps talking -- really yelling -- over the roar of the wind, to convey in words what we can plainly see happening all around: It’s a big hurricane and it’s doing a lot of damage, for sure. And then the person back at the studio sitting behind the anchor desk closes out the segment by putting on a brow-puckered look of concern and saying earnestly to the reporter, “Stay safe out there!”

Then you flip the channel and see the same scene , the same dialog between the reporter and the anchor at the desk played out again, virtually word for word. And then on the next hour, if you go back to any of the cable news stations, there it is again. And again.

Why do they keep doing this? They can get all the camera shots they want of flooded roads, storm surge crashing over piers, downed trees, while the reporter narrates from inside a building well removed from the threat. Why must they always have the reporter right there in the thick of it, barely standing, miserable and soaked-through, lashed by winds and rain? What does that do for us, except show us that reporters can be almost as foolish as those folks who haven’t evacuated when told it's too risky to stay? Is it to make us appreciate the personal commitment to reporting from the scene? But when it comes to risking life and limb in a hurricane, it’s NOT personal – at least, as far as the hurricane is concerned. It isn’t out to get anyone specifically. That looming tree branch bending over with the gale-force winds that could crack and crash down anytime doesn’t care whether it hits a reporter or an empty car. Why do they think we want to see the reporter standing underneath?

And yet every single news outlet without exception is doing it this way. And not just in this hurricane, but in every hurricane since the invention of the mobile TV news camera. Maybe even since the day of newsreels. It’s so standard, I’m sure they could recycle past hurricane footage from one era to the next, and if you didn't notice the changing models of the flooded cars in the shot, you couldn’t tell the difference. 

It’s well past time for a change. And we have the technology to do it – the virtual reporter! Imagine all the amazing and dramatically risky the things a holographic reporter could do that a flesh-and-blood reporter could never attempt: reporting from a rooftop, or from the very end of that flooded pier, or from atop a surfboard inside a monster wave. This looks like a job for Siri – or Alexa – or some bold, new virtual being that Silicon Valley has yet to send forth. But whatever you do, allow that poor, drenched, human reporter to come in out of the storm!

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Get Out! - The Events Column, September 13 - 20, 2018

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 17,900+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ fastmail dot net.

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv       

WEATHER NOTE: There have already been a number of cancellations of festivals and outdoor events due to Hurricane Florence or predicted heavy rains this weekend. Please check websites, Facebook pages, or call the listed number to be sure the event you want to attend is still on.

Thursday, September 13 at 7 PM, Tenleytown History: Fort Reno. Did you know that Ft. Reno Park was once a thriving mixed-race neighborhood? Neil Flanagan presents new research on the story of this neighborhood that reveals the people and politics that shaped Reno and Tenleytown. Neil Flanagan is the author of “The Battle of Fort Reno," published in The Washington City Paper, 11/2/17. Free. At Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave. NW,     

Friday September 14 at 11 AM, Stories with Sarah. Join Author/Illustrator Sarah Williamson as she reads her latest colorful story, Let’s Go!, about a taxi-driving elephant and everyone and everything he picks up along the way. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Mt. Pleasant Library 3160 16th St. NW,   

Saturday, September 15, various times, WalkingTown Tours DC. Sign up for one of many walking tours of  neighborhoods and landmarks in and around or near Cleveland Park, including the following: Tenleytown: In Search of the Village Life; Tregaron Conservancy: From Private Estate to Public Woodland Garden; Springland Farm: America's Most Important Vineyard; Discover Peirce Mill ; and Historic Chevy Chase DC. For the complete list of walking tours, go to: To register (free), go to:   

Saturday September 15, Postponed: H Street Festival. Due to the danger posed by Hurricane Florence to our area this weekend and the Declaration of a State of Emergency by Mayor Bower, this year's H Street Festival will be postponed until October 13. Join us on that day for the same food, music and fun that you've always gotten from DC's favorite community festival! #HStFest #HStNE

