Saturday, September 23, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Happy Eggcorn Day!

Photo by Juan Diaz Hidalgo
via Wikimedia Commons
by Peggy Robin

Happy Eggcorn Day! What’s that? - you say. It’s the perfect question for a holiday that honors the universal propensity to mix up words. An eggcorn is something like a malapropism, but it’s more deeply embedded in the user’s language learning brain. An eggcorn is usually a childhood mistake in hearing, You grow up with it and use it freely, until one day you discover, to your chagrin, that you’ve been misspeaking a word or phrase that everyone else uses in another way. The word “eggcorn” itself is the prime example. The story is that a woman grew up hearing people talks about eggcorns – you know, those nuts that fall from oak trees. Yes, she’d read about “acorns” in books, but for some reason, she assumed that was something different. Then, one strange day, in an amazing epiphany, she connected the two and realized they were the same word. That’s an eggcorn!

Now you may be wondering why September 23 is named Eggcorn Day. Because it’s the day that linguistics professor Mark Liberman of the University of Pennsylvania first described this verbal phenomena in the blog Language Log (23 September 2003) – see

Some common eggcorns are:

For all intensive purposes (for all intents and purposes)
Bread-and-breakfast (for bed-and-breakfast)
A jar-dropping event (for jaw-dropping)
It never seizes to amaze (for never ceases to amaze)
An old wise tale (for old wives’ tale)
Their efforts came to knot (came to naught)

In case you were thinking at this point, aren't these things simply malapropisms? -- here’s the distinction: a malapropism is a mistake caused by the speaker’s inattention or indifference to meaning. It’s funny, because the speaker often doesn't realize the meaning of the substituted word doesn't fit. Example: “I want to improve my speaking voice, so I’m taking lessons in electrocution.” Or, “I deny the allegation, and I deny the alligator!” Malapropisms are often the product of a satirical playwright, mocking the vocabulary of a character created to sound ridiculous. Indeed, the word “malaprop” comes from a character in a play, The Rivals, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan – a Mrs. Malaprop, who gleefully and unwittingly mangled words and phrases (“…illiterate him from your memory” instead of “obliterate him” – or “Oh, it gives me hydrostatics to such a degree” for “hysterics” – see The legendary Hollywood film producer, Samuel Goldwyn, was so famous for his peculiar misuse of words and phrases that his malapropisms became known as “Goldwynisms” (see – and he came to relish his own reputation for the amusing mixups so much that he actually hired a press agent to invent funny malapropisms to be attributed to him.

One could argue (and I do!) that an eggcorn is closer in spirit to a mondegreen, which is a simple confusion of sounds. Mondegreens, however, are limited to mis-heard song lyrics. The term's origin is from the old Scottish folk song:

“Oh, they hae slain the Earl of Murray and laid him on the green!” Which tended to be mis-heard as: “They have slain the Earl of Murray and Lady Mondegreen” – resulting in two sorry corpses, instead of one.

For more about mondegreens, see Mondegreens, because they involve familiar songs with slurred or unintelligible lyrics that we all tend to want to make sense of, may be the funniest type of word transposition -- even funnier than either eggcorns or malaproprisms. So why don’t they have their own holiday? They do! Mondegreen Day is March 25, chosen because it is the birthday of the King of the Mondegreens, Sir Elton John. A quick sampling follows – but you will have to go and look up the real lyrics yourself.

“She’s got electric boobs, a mower too, you know I read it in a magazine” (from “Benny and the Jets”)
“Hold me closer, Tony Danza” (from “Tiny Dancer”)
“You can’t stand bein’ a penpal, I’m going out to laugh now” (from “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”)
“I’m not a man, they think I am a ho” (“Rocket Man”)
“He had a no-go Chevy and a case of B.O.” (from “Crocodile Rock”)

Mondegreen Day is just about six months from now, so mark your calendars! And in the meantime, enjoy the eggcorns of fall!

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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

The Kreeger Museuem - Sculpture by Richard Deutsch
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 17,200+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv  

Friday, September 22 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM, “Party with a Purpose” Dance Party at City Fitness, to raise money for Hurricane Harvey victims. Minimum donation is $25 and all proceeds will be sent to the Houston Food Bank Harvey Disaster Relief Fund (
There will be light refreshments and great music! Wear your dancing shoes, celebrate the Autumn Equinox and all while helping those in need! For more information & registration contact City Fitness Gym at (202) 537-0539 or email co-owner Dega Schembri at dega @ cityfitnessgym dot com. City Fitness Gym is at 3525 Connecticut Avenue NW in Sam's Park-n-Shop.

