Saturday, February 6, 2016

Still Life With Robin: Can It Be Super Sunday Without Football?

Photo by Matthew Roth, via Wikimedia Creative Commons
By Peggy Robin

I am one of small, and possibly despised minority of people who never watch football, and for people like me, Sunday’s Superbowl is both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to avoid sounding like a visitor from another planet when other people are excitedly discussing this all-but-obligatory annual rite. The opportunity is to find something to do on Sunday evening when everybody else in America is glued to the TV.

The challenge, I have discovered, can be remedied fairly quickly by memorizing a few boring but essential things to know, found on a website appropriately titled, “Super Bowl 50: Everything you need to know about the NFL's biggest game” ( Relying on this site, I have memorized the names of the two teams, and where they’re from, and who their quarterbacks are. (I have not, however, bothered to learn what a quarterback does; that's a bit beyond grasp.) One of the things I have found of interest is that while this is the fiftieth one of these things, it’s the first one to ditch the use of Roman numerals. ( Now that’s a bit of football trivia I can get worked up about! I learned my Roman numerals back in fourth grade, and I’m still pretty good at reading them. Here’s the one football-related skill I possess, and that's the one thing they take away!

On to my next point – the opportunity to do something else on Sunday at 6:30 pm that might be difficult otherwise. My best suggestion is to take the opportunity to go out to one of those hot new restaurants where you might ordinarily need to make a reservation a week in advance, or wait in a long line. I’ve heard Convivial ( is trendy right now – and you can still get a reservation on Sunday. Bad Saint ( is another one that’s getting a ton of buzz – and they don’t take reservations, so you can expect to wait in line. I bet that wait will be a lot shorter on Superbowl Sunday than on all the other Sundays in the near future.

Another thing to consider is making Sunday night into a movie night. Here’s your chance to see something new, something that usually is packing ’em in, but you won’t need to pay extra to get your tickets online, or worry that the show will be sold out or that you’ll end up with a bad seat; you can just go and know the Sunday evening show won’t be crowded. Might be the best time to see “Hail Caesar.” (

My final suggestion: Go ahead and watch the game, even if you don’t like football. Think that doesn’t make sense? It does, if you watch everything about the Super Bowl EXCEPT the actual game. Here’s how to work it: Start taping it at 6:30, and somewhere around 8:30 or 9 pm, start running the tape. Skip over all the play and watch each commercial. Super Bowl commercials are always more creative than normal commercials, and they’re often hilarious. Skip from commercial to commercial, until you come to the half-time show. It’s Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Cold Play – not bad! Go on to the next commercial. By the time you’ve gone through all the commercials in the second half, you should just be coming up on the last few minutes of the game.  Watch the very end and see who wins, in real time.

With any of the above strategies you should enjoy your evening, and when you arrive at work on Monday will still be able to take part in conversation with your co-workers in an acceptably collegial way.


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

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Get Out! - The Events Colulmn

Pancake Race, photo by Pedro Figuereido - Flickr via Wikimedia 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 15,700+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Thursday, February 4 from 5:30 - 8:30 PM, “Capital Houses: Historical Houses of Washington, DC and Environs, 1735 - 1965” - book talk with local architectural historian James Goode, highlighting some of the most distinguished houses in the Washington, DC area. Tickets: $5 - $20; free for Hillwood members - go to for more info and tickets. At the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Avenue, NW.

Thursday, February 4 from 5:30 - 8:30 PM, “National Symbol, City of Neighborhoods,” a Humanitini Happy Hour gathering on the theme of how being the Nation’s Capital can eclipse the sense of a city of local communities. Free, reservations required at - at Busboys and Poets (Cullen Room) 1025 5th St NW.

Friday, February 5 at 7 PM, Picnic in the Cathedral with the GW Troubadours. Pack your basket and blanket and grab your friends and family for a mid-winter indoor picnic inside the Cathedral. This event is free and open to the public. Please no alcohol, glass, or metal chairs. The GW Troubadours is a co-ed a cappella group based at The George Washington University. They sing a collection of genres and artists—from John Legend and Sara Bareilles to Coldplay and The Fray. The group has performed at the Republican Presidential Primary Debate at DAR’s Constitution Hall, the White House Holiday Celebration, and American Idol. Doors open at 7 pm. The Cathedral is at Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues NW. More info:

Saturday, February 6 from 10:30 AM - 4 PM, “March Through American History.” Enjoy marching through American history with a child during this interactive program for kids and adults. Don historic gear and walk your kids from the American Revolution, through the War of 1812 and the Civil War. This is a joint program of the American Revolution Institute and the Civil War Trust. Each adult must bring at least one child aged 6 – 16. Free, but reservations required - go to: At the Society of the Cincinnati, Anderson House, 2118 Massachusetts Ave NW.