Saturday, September 15 from 11 AM - 5 PM, Glover Park Day, now in its 29th year, will feature the best of Glover Park: good friends, great food from local restaurants, live music, crafters, community organizations, local businesses, kids’ activities and much more. A few of the activities we have planned include: Dog Obstacle Course presented by DogChild; Dog and Cat Adoption by Washington Animal Rescue League; Craft Fair; Local Business Exposition; Community Organizations; Food Court; Moon bounce; Prize drawings throughout the day with total prizes worth over $2500! Ward 3 Council Member Mary Cheh will there for a “Chat with Cheh” from 11:30 AM - 1 PM, to talk about neighborhood issues -- feel free to stop by and say hi. Free. At Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street NW. More info:   

Saturday, September 15 from 12 - 4 PM, Korean Culture Day at Sandy Spring Museum. The day features a Korean traditional dance and drumming performance by the Peace Mission Korean Dance Group, and short workshops on Korean drumming and dance that anyone can participate in. An exhibit of traditional Korean embroidery and quilting will be on display, along with hands-on sewing activities with the artist. All ages are welcome to participate. Korean food will be available for purchase. Free. Sandy Spring Museum is at 17901 Bentley Rd. in Sandy Spring, MD. More info:   

Saturday and Sunday, September 15 and 16 - Fiesta DC has been postponed to September 29 & 30 due to Hurricane Florence. Pennsylvania Ave. NW, between 3rd & 7th Streets NW. Check back with for more information.

Sunday, September 16 from 10 AM - 3 PM, Drive Electric Day, sponsored by the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association. Come down to 100 7th Street on the Mall near the National Gallery, to see and drive Electric Vehicles (EV), to learn from the owners of several types of EVs why they love their cars, and to take a test drive. You will also find out what models are available, where you can charge EVs, and what incentives are available to EV buyers in DC, MD and VA. Free. At 7th St NW on the Mall near National Gallery of Art. More info: 

Monday, September 17 at 12 noon, Lecture: Cleveland Park Activism Yesterday and Today. American University professor Malgorzata J. Rymsza-Pawlowska will explore Cleveland Park's history of community activism against development, making connections between past and contemporary efforts. Topics will include the neighborhood's activism against a proposed freeway through Northwest; efforts against the development of Tregaron, Rosedale and McLean estates; and ongoing discussions about preservation and downzoning on Connecticut Avenue. Free; no reservations required. At The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, 701 21st Street, NW,   

Tuesday, September 18 at 2 PM, Shakespeare for the Young: Midsummer Magic. Enjoy a puppetry version of the fairy story from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare for the Young brings stories and poetry to young audiences through the medium of puppets. The event is appropriate for ages 2-8 and their adults. The program is free and open to the public, thanks to a grant from the D.C. Commission of the Arts and Humanities.  At Mount Pleasant Library, 3160 16th St. NW - Entrance is on Lamont St. More info: 

Wednesday, September 19, all day, Talk Like a Pirate Day. Ahoy, me hearties! Today be yer day to put on yer eyepatch, cozen a parrot to perch on yer shoulder (good luck w’ that!) and stump about on yer peg-leg, growling, “Arrrrgh” from daybreak to midnight. Why? Because two land-lubbers by the names o’ John Baur ‘n’ Mark Summers, back in 2002, invented Talk Like a Pirate Day, and it’s been celebrated on the 19th of September ever since. No, it’s not the weekly fake event ( one’s real as any wacky, invented holiday can possibly be. Go to to l’arn yerself up on it! (And we won’t be havin’ a fake event this week - pirates have stolen it!