Saturday, September 23 at 10:30 AM and 2 PM, “Art and History Are Alive at the Cemetery.” Stroll through 300-year-old St. Paul's Rock Creek Parish and Rock Creek Cemetery. Occupying 86 manicured acres, this cemetery is Washington's only active Colonial Era church and churchyard. It is home to some of the most beautiful sculptures in the city rendered by many of America's greatest artists, including Auguste St. Gaudens and James Earle Fraser. The tour takes about 90 minutes and is a gentle walk. It’s free and all are welcome! At Rock Creek Church Road & Webster Street NW. More info:

Saturday, September 23 from 12 - 6 PM, The 10th Annual Hyattsville “Arts and Ales” Festival. This year’s festival includes over 100 artists and artisans, and will feature food vendors, Maryland craft brewers (servings available for purchase for 21+), live music and dance, and activities for the whole family. Directions, parking information, and more available at Free admission. In the 4300 blocks of Gallatin and Farragut Street, Hyattsville, MD.

Saturday, September 23 from 5 to 7 PM, Champagne in the Sculpture Garden. Raise a glass... and funds for education programs at The Kreeger Museum, which provides arts education to all students in the Washington metropolitan area. Kreeger programs reach many in underserved communities: this year, nearly 70 percent of participating schools were recipients of Title I funding. The Champagne celebration includes the presentation of two recent additions to the Sculpture Garden, "Against the Day" by Richard Deutsch and "Portals" by Sandra Muss, works that will be incorporated into education programs in the coming school year. (See Live music by the Samuel Prather Trio. Tickets: $50 per person available here: The Kreeger Museum is at 2401 Foxhall Road NW.

Saturday, September 23 from 7 PM - 3 AM, Tenleytown Art All Night Festival 2017. Tenleytown Main Street kicks off Art All Night with live music and dancing at the Metro Plaza (Wisconsin Ave & Albemarle St) at 7 PM - follow the Afro-Brazilian drum corps Batala along Wisconsin Avenue as they herald the start of the arts festival, passing each of Tenleytown’s 14 art and performance venues. The procession ends across from Keller Williams Capital Properties (4000 Chesapeake St) with a concert by Batala. Explore art, music, dance, the culinary arts, and more. Free. Full details here:

Sunday September 24 from 12 - 4 PM, Fall Garden Day 2017 in the Bishop’s Garden at Washington National Cathedral. Garden Day is sponsored by All Hallows Guild, which is celebrating its 101st birthday. Free lawn games for children and adults. Garden docents to answer your questions. Food available for purchase from Rocklands Barbeque and A&B Ice Cream. Free All Hallows Guild carousel coloring books – coloring and craft table for kids. Live music in the All Hallows Amphitheater. Artists in the Garden. Scavenger hunt. Free and open to the public. Free parking is available on Sunday along Pilgrim Road. More info:

Sunday, September 24 from 11 AM - 4 PM, ZooFiesta. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the National Zoo with visits with South American animals, including a demo with a live sloth. Also, live music, performances, food. Free. At the National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW. See the schedule of activities at

Sunday Sep 24 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 best pupusas, mumbo sauce, and Double Dutch jumpers in the city, puts on a Pet Parade instead of a pig race, and works with local businesses and organizations that are committed to helping our community thrive. The Fair will be packed with activities and entertainment for everyone. The Education Stage will feature demonstrations and workshops coordinated by Knowledge Commons DC. The Main Stage will feature live competitions and performances from local artists. The Kid’s Corner will feature free activities for children and kid-specific contests like Ice Cream Eating and a Water Balloon Toss. Find all the wonderful details at or At Waterfront-SEU Station, 375 and 425 M St. SW.

Sunday, September 24 from 11 AM - 4 PM, The Taste of Georgetown - benefitting Georgetown Ministry Center's Homeless Assistance Programs. Tasting tickets sold in packages: 5 tickets for $22, 8 tickets for $33, 11 tickets for $44. Over 40 delicious dishes offered by some of Georgetown’s most exciting chefs. Buy tickets online at: Along  K Street NW between Wisconsin Avenue and Thomas Jefferson Street. List of participating restaurants at

Monday, September 25 at 12 noon, “Meridian Hill Park,” Author talk by DC tour guide and blogger, Fiona Clem. Meridian Hill Park, a twelve-acre neoclassical park reminiscent of an Italian villa garden, is a National Park Service property, one-and-a-half miles due north of the White House. Prior to becoming a national park, the park was home to Columbian College, a precursor to George Washington University; a Civil War encampment; a seminary; the site of nature poet Joaquin Miller’s cabin; and part of a senator’s estate called Meridian Hill. Free, no reservations required. At the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, 701 21st Street, NW,

Monday, September 25 from 3 - 4 PM, Tour: The US Botanic Garden, led by Nancy Ragsdale, USBG Volunteer Docent. Learn about the history of the National Garden, plants butterflies like, native plants of the mid-Atlantic area, and roses that grow well in the Washington environment.
Free - no pre-registration required. Meet in the Lobby of the Conservatory, USBG, 100 Maryland Avenue SW.

