Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Get Out! - The Events Column

English Beers by Rama 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 15,000+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Thursday, May 28 at 4 PM, “Theatre d’ombres” shadow puppet play presented by Alliance Francaise de Washington -- a whimsical story time and craft workshop - en français! Children will make their own shadow puppets to take home and will listen and watch stories in French performed in a shadow puppet theatre. Free. At the Cleveland Park Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue NW. See for more info.

Saturday, May 30 from 10 AM - 12 noon, Ivy Removal and Cleanup of Montrose Park. Join Rock Creek Conservancy and National Park Service volunteers to save park trees from the choke-hold of English ivy, an invasive vine that grows up tree trunks and eventually weakens and kills the tree. Tools, gloves, and training on how to identify and cut English ivy will be provided. This event is suitable for ages 16 and up. Volunteers will meet at Montrose Park at 3041 R St NW. For more information and to register, please visit

Saturday, May 30 from 10 AM - 5 PM, Beer Festival - the “Tour de Fat” hosted by the New Belgium Brewing Company. Festivities kick off at 10 AM when you can register your bicycle for the bicycle ride/parade through city streets, which takes place from 11 AM - 12 noon. The festival includes live entertainment, a wide variety of food and beer, a dance contest, and more. Free admission. At The Yards Park, 355 Water Street SE. More info:

Saturday, May 30 from 10:30 AM - 3 PM, Superhero Craft Day -- part of the Summer Reading Kick-off of the DC Public Library System. Get information on how to collect prizes for completing a summer reading program when you come to Tenley-Friendship Library for Superhero Craft Day. Story time starts at 10:30 AM. There will be stations where you can make masks, logos and other superhero-themed crafts from 11:15 AM - 3 PM. Free. The Tenley-Friendship Library is at 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW.

Saturday, May 30 from 11 AM - 1 PM, The 5th annual “Saying Their Names” event at Walter Pierce Park. You are invited to share your own family’s freedom story, as part of this program to honor the 8,428 black and white Washingtonians -- soldiers in the Civil War and anti-slavery activists -- who were laid to rest in the Mt. Pleasant Plains Cemetery and Quaker Burying Ground at Walter Pierce Park. Volunteers will read the names of African Americans and Quakers who were buried beneath what is now the park at Adams Mill Road and Calvert Street. No RSVP required. In case of bad weather, this outdoor event will be rescheduled. More info:

Saturday, May 30 from 5 - 7 PM, The Adams Morgan Summer Concert Series presents La Unica band, performing live at the corner of 18th Street and Columbia Road.

Sunday, May 31 from 10 AM - 4 PM,  The Biggest Flea Market and Crafts Market in DC Palisades, sponsored by the Palisades Georgetown Lions Club. In the Wells Fargo parking lot at Arizona Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard, NW.

Monday, June 1 at 4 PM, “Cute as a Junebug” Cuteness Competition. Have you wondered how many things are cuter than a Junebug? A Junebug may be cute, but let’s face it -- it’s still a bug, and there’s a limit to how cute a bug can be. It’s not a kitten, or a puppy, or a baby bunny, or any number of things that are cuter than the cutest bug. Want to see how cute? Come to this unique beauty contest, where you will watch Youtube videos from Cuteness Overload ( and then vote for the cutest of all. For location and how to register to vote for your favorite, see:  

Monday, June 1 at 6 PM, Students from the Wilson High School Vocal Music Program perform at the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center. Free.

Wednesday, June 3 at 7 PM, Voice and Piano Concert by Narda Munoz and Jason Solounias.  Join the Cleveland Park community for a special evening of music, featuring rising stars Narda Munoz and Jason Solounias as they perform operatic works. At Cleveland Park Congregational United Church, 3400 Lowell Street, NW. Suggested donation $25 or pay what you can at the door.