Saturday, February 6 from 11 AM - 3 PM, Art for Families: Lunar New Year Celebration. All ages are invited to join in as we ring in the Year of the Monkey. Enjoy a fashion show of traditional Chinese dress, watch a calligraphy demonstration, and create your own dragon puppet. Free. At the George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St NW. More info:

Sunday, February 7 at 2 PM, The Gerbil Bowl. On Superbowl Sunday, before you watch a bunch of super-sized players scrambling around a stadium and slamming into each other, relax and watch some undersized rodents scurrying around a very large bowl, literally. The Gerbil Bowl puts the furry little guys into a very large wooden salad bowl, and the race is on to see how long it will take them to climb out. The first one over the top is the Super Bowl champion, Gerbil Division. These peewee contestants may not be as cute as the canines in the Puppy Bowl (see for details) but they certainly can hustle! The Gerbil Bowl will be broadcast on the Small Furry Animals Network (SFAN); you can attend the live show at PetSmall - for location and free tickets, go

Tuesday, February 9 at 12:30 PM, Pancake Races at the National Cathedral. Join in the fun for the last day of frivolity before Lent as the Cathedral celebrates Mardi Gras with pancake races on Shrove Tuesday on the west front grounds of the Cathedral. Staff, school students, clergy, and others compete in races including the Gargoyle Gallop and the Satterlee Special, in attempts to win the grand prize of the Golden Skillet. All are welcome. Inclement weather location: Cathedral nave. Free. At the Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues NW,

Tuesday, February 9 at 7:30 PM, Rural Remnants of Washington County: An Architectural Survey of Washington's Historic Farms and Estates - a talk by architectural historian Kim Prothro Williams, the National Register Coordinator with the DC Historic Preservation Office. Ms. Williams will discuss her research into the farms and estates of 19th-century Washington County, the area that lay within the bounds of the District of Columbia but outside the L’Enfant-planned City of Washington. Refreshments will be served. Free for CPHS members, non-members $15 - register at At the Cleveland Park Congregational Church, 3400 Lowell St., NW. 

Tuesday, February 9 at 7 PM, The Restaurant Plate: An Evening Event featuring Chef Jose Andres. What role do restaurants play in the American diet? As more people consume meals away from home, what is the impact on our health and the environment? Explore the DC restaurant scene, hear about new restaurant trends, and learn about the role chefs play in promoting sustainable and healthy eating. Free and open to the public. At George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st Street NW. Register at:

Wednesday, February 10 from 5:30 - 8 PM, Kathryn Aalto, author of “The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh,” discusses the English countryside that was the setting for the adventures of Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore and other beloved characters of A.A. Milne’s books. Tickets: $7 - $20 at; free for Hillwood members. At the Hillwood Estate, Musuem and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Avenue NW.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Still Life With Robin: Mail, Plus or Minus

Photo by Quadell (via Wikimedia Commons)
by Peggy Robin

One of the advantages of being on a large and busy email listserv is that you get the perspectives of many people with different experiences from your own. After a blizzard there’s typically a flurry of reports about when mail service has resumed, and under what conditions. Some people as of yesterday, a full week after the snow started falling, still had not received a single visit from their mail carrier – even though walkways and steps were shoveled and all other deliveries were getting through. A few streets away, others reported, full service was back on within a couple of days, and they appreciated seeing their dedicated mail carriers making their way over and through heaps of snow "in the daily completion of their appointed rounds."

My house was on one of those routes fortunate enough to have only a short interruption in service, but that is not to say I have no complaints. At least once a week we get a packet of mail addressed to other neighbors -- a phenomenon that occurs year round, in good weather and in bad. Yesterday, however, I got a sense of what it's been like for those unlucky enough not to have had any deliveries since the storm. I had gone to the Friendship Post Office at Wisconsin and Upton St to mail a package and encountered a mob of frustrated customers arrayed in a long queue running the length of the building. Since I had a lot of time waiting in line for the two clerks who manned open windows, I found time to chat and find out what others were there for. “Mail pick up” was one of the common refrains; those who had still had no delivery had come to see if they could retrieve a week’s worth of undelivered mail. One man told me he was collecting for his business, which is very dependent on postal mail.  