Tuesday, September 26 at 7 PM, Drawing Inspiration with Cartoonist Jim Toomey. Nationally syndicated cartoonist Jim Toomey, who has been drawing the newspaper comic strip "Sherman's Lagoon" for almost two decades, uses live drawing to demonstrate how he weaves an environmental message into his work, and how he has taken what he has learned in "old media" and applied it to creating short films and animations for an online audience. Reception at 6:30 pm with refreshments. Free. In the Malsi Doyle & Michael Forman Theater - 2nd Floor, McKinley Building, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW,

Wednesday, September 27 from 7:30 - 10 PM, Two Faces Comedy Night 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. This will be a series of three comedy nights, the first of which is September 27. (October and November dates to be announced.) Tickets: $5 Tickets at: President Lincoln’s Cottage is at 140 Rock Creek Church Road NW.

Wednesday, September 27 at 8 PM, Book Club Meeting for People Too Busy to Read the Book. Here’s just what you’ve been waiting for: a book club that does not require you to spend hours slogging through a book you will probably conclude is a waste of time. Now you can have all the fun of going to a book club but none of the stress….because no one else has read it either. Just get right down to what you really came for….to critique the other people who are there! Complain about the food they brought. Give possibly snarky compliments about what people are wearing. Imply that people are not as “woke” as you. And all without any advance preparation for interacting with this group of strangers. If you’re wondering if such a book club really exists….well, stop wondering about this week’s Fake Event.

Thursday, September 28 at 6 PM, UNCENSORED: Banned Book Button Bonanza. Join us at the Cleveland Park Interim location (at 4340 Connecticut Ave NW) to create your very own banned books themed button! We will have options for kids and adults alike. Free. This program is part of Banned Books Week at the DC Public Library -- see for other activities and events.

Thursday, September 28 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM, Opening Reception for “Shipwrecked! Preserving Our Underwater Heritage.” This audiovisual exhibit unveils the untold stories of Spanish shipwrecks found on US coasts. The exhibit seeks to raise awareness about the need to preserve and protect our underwater heritage. Free, RSVP required at At the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain, 2801 16th Street NW. More info:  

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Still Life with Robin: The Week in Zoo Parenting

Smithsonian National Zoo
by Peggy Robin

In Zoo reproduction last week, we’re down by two. Our panda mom, Mei Xiang, already mother to Tai Shan, Bao Bao, and Bei Bei, seemed by every measure to be expecting a little bundle of panda joy again. But by Thursday the outcome was clear: she was experiencing a “pseudopregnancy.” Apparently this is a common thing among panda moms. You can so excited about the prospect of having a baby, you act like you’re pregnant, you spruce up your den, you’re eating bamboo for two, you do everything to prepare for the new arrival….and then nothing happens. So you carry on just as before. And, like any good baseball team, hope for better luck next year. [The full news of the panda non-pregnancy is here:]

And now to the tigers. Sumatran tigers, in this case. They're among the most endangered species of tiger – only 300-400 left in the wild. But the Zoo has a tiger mom, who apparently is not quite as determined to succeed at pushy parenting as the humans who proudly dub themselves “tiger moms.” In the case of National Zoo mother Damai, we can’t quite say what went wrong. Perhaps she just wasn’t cut out for motherhood. After all, she’s had a very successful solo career as a Zoo star. There was some gossip about medical reasons, but the Zoo veterinarian seems to be respecting the privacy the patient, despite the public's hunger to know. All we really know for sure is the outcome. It just wasn’t working out, so the baby is being sent away. But don’t feel sorry for him. He’s off to a far ritzier, glitzier home at the San Diego Zoo, where he will live with an adoptive family, including a new brother about the same age. They’ll be raised as twins in the California sunshine. Will he come back to visit us from time to time? It’s doubtful he’ll even give us a backward glance!
[Want to see him as an adorable little kitten? Roll the video you find at this link:]

While we may not have a new tiger or panda cub, we are not bereft of Zoo babies. We’ve got the screaming hairy armadillo pups. No, I’m not making that up! Here they are: They are oddly cute, with the emphasis on the “odd.” Be sure to play the video to see them sniffing with their little baby armadillo snouts. True, they're not pandas or tiger cubs, but we'll take what we can get!