Wednesday, June 3 from 7 - 9 PM, Author Talk by Rhoda Trooboff, local author and Tenley Friends board member, on her first novel, Correspondence Course: The Bathsua Project. The novel takes place in summertime 2002 DC as Dee Young is mourning the death of her husband. But out of Dee's annus horribilis comes a celebration of the endurance of love, evolution of grief, and the healing power of love. The Tenley-Friendship Library is at 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW,

Thursday, June 4 from 10 - 11:50 AM, A talk on “Police Use of Force” by Carlos Acosta, Inspector General of the Prince George’s County Police Force and an adjunct associate professor of law at American University. The US again has witnessed its citizens engage in civil disobedience in response to what they perceive to be decades of heavy-handed police use of force. Carlos Acosta reviews what courts have ruled to be legitimate use of force by police and explores that in the context of recent civil disturbances arising from police actions. In this light, he will discuss how the use of force affects police interaction with the communities they serve, and what changes, if any, can improve this interaction. This is a free program of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Location:  In the Abramson Family Recital Hall of the Katzen Arts Center at American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW.

Thursday, June 4 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM, “All ‘Ale the Ladies,” program about women in the craft beer industry. Interested in learning more about the world of craft beer and the women behind it? Join the Heurich House Museum and DC beer writer Tammy Tuck for a discussion with inspiring women in the craft beer industry. Hear featured panelists talk about their paths into the beer profession and discover opportunities to learn about and enjoy craft beer while sampling two beers featured at SAVOR. Additional information and tickets ($10)  available at The Heurich House Museum is at 1307 New Hampshire Avenue NW.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Still Life With Robin: Vote!

Verizon Center by Mark7912 via Wikimedia Commons
by Peggy Robin

In DC we have so few opportunities to vote (no senators, no voting representative in Congress) that we should be grateful whenever we’re presented with a chance to vote on something, no matter how trivial. For example, in 2013 we got to vote for the name of the baby panda. Along comes another opportunity, to vote for a new name for the Verizon Center. According to CurbedDC Verizon is giving up the naming rights at the end of this term; there are four corporate entities in the running to take over the contract, at a cost of around $5 million per year. I’m not sure what bearing the popular vote will have on the matter, but if we’re being asked to vote, by all means let us exercise our franchise. 

Here are the choices:

·       The Impression Center (bid by Chris Foy's Impression Sports & Entertainment)
·       The Scout Center (bid by Rob Yowell's Gemini Sports Group teamed with Scout Sports and Entertainment)
·       The Shamrock Center (bid by Team Services Principal E.J. Narcise teamed with Brian Corcoran's Shamrock Sports & Entertainment)
·       The Gemini Center (bid by Rob Yowell's Gemini Sports Group teamed with Scout Sports and Entertainment)

You can vote here:

But before you press that voting button, first, a little lobbying against three out of the four choices (it's the Washington way):

1. “The Impression Center” is just lame.  Who are they trying to impress, anyway? An impression is also a copy of something else – and that’s not a good image for anyone or anything in the Nation’s Capital.
2. “The Scout Center” would make it seem as if the sports complex has some relationship to the Boy Scouts -- but it doesn’t. It’s jut confusing. It would get even more confusing if the Boy Scouts were to hold their annual Jamboree in DC but had it somewhere other than the “Scout Center.” Let’s head this one off while we still can.
3. “The Shamrock Center” would make it seem as if the sports complex is run by a corporation based in Ireland, when it isn’t. However, if it does end up with that name, I say they should paint the building green. That would make it stand out and be a real DC landmark! If the name isn’t used on the former Verizon Center, I also think it would be good for wherever the Boston Celtics play. I just now looked it up: It’s called the TD Center. How boring is that? So let’s all urge the Team Services bidders to go up to Boston and try to slap that name on the TD Center.

That leaves The Gemini Center as the best name. Vote for it because:

1. The Gemini Space Program was a great part of the space race. Two men in a space capsule! With multiple orbits! That’s an accomplishment that deserves to be honored by having a humongous athletic and retail complex downtown named for it.
2. Gemini is the coolest of the twelve astrological signs; it’s the twins, Castor and Pollux, a pair of demi-gods in Greek mythology, one representing strength and the other skill. Here’s a mini-lesson on who they are (and why they are worth naming a building after):
3. In addition to these two positive associations that spring quickly to mind, I can think of no negative associations that would lead me to make fun of the name.

Whether you are moved by any of these reasons or not, please vote – if only to prove that DC residents care enough about their city to express themselves whenever and however we can!