After a while, a postal employee came along to interrogate people in the line and find out, first, if anyone was there to drop something off and get a receipt (something that could be done without waiting for an open window), and second, if anyone was waiting to collect their undelivered mail. He directed those in each category to step to the side, so that they could be helped separately. I remained in the line.    

Twenty minutes later, I made it to the window to have my package measured and weighed, and then learn my options for tracking, insurance, and delivery speed. I made my choices, paid the postage, and was on my way. As I exited, I noticed that the businessman who had come to pick up his mail had not budged from his waiting space on the side. He gave me a rueful wave goodbye. For all I know, he’ll have to be back again on Monday.  

This is something of a shaggy dog story, I know – rambling and probably pointless. Not being at all knowledgeable in this field, I have no constructive comments to make about how to improve this situation. I usually devote this column to recommending local activities or websites or pointing out this or that quirk or characteristic about life in Cleveland Park and vicinity. Somewhat tangentially, I have two houseguests at the moment who spent much of yesterday visiting the Postal Museum down by Union Station ( They came back from the visit bubbling over with enthusiasm for this somewhat-lesser-known tourist attraction; they rated it far above the usual top ten visitor-draws on the Mall, and urged me to go. (I’ve never been.) After listening to them gush about the experience, I initially thought I might make today's column a recommendation for others to pay a visit to this under-appreciated treasure-house, but then I started musing about the quality of the service that is provided in the present day and time by the institution being celebrated at the Postal Museum, and it struck me as something of a conundrum: How can a museum about the Postal Service be so great when the service itself is so decidedly un-great?

I must sign off, but will note that right now it is 7:13 PM on Saturday, and there’s been no mail delivery so far today.


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

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Get Out! - The Events Column

Photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson
via Wikimedia 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 15,700+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Friday, January 29 at 7:30 PM, Concert: Merlin Ensemble of Vienna. This circle of musicians around the "Chamber Orchestra of Europe" has the aim to combine chamber music programs and music-dramatic projects with German speaking actors like Hermann Beil, Peter Matic, Martin Schwab, Karl Markowics and Ulrich Matthes, on the highest level. Featuring: Martin Walch, Violin; Till A. K├Ârber, Piano; Luis Zorita, Violoncello. At the Austrian Cultural Forum, 3524 International Court. Tickets: Free, but please register at:

Saturday, January 30 at 1 PM, Amber Sparks, a local writer whose second short story collection, “The Unfinished World and Other Stories” was recently released by Liveright Publishing, is doing a reading and book signing at Politics & Prose. Politics & Prose said: "Fearless and imaginative, Sparks writes in the tradition of Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood; focusing on the extraordinary, she makes the familiar strange and the strange feel like home. Her characters include sculptors and librarians—but also time travelers and orphans whose grief turns them into taxidermists of a very special sort." Free. Politics & Prose is at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW. More info:

Sunday, January 31 at 4 PM, The Apollo Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Stephen Czarkowski, will perform: Barber: School for Scandal,Guilmant: Symphony No. 1 (3rd Movement), Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite,Verdi: Operatic Arias,Brahms: Symphony No. 3.   With Julie Vidrick Evans, organist, and Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists Timothy Bruno (bass) and Kerriann Otano (soprano). Free - but donations are gratefully accepted. A reception to meet the artists will follow the concert.  At Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church  One Chevy Chase Circle, Washington, DC (between Oliver and Patterson Sts., NW at Connecticut Ave., NW) 202-363-2202. More info:  

Monday, February 1 at 6 PM, Snowzilla Tale-Swapping Meet. Do you have a hair-raising story of how you survived Snowzilla ‘16? Were you swallowed up in a snowdrift and had to claw your way out? Did Snowzilla break three snow shovels? Were you sent a link to Tian Tian’s Snow Day so many times that you had to beg people to stop? Now’s your chance to meet others with similar tales to tell. Enjoy a drink and swap stories of what you went through. There will also be a competition to guess the date when the last pile of snow will finally melt away. Free admission; cash bar. Must be over 21 to enter. Register and find the address of the participating bar near you at