You can learn more about these animals and meet an armadillo at next Sunday’s Zoo Fiesta, from 10 AM – 4 PM next Sunday, September 24. And of course, it's all free. (The “Meet an Armadillo” presentation starts at 10:30 AM at the Small Mammal House.) 

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local, usually on Saturdays but occasionally on Sundays.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

National Women's Party Banner
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 17,200+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Friday, September 15 at 12:30 PM, Lunch Bites: “National Woman's Party Banner.” Museum Collections Manager Katherine Hill discusses the symbolism behind the National Woman’s Party banner, ca. 1913-1920, currently on display in the exhibition, “The Great Crusade: World War I and the Legacy of the American Revolution” (on loan from the National Woman’s Party at the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, Washington, DC). Women mobilized for World War I in unprecedented numbers as nurses on the Western Front, as factory workers, as volunteers, and in dozens of other roles. Their entrance into the workforce furthered their ongoing campaign for the right to vote, which was finally ratified in 1920. Tricolor banners like this one were among the numerous popular objects used to represent their cause. The talk will last approximately 30 minutes and will conclude with viewing the banner in the exhibition. Free. At the Society of the Cincinnati, Anderson House, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue NW. More info:

Friday, September 15 at 8 PM, 2017 NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert. The National Endowment for the Arts presents the 2017 NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert. Celebrate our nation’s master folk and traditional artists in a concert featuring music, dance, crafts, and conversations. For more information about performers and artists, visit: To reserve your free tickets  --maximum 6 per order-- go to and click on “2017 NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert.” At GWU’s Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st NW.

Saturday, September 16 from 10 AM - 2 PM, Enrichment Day at the National Zoo. Celebrate Enrichment Day when you: participate in training and enrichment activities, attend demonstrations and talk to animal keepers about why enrichment is such an important part of the everyday care of Zoo animals. What is Enrichment? Unique forms of stimulation, such as balls, climbing structures and puzzle feeders, give the Zoo's 1,800 animals a safe and creative outlet to demonstrate their natural behaviors. Activities include: Recycled Enrichment - discover the many ways the Zoo recycles or "upcycles" items, such as fire hoses, to create animal enrichment. Then, play a fire hose browser game! Edible Enrichment - see how diets and treats factor into an enriching experience for Zoo animals. Scavenger Hunt: Participate in a digital hunt around the Zoo. Take photos, scan QR codes, answer trivia questions and check-in at various locations, as you make your way through Enrichment Day challenges. Download the scavenger hunt app for Android or iOS, so you're ready to play when the Zoo's scavenger hunt launches on Enrichment Day. Free. The National Zoo is at 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW. More info:

Saturday, September 16 from 10 AM - 3 PM, “Homecoming” at President Lincoln’s Cottage. For the first time ever, Lincoln’s Cottage will combine two popular events, the Freedom 5K and Family Day, into one full day of racing and family fun called Homecoming. During the Civil War the Lincoln family called the Cottage home. This year everyone is welcomed “home” for a full day of activities where you can run, walk, and play like Lincoln. Come for just the race, just Family Day activities, or stick around for both! Please note, you must register for the Freedom 5K. All Family Day activities are free, but you still need to register for the head count. Registration links are here: The entrance to President Lincoln’s Cottage is at 140 Rock Creek Church Road NW.  

Saturday, September 16 from 11 AM - 3 PM, STAR Family Festival (Sing, Talk And Read). Learn how singing, talking and reading with your baby or young child now can help them later in school. It's never too early to give your kids a smart start. The STAR Family Festival features: Fun activities for kids; Live entertainment; Prizes and giveaways; Free lunch provided (while supplies last); Much more! Special guest appearance from a DC United soccer player. Free. At the Deanwood Public Library, 1350 49th St. NE. For more info, call 202-727-0321 or visit:

Saturday, September 16 from 12 noon to 7 PM, H Street Festival - with 12 performance venues, vendors, arts and crafts, food and drink, everything you could want in a street festival, stretching for ten blocks along H Street NE from 4th to 14th Streets. Performance schedule here: More about the festival here:

Sunday, September 17 from 11 AM - 5 PM, Interschool Student Competition - Design Charette. The Interschool Student Design Competition (ISDC) convenes teams of students from the Washington, D.C. area’s six collegiate architecture programs—The Catholic University of America, Howard University, University of the District of Columbia, Virginia Tech Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, Morgan State University, and University of Maryland. Teams participate in a day-long design challenge in which they are tasked with producing a creative solution that addresses real world architecture, planning, and landscape architecture issues. Past competitions have challenged students to design tornado disaster shelters and public pavilions or to re-design existing parks and plazas. This event does not require an RSVP but if you would like to receive event reminders, go to: Free. At the National Building Museum, 401 F St NW. The awards ceremony for the winners will be held on Tuesday at 5 pm.