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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Get Out! - The Events Column

Wilson High School Arts Fest
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 15,000+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Thursday, May 21 from 4 - 8 PM, Wilson High School’s 2nd Annual ArtsFest. Performances include: Poetry and open mic on the outdoor stage from 4 - 8 PM; vocal selections by Wilson choral students in the choir room from 4 - 5 PM; excerpts from plays in the Black Box theater from 4:30 - 5:30 PM. Hands-on activities in the cafeteria include: Photo paper silhouettes; watercolor painting techniques; melted crayon art. Food and drink: Food trucks - and the Wilson Hospitality Academy will provide desserts, snacks and drinks. Free admission. At Wilson High School, 3950 Chesapeake St NW. Full details at

Thursday, May 21 from 6:30 - 8 PM, Humanitini: DC’s New Americans. Humanitini, a free monthly happy hour program by HumanitiesDC, brings Washingtonians together to discuss issues that are timely, engaging and entertaining. May’s Humanitini will be an unforgettable look at the history and cultures of DC's New Americans: Ethiopians, Chinese, Greeks, Salvadorans, and many more immigrant groups have established vibrant enclaves in Washington, DC over the years. How long will these communities retain their unique identities in wake of so much historical assimilation and displacement? Come join our panelists as they talk about the historical forces that have driven the development – or the eclipsing - of these communities. Panelists: Christine Warnke, Ted Gong, Quique Aviles, Joel Makonnen, and William Gilcher. Free. At The Coupe, 3415 11th St NW. Register at

Thursday, May 21 from 7:30 - 9 PM, The Middle East Lecture Series at the Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church concludes this season's lectures with an address by Mr. Matthew Duss on “The Implications for Peace in Israel with the Reelection of Mr. Netanyahu.” Mr. Duss is the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and was previously a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, where his work focused on the Middle East and US national security, and director of the Center’s Middle East Progress program. All are welcome to attend. No admission fee. A reception will follow the lecture. In the Geneva Hall on the second floor of the Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church, One Chevy Chase Circle NW.

Friday, May 22 from 12:30 - 1:30 PM, Free docent-led tours of  current exhibitions at American University’s Katzen Art Museum. The Katzen Art Museum is at 4400  Massachusetts Avenue NW. More info:

Friday, May 22 at 6:30 PM, “Screen on the Green” Movie Night. Please join Hearst Elementary, in conjunction with DC Department of Parks and Recreation, for our spring show, Big Hero 6, on the upper turf field near the school starting at 8 PM. The family fun activities start at 6:30 PM with a picnic. You can bring your own picnic basket or purchase drinks and pizza, while supplies last. Popcorn is free!  Glow lights will also be available for purchase (cash only). Best hero costume contest with prizes. No lawn chairs, please -- backrests OK. Free and open to the community. Hearst Elementary is at 37th and Tilden Sts.

Saturday, May 23 from 11 AM - 2 PM, “Run of the Mill” at Peirce Mill. The National Park Service’s official Miller, Jean Minor, will show how Washington’s only working gristmill grinds grain. Sponsored by the Friends of Peirce Mill. Free. Peirce Mill is at Tilden St and Beach Dr.

Saturday, May 23 from 1 - 4 PM, The 2015 Cleveland Park Historical Society Garden and History Tour. Tickets at ($20 member; $30 non-member), The tour starts at the corner of Reno Road and Upton Street and includes 16 gardens, 215 years of history, and the only surviving 19th-century spring house in Washington. This is a chance to explore the properties tucked into the hills west of Reno Road on Springland, Tilden, and Upton -- the site of an early 19th-century farm and vineyard that produced grapes that Thomas Jefferson admired. Representatives of the RiverSmart Homes program will be on hand to talk about Rock Creek-friendly, sustainable gardening strategies. Questions? Email staff @ clevelandparkhistoricalsociety dot org.