Tuesday, February 2 starting at 8 AM, Groundhog Day at Dupont Circle. Potomac Phil, the National Groundhog, will make an appearance and offer weather and political predictions. Phil will let us know whether to expect six more weeks of winter or an early spring. Live accordion music, polka dancers, puppet show, VIP celebrities and more. Dupont Circle, at the fountain. The event will begin at 8AM sharp, Potomac Phil will emerge at approximately 8:30AM. More info:

Tuesday, February 2 from 10 - 10:45 AM,Groundhog Day for Tots at Tudor Place. Keep your toddler active in mind and body and learning about the world around us in these weekly sessions featuring songs, stories, crafts, and movement tailored to growing tots. For ages 2-4. Parents/caregivers remain with children. Tickets: Children $5, free for accompanying adult. Register at Tudor Place is at 1644 31st Street, NW. More info:

Tuesday, February 2 at 1 PM, Free Tax Assistance at the Georgetown Library. From February 1 through April 18, meet with a qualified AARP tax aide at your local library to help answer your tax questions and prepare your 2015 income tax filing For more information and to find others sites offering tax assistance please visit The Georgetown Public Library is at 3260 R Street NW.

Tuesday, February 2 at 7 PM, Ruta Sepetys, author of the newly released “Salt to the Sea,” will discuss her novel based on a true story, the nearly forgotten sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff during World War II -- one of the worst maritime disasters that ever occurred. "Salt to the Sea" follows four refugees hoping that the Wilhelm Gustloff will carry them to freedom. You can learn about the event in this video by the author available at:  Free. At the Embassy of Lithuania, 2622 16th Street NW.

Wednesday, February 3 at 7 PM, “Founding Friendships: Friendships between Men and Women in the Early American Republic” - discussion with author and historian Cassandra Good. "When Harry Met Sally" is only the most iconic of popular American movies and books that pose the question of whether friendships between men and women are possible. In Founding Friendships, Cassandra A. Good shows that this question was debated as far back as 1776. Indeed, many of the nation's founding fathers had female friends but popular rhetoric held that these relationships were fraught with social danger, if not impossible. Book sale and signing to follow event. Free.Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave NW. More info: .

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Still Life With Robin: Snowzilla, The Un-Fake Event!

Snowzilla 2016, photo by Aude via Wikimedia Commons
by Peggy Robin

Every week the Cleveland Park Listserv runs two columns. On Thursdays we run an events column called “Get Out!” and on Saturdays (or sometimes on Sundays, like today) we run this column, Still Life With Robin.

This week, the events column turned out to be mainly about things that did not (or will not) occur because of the snowstorm. Now, if you’ve been reading that column for a while, you also know that there’s always one event listed that never takes place, and that’s the weekly fake event. It’s typically a write-up of a workshop, lecture, performance, or some other sort of gathering that starts out sounding somewhat plausible, but as you read on, turns out to be ridiculous. Just our little amusement in a column that is informative but otherwise dry as toast.

This week, as it turned out, none of the real events after Friday are happening....but the fake event turned out to be totally for real! Here was the fake event:

Thursday, January 21 at 7 PM, “Name That Winter Storm - A Brainstorming Session.” According to the winter storm naming scheme announced by The Weather Channel on October 13, 2015, the predicted monster snowstorm that will hammer us from Friday to Sunday will be known as Winter Storm Jonas. But if this is indeed the Storm of the Century, it needs another, more appropriately fearsome but colloquial name, such as “Snowmageddon” or “Snowpocalypse.” Now is your opportunity to attend a brainstorming session at which participants will offer up their best suggestions, and see which ones garner support. There will be a first round of voting to winnow the field to the top five choices, followed by discussion and debate, and then a final vote to determine the winner. This event is sponsored by a committee of the top local TV meteorologists, who have agreed to use the winning name in all future broadcasts. To register for this event and to register your suggestion for the storm’s name, go to:

And here’s what really happened. No, there wasn’t a meeting or in-person balloting, but the Capital Weather Gang did indeed call for a popular vote on the name of the snowstorm, after declaring the name “Snowstorm Jonas” inadequate. The readers responded, and the resultant top vote-getter was “Make Winter Great Again.” Then in a dramatic power-play, the cabal of decision-makers at Capital Weather Gang simply threw out the people's choice and declared their own candidate, “Snowzilla” to be the winner. So “Snowzilla” it is. (See for the story)

Thought we were making this stuff up, but we weren't!