Sunday, September 17 from 3 - 4 PM, “Reptiles Alive!” show at the Rosedale Conservancy. Reptiles Alive will bring several reptilian friends, which they will then introduce to the audience with educational and interesting background.  At the end of the program, there will be an opportunity for a more up close meet and greet with the reptiles. This event is a wonderful experience for children of all ages (and adults too) - so come pet a live snake and have a toadally good time! More info about Reptiles Alive at; more info about the Rosedale Conservancy at The show is free but donations of any amount are welcome to help defray the cost of the program. Rosedale (at 3501 Newark Street) is a non-profit organization that relies entirely on neighborhood contributions to maintain the grounds and for programming activities.

Sunday, September 17 from 5 - 8 PM, "Barks and Brews" - benefit event. Join Van Ness Main Street and Cleveland Park's City Paws for the first annual Barks and Brews Event. Bring your canine (no dog- come anyway!) and enjoy dozens of craft beers, giveaways for your dog, live music, and local food trucks (Timber Pizza and Westrays Finest Ice Cream). All proceeds will go to Van Ness Main Street, People Animals Love, and Hurricane Harvey Pet relief. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 the day of the event and include access to the event, souvenir beer mug, and complimentary beverages for its duration. For tickets go to: The event will be held at the Calvert Woodley parking lot, 4339 Connecticut Ave NW - rain or shine.

Monday, September 18 at 12 noon, "Lincoln’s Generals’ Wives: Four Women Who Influenced the Civil War—for Better and for Worse" - a book talk withy Candace Shy Hooper, independent scholar. The story of the American Civil War is not complete without examining the extraordinary and influential lives of Jessie Frémont, Nelly McClellan, Ellen Sherman, and Julia Grant, the wives of Abraham Lincoln’s top generals. They were their husbands’ closest confidantes and had a profound impact on the generals’ ambitions and actions. Most important, the women’s own attitudes toward, and relationships with Lincoln had major historical significance. Relying on a close reading of letters, memoirs, and other primary sources—and, for the first time, mapping the women’s wartime travels—Hooper explores their very different responses to the unique challenges of being married to Lincoln’s generals.  Free, no reservations required. At the George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st Street NW. More info:

Tuesday, September 19 at 4 PM, Arrr Pirates! Talk Like a Pirate Day Program at Tenley-Friendship Library. Celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day (observed worldwide every September 19th - see Come and learn some Piratese and make crafts. Best for ages 4-12. Free. At Tenley Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW.

Tuesday, September 19 at 6 PM, Live Like a Pirate Day. Why limit yourself to words like “Aaargh,” and “Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum,” when on this September 19th, you can do so much more? Find out about real life aboard a 17th Century pirate ship, including amputation without anesthesia (how do you think a pirate got his peg leg? Or that hook for a hand?) Taste some genuinely moldy hard tack. Listen to a medical expert describe the effects of scurvy. You can even have a parrot sit on your shoulder….but watch out, this one really bites! This program is not for the faint of heart. Please be sure to register and sign the online liability waiver here: Cost: Many dubloons!    

Tuesday, September 19 at 12:30 PM, JAZZAlive Presents: Allyn Johnson and Meet the Artist on the Bandstand—Anthony Nelson. Favorite pianist and UDC Jazz Studies Director Allyn Johnson presents an up close and personal session of conversation and performance featuring saxophonist, composer/arranger and band leader Anthony Nelson. Free. At UDC’s Recital Hall - Performing Arts Building 46 West, 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW. More info:

Tuesday, September 19 at 7 PM, George Pelecanos in Conversation. The Friends of the Mount Pleasant Library present an author talk with George Pelecanos, the critically-acclaimed DC-based novelist and television producer. Mr. Pelecanos will discuss his childhood in Ward One and the impact that has had on his writing. Many of his books take place in the Columbia Heights, Mt. Pleasant, Georgia Ave. and Dupont Circle neighborhoods and reflect actual locations and occurrences in the area over a range of decades. There will be a moderated question and answer session after the talk, followed by a brief reception and book signing. Free. At the Mount Pleasant Library, 3160 16th Street NW,

Wednesday, September 20 at 7 PM, Book Hill Talks: Planning for Incapacity, Durable Power of Attorney and the Alternatives. Uncertainties in life are all too certain to occur sooner than we would like. Faith Mullen, Visiting Associate Professor of Law & Director, General Practice Clinic, David A Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia will be on hand to discuss the timely topic of planning for incapacity. Free. At the Georgetown Neighborhood Library, 3160 R Street NW,