Wednesday September 19 at 6:30 PM, An Evening with Dr. Neal Barnard, author of Program for Reversing Diabetes. Join author Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, as he speaks about the benefits of a plant-based diet for preventing and reversing diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has become a major epidemic in recent years, often leading to serious complications and major costs. Although medications remain a mainstay of treatment, nutritional interventions have shown surprising power in both the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. Learn how a plant-based diet can help you lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels. Copies of his titles will be available for purchase at the event. Free and open to the public - all ages welcome. At the Cleveland Park Library, 3310 Connecticut Ave. NW,   

Thursday, September 20 from 5:30 - 8:00 PM, Dumbarton at Dusk: Dolley Madison Edition. Rub elbows with the first First Lady at one of her famous cocktail parties! Dolley Madison’s “Squeezes” were popular weekly events open to everyone in Washington, DC. Dolley herself will host this modern version complete with live music courtesy of Toccata Players, free food, period card games and a cash bar. At Dumbarton House, 2715 Q St NW. Register at - suggested minimum donation, $5.

Thursday, September 20 at 6 PM, Screening of the documentary, “Afro Latinos: Washington DC Experience.” In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month: The Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library presents Washington, DC: The Afro Latino Experience, a short narrative documentary about the unique and influential Afro Latinos who made significant contributions to the nation's capital. Afro Latinos have been present in Washington, DC for decades. Their contributions and assimilation to DC culture goes back generations and encompasses politics, business, advocacy and academia. Please join us in celebrating these pivotal members of the Mt. Pleasant community. Free. At the Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library, 3160 16th St. NW (entrance to Mt. Pleasant Library is on Lamont St.),       

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Still Life with Robin: How Not to Be Overly Alarmed

by Peggy Robin

Yesterday, while driving home in that torrential downpour, I came to the intersection of Reno and Porter, which was just then turning into a small but turbulent lake. Fortunately, I’m familiar enough with the pooling of water in the “dip” at that location, that I knew how to take evasive action. There’s a center turning lane, which was clear of other cars – and so I was able to move over to dry pavement, keeping the undercarriage of my car from being submerged. At just the time I was effecting this maneuver, my phone started to shriek. It made this noise: Very distracting to hear while driving under difficult circumstances. But I knew better than to try to silence it while at the wheel.

A few minutes later, when I was safely parked in my driveway, I took the phone out and saw that it had received an emergency flash flood warning. Well, it’s not as if I needed a noise to tell me that!

Later that evening, after dinner, the rain started pounding again, pouring down by the bucket-load. I had been doing the dishes, the faucet was going, the plates and silverware clattering, but suddenly, there it was – that loud, horrid, mechanical screeching noise again. I thought this time it must be coming from  the flood detector in the basement, which is part of our house alarm system. I ran downstairs, expecting to see water flooding in from outside. But by the time I hit the last step to the basement, I realized the noise was fading. Good, that meant it wasn't coming from the basement....which was perfectly dry. 

By the time I came back up the stairs the screeching mercifully had stopped. But I realized where it must have come from. I had left the TV on in the other room, and it had been taken over by the emergency alert system – warning again of flash floods in the region. OK, I can see the need for an interruption of regular programming for a warning of severe weather. But why the most irritating, ear-splitting sound possible? Why not have a calm, authoritative recorded voice giving you useful advice in words: “Flash flooding. Avoid driving through water” -- or something practical like that. Why make everyone’s phone and TV and radio blare at top volume at the same time, regardless of where they are or what they’re doing. What if they were at home and asleep, safe and sound?

Perhaps it serves me right for having so many electrical devices that I leave on too often. I could unplug a bit, and get back some portion of peace – and control. Or I could take an even more technological approach, and try to outwit the many devices I own. Yes, that’s the ticket. There’s a way to silence the phone, and not let it decide when to scream warnings at its owner. For iPhone users, it’s here: Very simple to do: Go into Settings, then Notifications, then scroll all the way down to the bottom to “Government Alerts” and turn off both AMBER Alerts and EMERGENCY Alerts.”

Now the next time I’m driving around an area of flash flooding, I will no longer have to worry about being alarmed by the alarm.

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