While the Capital Weather Gang may have held sway on the naming business, the people out in the trenches still rule when it comes to photographic contributions to Capital Weather Gang's Twitter feed, supplying some of the top photos and videos of Snowzilla 2016. The full collection is here:

Some of the best ones are (go to and scroll down to the Tweeters and titles indicated):

Leah Boudreaux ‏@msboudy 
Snowmander in Chief  #Snowzilla @capitalweather

LucyH ‏@moonduststorm 
Nearing whiteout at the cathedral  #blizzard2016 @capitalweather
Jill Koder ‏@kiwiijam 

@redbricktown @capitalweather
Skiing Oronoco St in Old Town VA

Michael Chorost ‏@MikeChorost  @capitalweather
Got this cool picture of snow windsculpted between cars in NW DC

Alejandro Alvarez ‏@aletweetsnews 
This is DC right now, in case you were wondering. (taken in Cleveland Park) @capitalweather #Blizzard2016

But my winner for the best snow video of Snowzilla 2016 was this one tweeted by Laurie Trayers (@ltrayers) ‏@capitalweather:  
Deer in streets of Cleveland Park DC this AM. 1 of a kind video by @LaurieTrayers.

If you’ve got anything that can compare to any of the above, by all means post your video/photo links to the Cleveland Park Listserv!


Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays….and in case of snow emergencies, on Sundays.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Get Out! - The Events Column

National Weather Service enhanced radar
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 15,700+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Thursday, January 21 at 6:45 - 8 PM, 6:45 PM - 8 PM, “A Tale of Two (Cities) Planets: What Earth and Mars Are Teaching Us about the Evolution of Habitable Worlds." Dr. Pamela Conrad, Planetary Environments Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will talk about the Curiosity rover and what we have learned about its explorations of Mars for more than three years; it has been measuring the past and present habitability potential of our nearest planetary neighbor. We’ve also been busy on Earth, exploring the harshest environments we could find on this planet, not only to help us understand what makes them habitable, but also how to measure it. Dr. Conrad will tell us about what we’ve learned on and from both planets about the evolution and decline of habitable environments. Free, but registration required at At Carnegie Institution for Science, 1530 P Street NW.

Thursday, January 21 at 7 PM, “Name That Winter Storm - A Brainstorming Session.” According to the winter storm naming scheme announced by The Weather Channel on October 13, 2015, the predicted monster snowstorm that will hammer us from Friday to Sunday will be known as Winter Storm Jonas. But if this is indeed the Storm of the Century, it needs another, more appropriately fearsome but colloquial name, such as “Snowmageddon” or “Snowpocalypse.” Now is your opportunity to attend a brainstorming session at which participants will offer up their best suggestions, and see which ones garner support. There will be a first round of voting to winnow the field to the top five choices, followed by discussion and debate, and then a final vote to determine the winner. This event is sponsored by a committee of the top local TV meterologists, who have agreed to use the winning name in all future broadcasts. To register for this event and to register your suggestion for the storm’s name, go to:

Friday January 22 at 12 noon (movie at 1 PM), Lunch and a Movie - “The Sting” starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Free. At Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street, NW.
Friday, January 22 at 3 PM,”A Curator’s Tour of Dumbarton Oaks: Conserving 75 Years/Objects.” Celebrating seventy-five years of Dumbarton Oaks, this exhibition presents seventy-five objects from the Dumbarton Oaks Museum’s three collections. Arranged in sequences of nine themed, consecutive rotations over the course of nine months, the works on view reflect the significance of the historical anniversary year as well as the ongoing assessment of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss’ collecting passion and appreciation. Free. At Dumbarton Oaks, 1703 32nd St NW. More info:

Saturday, January 23 from 10 AM - 12 noon, Tour of the renovated Hecht Company Warehouse, an Art Deco landmark, and the up and coming Ivy City Neighborhood, led by Architectural Historian Laura Hughes of EHT Traceries, and Architect Kevin Sperry from Antunovich Associates, who will discuss the vision for the the adaptive reuse and construction of this industrial structure. The program will conclude with a guided tour of the building. Originally constructed to serve the retail activities of a major local merchant, the Hecht Company Warehouse is an outstanding example of the Art Deco (Streamline Modern) style which stands as one of the major triumphs of inter-war Modernism in Washington. The large complex warehouse consists of five sections constructed between 1937 and 1961 and is important for its architectural style, its early and extensive use of glass block and its importance to the city’s economic heritage. Space is limited! Tickets: $15 for DCPL members $25 for non-members - go to to register. At 1401 New York Avenue, NE. The tour is sponsored by the DC Preservation League,