Thursday, September 21 at 6 PM, Memorializing George Washington: Why We Do It, What It Means - a lecture and book signing. Join Executive Director Jack Warren for a discussion of the memorialization of George Washington in light of recent demands to dismantle and remove memorials to the leader of our Revolution. The presentation will last approximately 45 minutes with time afterwards for questions. Free. At the Society of the Cincinnati, Anderson House, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. More info:

Thursday, September 21 from 6 - 7:30 PM, Music on the Lawn: Yamomenem  (as in “How’s ya mom an ’em?”) performs New Orleans style brass. Free, but donations welcome. At Grace Episcopal Church, 1041 Wisconsin Avenue NW. Grounds open at 5:30 PM. More info:   

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Name of the Storm

Hurricane Irma (NOAA)
by Peggy Robin

Irma is on its way to Florida and it’s predicted to be one of those hurricanes so memorably destructive that no other hurricane will ever bear that name again. If you are interested in how hurricane names are “retired” and which ones are so terrible as to cause the hurricane-naming committee to remove the name from future use, here’s how it works:

Harvey, too, will surely be retired.

Amid all the loss to come with Irma, and all the loss that came just a few shorts weeks ago from Harvey, it’s good to hear a note of sweetness coming from those two names, in the form of this story of a loving couple, married for 75 years. Harvey is 104 and Irma is 93:

Back when these two were children, there were plenty of little Harveys and Irmas running around. Harvey was at its peak in 1921 in terms of actual numbers of boys given that name in 1921 while it achieved its top ranking (#51) in 1880 (see: Irma hit its highest ranking in 1911 at #136. (see:

Katrina used to be in the top 100 before the hurricane of that name in 2005 (for an account of its steep drop in popularity post 2005 see but now it barely cracks the top 1,000, at its present ranking of #997.

Of course, the most durable and popular names --Andrew, David, Anita, Donna, many others-- aren’t shunned, even immediately after the most horrible hurricane of that name has done its worst. On the heels of Hurricane Irma will come Katie and Jose – and both names are securely in the top 500 and are not expected to decline. Katie was as high as #166 in 2010; while Jose was at that ranking just last year.

If you would rather not dwell further on the named storms of 2017, here’s a peek ahead to the hurricane names of 2018: Alberto Beryl Chris Debby Ernesto Florence Gordon Helene Isaac Joyce Kirk Leslie Michael Nadine Oscar Patty Rafael Sara Tony Valerie William. May none of them become unique!


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

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Get Out! - The Events Column

Gregor Mendel's Pea Plants
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 17,200+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler 
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv 

Friday, September 8 starting at 11 AM, Games, Lunch, and a Movie at Guy Mason Recreation Center. An assortment of board games will be brought out at 11 AM, lunch is at 12 noon, and the movie, “Body Heat” starring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner, starts at 1 PM. Free. To reserve, please email guymasonevents @ gmail dot com or call (202) 727-7527. Guy Mason Recreation Center is at 3600 Calvert Street NW.   

Friday, September 8 from 3 - 9 PM, Awesome SummerFest at the Goethe Institute. Learn about the work of the Goethe-Institut, and enjoy the offerings, including speed German lessons, art exhibits, films and more. Participate in totally cool interactive activities (scavenger hunt, German/English karaoke, photo shoot) and end the day with some of DC’s rad punk bands. Old Europe restaurant will be on site selling delicious German food and drinks! More information: Free - please register at The  Goethe-Institut Washington is at 1990 K St - entrance on 20th St between I and K Sts.

Saturday, September 9 from 9 AM to 9 PM, 202 Arts & Music Festival, presented by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH). This vibrant, family-friendly festival celebrates DC through visual arts, performance art, and interactive cultural experiences, with over eleven hours of continuous activities taking place on multiple stages both indoors and outdoors. There will be film screening of the ongoing DCShorts Film Festival, dance and music performances and workshops, public art installations, and much more. Over 10,000 residents and visitors are expected to attend this multi-faceted event. At 4th and M Streets SW (Metro Waterfront). Free admission, tickets available online at Full schedule and location of events at:

Saturday, September 9 from 10 AM - 12 noon, Public Art for Van Ness - a community meeting to meet the artists and learn about an exciting public art and wayfinding project. Let artists know your thoughts on ways to create a more vibrant and walkable Van Ness. Free. At WAMU, 4401 Connecticut Avenue NW. More info:

Saturday, September 9 from 10 AM - 12 noon, Obscure Memorials on the Mall, a National Park Service Walking Tour. Just about everybody knows about the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument but do you know the National Mall is home to many other memorials celebrating famous deeds and heroes? John Paul Jones, the Founding Fathers and John Ericsson, among others, share space here. Follow the path less taken. Free. Meet at the World War II Memorial, map: More info:

Saturday, September 9 from 11 AM - 1 PM, DCPS Block Party. Join Mayor Muriel Bowser and School Chancellor Antwan Wilson at an event with food, music, and fun. There will be special guests and you will learn more about the future of DC public schools. Lots of activities for students. All DCPS staff, students, families, friends, and community members are invited. Free. At Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, 4800 Meade Street NE, one block from the Deanwood Metro. More info:

Saturday, September 9 at 1 PM,  "Burning Sky Over Washington: September 11, 2001 & August 24, 1814." Jamie Stiehm, a Creators Syndicate columnist and contributor to, discusses how on a late summer day, Washington burned. The president fled - Madison in 1814, Bush in 2001. How the September 11th attacks eerily echoed the past and darkened the future. Free. In the Peabody Room (3rd floor) of the Georgetown Neighborhood Library, 3260 R Street NW. More info:

Saturday, September 9 from 10 AM - 12 noon and Sunday, September 10 from 12 noon - 5 PM, The 45th Annual Mediterranean Food Festival and Bazaar at St. George’s Antiochan Orthodox Church. Great Middle Eastern Food, Delicious Pastries, Live Music and Dance, Cultural Activities, Church Tours, Community Exhibitors, Special Dance Performances, Children’s Activities and more. Great food and great fun for the whole family! Free admission. At 4335 16th St NW. More info: and

Sunday, September 10 starting at 1:30 PM, 12th Annual Unity Walk. Over a thousand people of all faiths will walk together in friendship and unity along Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue, NW. There will be an Opening Ceremony at Washington Hebrew Congregation at 1:30 PM. From 2 - 3:15 PM, Open House Block 1 will take place at Embassy Church Annunciation Catholic Church. Service Project 1 is bagging apples - the project is a part of an ongoing gleaning program at The Society of St. Andrew in Virginia. From 3:15-4:30 PM: Open House Block 2: Community of Christ Church, Soka Gakkai-USA, Buddhist Cultural Center, St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral and Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to the United States Service. Project 2: Decorating reusable napkins to be donated to the Sikh Gurdwara DC. Indian Embassy, Consular Wing. The closing ceremony will take place at 4:30 PM at the Islamic Center of Washington, DC. The Unity Walk is open and free to everyone. There is a suggested donation of $25 for adults and $10 for students, seniors, and those of limited income. Register for the walk at For more info including details of Open House Blocks and Projects, and lists of speakers at the ceremonies, see   

Sunday, September 10 from 10:30 AM - 6:30 PM, The 39th Annual Takoma Park Folk Festival. 50+ musical performances, 25+ artisan booths, 15+ food vendors, 50+ community organizations, 39 years of history. Free admission. At Takoma Park Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Road. More info - including parking/shuttle bus info, at

Sunday, September 10 from 12 noon to 6 PM, Adams Morgan Day 2017! Now in its 39th year, Adams Morgan Day is Washington’s longest running neighborhood festival. Adams Morgan Day 2017 will be a family-friendly celebration with music, art and activities for all ages. Free admission, food and drink specials from participating businesses. At 18th and Columbia Roads NW,

Monday, September 11 at 12 noon, “Rock History, or How Pieces of the Capitol Landed in the Smithsonian” by Aaron DeNu, independent scholar. For years, portions of the historical east facade of the U.S. Capitol, dating to the dawn of the nation’s republic, sat decaying in Rock Creek Park. Hear how independent researcher Aaron DeNu took interest in the overlooked original stones, learned of their connection to enslaved African Americans, and helped get the stones into the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Free; no reservations required. At the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, 701 21st Street, NW. More info:

Tuesday, September 12 from 6 - 7:30 PM, “Black Lives from Campus to Congress: Intersections of Race, Politics, and Culture.” Celebrate the launch of AU's new major in African American & African Diaspora Studies, as professors James Peterson of Lehigh University and Ibram X. Kendi of American University explore how the drive to understand race and ethnicity in American society can help achieve social justice. In the Founders Room at the School of International Service at American University, Nebraska Avenue at New Mexico Avenue.This is a first-come, first-seated event. Ticket holders should arrive early to get a seat in SIS Founder's Room. There will be an overflow space outside in the atrium with a live broadcast of the event. Registration required:  