Saturday, January 23 at 7 PM, Comedian Dani Klein Modisett. Take a night out for laughter on at Washington Hebrew Congregation. The creator, producer, and director of the shows "Afterbirth…Stories You Won't Read in a Parenting Magazine" and "Not What I Signed Up For," Modisett will share refreshingly honest stories about marriage and parenting that will have you rolling in the aisles. Tickets are available at for $18 and include wine, beer, and heavy hors d'oeuvres. The Washington Hebrew Congregation is at 3935 Macomb Street NW.

Sunday, January 24 at 3 PM, Free Concert and Art Show. The Arts Council of Metropolitan Memorial UMC invites you to hear the Army String Quartet on Sunday, January 24, at 3:00. The program includes Beethoven, Gershwin, Ives, and Elliot Carter. Following the concert we'll move from our beautiful Sanctuary to the Great Hall for a reception and the opening of a show of lovely paintings by Elise Ritter (samples at Free; ample parking. Join us for a splendid afternoon of music and art. Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church, 3401 Nebraska Ave. NW (at New Mexico),   

Monday, January 25 at 12 noon, “TV News Comes to Washington.” This talk, led by Christopher Sterling, associate dean of GW’s Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, will explore the top ten television news innovations and their impact on the D.C. political scene. Free; no reservations required. At the George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St NW. More info:

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Still Life With Robin: Snowflakes and Rainbows

Photo by Mary Hollinger, NOAA photo library
by Peggy Robin

On Monday, January 11, DC’s Snow Team went into full alert sending this snowstorm preparedness press release in advance of Tuesday evening’s predicted snow sprinkles -- -- making me wonder if anyone at DPW bothers to read the forecasts put out by meteorologist Jason Samenow of the Washington’s Post’s mostly-on-target Capital Weather Gang. On that same Monday morning, Jason called it just right: “Some mood snowflakes may swirl through the air late Tuesday afternoon in D.C. area; These flakes are likely to have little impact on the region.” []

On the other hand, Jason was caught off-guard by the sudden darkening of the skies and downpour on Sunday afternoon (1-10-16). But, as if in compensation, we were all rewarded afterward with some lovely, color-intense rainbows, including some double and even triple ones, posted by Capital Weather Gang fans/photographers: 

This weird winter weather week (4 W’s – how’s that for alliteration?) began with a 63 degree day on Sunday afternoon, January 10…. and the following morning, we woke up to 27 degrees F – a drop of 36 degrees in less than 18 hours. That change led me to rummage around Google for a while to see if I could discover whether the overnight shift from balmy, spring-like conditions to much-colder-than-average winter temperature set any kind of record for the region. Maybe I just wasn’t phrasing the search correctly, or should have gone to a particular weather statistics site but I came up empty-handed. There’s a term “Googlenope” for a word or phrase that returns zero results. Maybe there should be a term “Googledope” for something that is probably easy to find using Google, but due to incompetent search terms, turns up nothing for the searcher.

However, while doing a Google search on a particular topic, I often stumble across something I wasn’t looking for, that is more interesting. In this case, it’s back to The Capital Weather Gang, who compiled and posted this fascinating column on the record snows of Washington, DC: Thanks, Jason and team, for some of the best weather reporting of the week. No, make that best weather reporting, consistently. DPW, I suggest you check this source next time, before you get all your snowplows all lined up and ready to go.