Tuesday, September 12 from 4:30 - 8 PM, “The Long Game: Why the 1957 Civil Rights Act Still Matters Today.” UDC David A. Clarke School of Law and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights will proudly co-sponsor an afternoon panel discussion to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which established the Civil Rights Division (CRD) of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S Commission on Civil Rights. Session One: The Civil Rights Act of 1957: Discussing the circumstances which led to the passage of the first civil rights act since 1875, including the role of the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Panelists: Shelley Broderick,Wade Henderson, Mary Frances Berry. Session Two: The State of Federal Civil Rights Enforcement, with panelists Vanita Gupta, Catherine Lhamon, and Gustavo Velasquez, and moderator Karen Narasaki.The panel discussions will be followed by a modest evening reception in the lobby of the UDC auditorium. At the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, Moot Court Room, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW. This event is open to the public and free of charge.

Tuesday, September 12 at 6 PM, Kurdistan Reception with Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Representative of Kurdistan Regional Government in America. Learn about the Kurdish people and Kurdistan. Chiya Muksi, a Kurdish chef, will serve Middle Eastern food and drinks. Lukman Ahmad, a Kurdish artist, will provide music. Free. At Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert St NW. Please RSVP by Friday, September 8 by email to guymasonevents @ gmail dot com or call 202-727-7527. For directions and parking visit:  

Wednesday, September 13 at 5 PM, “Finding the Most Interesting Dinosaur in the World” - a lecture by James M. Clark, GW Ronald Weintraub Professor of Biology. The Gobi Desert of China has produced some of the most important dinosaur discoveries in recent years, and one of the most successful series of expeditions to this area was led by Dr. James M. Clark, along with his colleague Dr. Xu Xing of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Hear Dr. Clark describe how their expeditions unearthed fascinating new dinosaurs, including the bizarre Limusaurus inextricabilis that was trapped in a “death pit.” Free, no reservations required. At the George Washington University Museum, 701 21st Street NW. More info:

Wednesday, September 13 from 5-7 PM, Happy Hour with the Most Interesting Dinosaur in the World. Find out what the Most Interesting Dinosaur drinks. Did he drink Mexican beer? Was there such a thing as Mexican beer in pre-historic times? How would we know? These fascinating questions will be considered at this Most Interesting Event … or would be, if this were not the weekly fake event!

Wednesday, September 13 at 7 PM, JAZZForum presents “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” - film screening and discussion. The film is a multimedia performance that through vibrant vocal and instrumental music explores themes of social justice and oppression. A panel discussion will follow the screening featuring Musical Director Michael Bowie, Lead Videographer Adili Ailixier, Executive Director Sunny Sumter and moderated by Willard Jenkins, DC Jazz Festival Artistic Director. In the UDC Library Auditorium, Arts & Sciences Bldg. 41-A03, 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW. More info on this event and other JAZZAlive events at

Thursday, September 14 at 6 PM, Launching of the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2017, celebrating Gregor Mendel, the founder of modern day genetics. The evening will include insights into Mendel and his peas by Director of the Mendel Museum Ondřej Dostál and lecture by Villanova University Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics Edward Guinan on Beyond Peas and Genetics: Gregor Mendel’s “Other” Sciences: Bees, Sunspots, Meteorology and Tornados. The launch will also feature the opening of the exhibition "Gregor Johann Mendel – Science, Beliefs, Politics." Explore the multitude of pioneering scientific discoveries and political and civil contributions Mendel achieved as a teacher, monk, beekeeper, biologist, meteorologist, and ultimately Abbot, the ecclesiastical leader for sixteen years. In the end, was he a man of God or a man of science? Share in a toast to a new season of the festival in Washington, DC – MORE PEAS PLEASE! More info on the Mutual Inspirations Festival at Free. RSVP required by September 13 - go to Attire: Dress in your best “pea green.” Light refreshments inspired by Mendel. At the Embassy of the Czech Republic, 3900 Spring of Freedom Street. Embassy policy: No bags or suitcases allowed. Only small purses permitted but will be checked at the door. No coat check available. You must pass through security for entrance. RSVP confirmation and photo ID required. Doors close at 6:15 pm.      

Thursday, September 14 at 7 PM, Trivia Night at Georgetown Library. Come join us for Georgetown Neighborhood Library's monthly trivia night!  (Trivia night is held on the second Thursday of every month).  Bring friends or we'll team you up with fellow trivia-lovers present for the chance to win prizes and...eternal glory. This program is recommended for adults and savvy teens.  Brainy snacks and sparkling beverages will be provided. Parents, we will also be showing a movie for kids during trivia. It will be in a different room on the same floor of the library as trivia and popcorn will be provided. Free. At Georgetown Neighborhood Library, 3260 R Street NW,