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

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Get Out! - The Events Column

Photo by by Phil Stanziola, NYWT&S staff photographer
 [Public domain] via Wikimedia 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 15,700+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ 

Peggy Robin & Bill Adler 
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv  

Thursday, January 14 at 7:30 PM, Middle East Lectures: "The Middle East, Yesterday and Today," lecture by Ambassador Edward Peck, as part of the The Middle East Lecture Series at the Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church. Born to immigrant parents, Ambassador Peck served as Special Assistant to the Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs in the Nixon Administration. He is currently President of Foreign Services International, a consulting firm that works with governments, businesses and educational institutions across the world. The lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening. The Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church is located at One Chevy Chase Circle NW, on the southeast corner of Chevy Chase Circle between Patterson and Oliver Streets. Geneva Hall is at the east end of the building on the second floor. For more information contact the Rev. Dr. Robert C. Angus, rcangus @     

Thursday, January 14 at 7:30 PM, Panel discussion of the film “Rosenwald” with documentary filmmaker Aviva Kempner, syndicated columnist Clarence Page (a graduate of a Rosenwald school) and Rabbi David Saperstein, former director and counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Inspired by the Jewish values of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tz’dakah (charity), philanthropist Julius Rosenwald joined forces with African-American communities during the “Jim Crow South” to build over 5,300 schools. The three panelists will  explore social change and the role both Jews and African-Americans can play in our communities now. At Adas Israel, 2850 Quebec St NW. Free, but please RSVP at    

Thursday, January 14 at 8 PM, Seasonal Shape-up: A Procrastinators’ Workshop. Are your holiday lights still up? Does your lawn still have an inflatable Santa or a snowman who’s past his prime? Then you need this “Seasonal Shape-up” session designed to help chronic procrastinators recognize that the holidays really are over. With a series of simple but focused exercises we will get you motivated to put those lights and decorations away and move on to a new season. We will start off with a few simple, future-oriented activities, such as planning for Valentine’s Day (it’s not too early to call a romantic restaurant for reservations!) Then we will do some light calendar-marking around occasions such as Presidents Day and St. Patrick’s Day, eventually working up to planning for a major spring cleaning. Free. Workshops held at various locations throughout the city; register at  to find the one nearest you.   

Friday, January 15 from 9 AM - 4 PM, “Messages from the Mountaintop.” Join members of the GW community who will share the wisdom and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King with passersby through the public reading of King’s letters, sermons and speeches. To register to become a reader and select a message, please visit Rain or shine, warm beverages provided. Kogan Plaza at George Washington University, 2121 I St NW. Free. For more information on this event and other events throughout “King Week,” visit:  

Saturday, January 16 from 11 AM - 12 Noon, “E-reader Rescue Hour.” Is your Christmas present a source of woe? If you need help with your new e-reader device or just want to learn how you can check out digital library books, stop by our clinic. We will offer individual help with Overdrive, Kindles, iPads, and so on. Free. At the Tenley Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,   

Sunday, January 17 from 12 noon to 4 PM, Battle of Cowpens in Miniature. Ever wanted to watch a battle unfold from above? We are staging a miniature Battle of Cowpens at the Museum. 235 years ago January 17, the Continental Army won a dramatic victory over the British Army near the town of Cowpens, South Carolina. Drop in as David Fisher, owner of Your Hobby Place, leads a miniature re-enactment scenario of the Battle of Cowpens. The Spy Museum’s historian, Dr. Vince Houghton will be on hand to answer questions about the battle and its significance in the Revolutionary War. Free, suitable for all ages. Location:  Special Events Space (Ultra Room), 2nd Floor of The International Spy Museum, 800 F St. NW.  More info:   

Monday January 18 from 10 AM - 12 noon, Martin Luther King Day of Service at Tregaron.  The Tregaron Conservancy is co-hosting this event with Rock Creek Conservancy. You can help to remove English ivy to improve the health of the trees. Tools, gloves, and training will be provided. Meet up at the 3100 Macomb Street entrance to Tregaron. More info:; to register go to and click on the registration link.   

Tuesday, January 19 at 10 AM, “How Can I Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?” - a presentation of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at American University. Dr. R. Scott Turner, professor of neurology and director of the Memory Disorders Program at the Georgetown University Medical Center will discuss his research into memory loss with aging, mild cognitive impairment, and early Alzheimer’s disease. His studies focus on developing early biomarkers (predictors) of cognitive decline with aging, as well as seeking more effective treatments for individuals with mild Alzheimer’s disease. Free. At the Abramson Family Recital Hall in the Katzen Arts Center at American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW. More info on this and other OLLI programs at:    

Wednesday, January 20 at 7 PM, “Why Ethics?: Blacks, Jews and the Crisis of Political Solidarity in an Age of Terror.” Celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a talk on the subject of political solidarity, presented by Dr. Terrence Johnson, Associate Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Georgetown University. Free. At the Takoma Park Library, 416 Cedar St NW,