Saturday, May 23 at 2 PM, Ceremony for the unveiling of a bust of George Peabody, in honor of his 220th birthday. Georgetown artist Jeannette Murphy is the sculptor. In the Peabody Room of Georgetown Library, 3260 R St NW. Free. More info:

Sunday, May 24 from 11 AM - 3 PM, Sand Garden Tour of Cleveland Park. Many people learn a lot about gardening by going on garden tours, like the Cleveland Park Garden Tour that was held on Saturday. But many others look at lush, verdant plant-life and despair: the “brown thumbs” among us know we could never duplicate such beauty and bounty. But everyone can create a sand garden! On this inspirational garden tour, you will view 12 different tabletop sand gardens, each one a masterpiece of sand design and execution. The participating Sand Gardeners will leave their creations out on their front porches on the morning of the tour; each garden will have a docent who will explain how the sand pattern was created and will also protect the garden from mischievous fingers. You can find information on how to create your own sand garden here: and examples of the art here: For ticket information for the event click on    

Sunday, May 24 from 12 noon - 3 PM, Adoption Force One, the mobile pet adoption unit of the Washington Humane Society, will be at the Cleveland Park Petco with adoptable dogs and cats. Free. Petco is at 3505 Connecticut Avenue NW, in the Park’n’Shop. More info:

Monday, May 25 from 10 AM - 3 PM, Memorial Day events at the Lincoln Cottage and US Soldiers and Airmen’s Home and National Cemetery. Free guided tours of the cemetery: Meet at the bandstand adjacent to the Cottage at 10:15am and 12 noon. Wreath-laying ceremony: Meet at bandstand adjacent to Cottage at 9:30am. Reservations requested for free events at For guided tours of the cottage, tickets are $5 - $15 - reserve at The Lincoln Cottage is at Upshur St and Rock Creek Church Rd.

Wednesday, May 27 from 6 - 9 PM, The Historical Society of Washington celebrates its 121st anniversary and presents its Visionary Historian award to author and architectural historian James M. Goode. Tickets $50 - $75 at At the Carnegie Library, 801 K St NW.

Thursday, May 28 at 6:30 PM, Gargoyles and grotesques of the Washington Cathedral: A slideshow and outdoor tour. Tickets $15 for adults, $6 for children under 12. Reservations suggested - All attendees must obtain a tour ticket at the Welcome Desk (located at the main entrance for walk-in visitors, adjacent to the underground parking elevators). Binoculars recommended. Cameras welcome. The Cathedral is at Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Still Life With Robin: How to Trick Your GPS into Doing What You Want

Google Maps - The Elusive Chain Bridge
by Peggy Robin                  

I mainly use Google Maps to get around. I have it on my computer at home and use it as a talking guide on my smartphone. In all the years I have been using it, I have learned it has certain flaws. Or call them predilections. For example, when taking me to Silver Spring, it has a very strong preference for putting me on the Beltway, even during rush hour, when the Connecticut Ave to University Blvd stretch is apt to be more like a parking lot than a freeway. I know if I stay on Connecticut Avenue it will turn into University Boulevard, and I’ll keep moving the whole way. But how do I get my GPS program to understand that? Yes, I can tell it to “avoid highways” – and that may solve the Silver-Spring-at-rush-hour dilemma, but not, for example, the Chain-Bridge-to-Northern-Virginia problem. For some unknown reason, whenever I tell Google Maps to direct me to ANY address across the Potomac, it wants me to take I-66. And I almost NEVER want to take that road. It means I have to drive all the way down Rock Creek Parkway and then do that complicated little crossing of Virginia Avenue to follow the ramp up past the Kennedy Center -- where I need to avoid that bait-and-switch exit that seems designed to get you to stop off and see a show -- and concentrate on merging onto I-66, when I know perfectly well that it will be less stressful, and probably quicker, too, to go by way of Chain Bridge instead. Yet my GPS hardly seems to know that Chain Bridge even exists. It won’t route me over Chain Bridge unless I am already on Arizona Avenue whenever I enter an address in McLean.

Oh, I’ve tried various ways to force my GPS to show me the way I’d like to go. On my computer at home I can take the route it shows me and drag the blue line to my roadway of choice. But sometimes it fights back, and it ends up drawing its own complicated loops to squiggle its way back to the route it prefers. This is very frustrating! But just recently I discovered a way to force my will upon it, to make it show me just the way I want, and nothing else. And I can do this whether I’m plotting the route on my desktop PC or on my phone. 

Here’s the trick: I tell it that I’m starting from identified point as near as possible to the road I prefer to take. For example, if I want to take Chain Bridge, I look for an identified landmark as near to the bridge as I can find. There’s a Wells Fargo Bank at the corner of Arizona Avenue and MacArthur Blvd (probably because Wells Fargo pays Google an advertising fee to mark its locations). I click on that as my starting point, and then I enter in the unfamiliar McLean address I want to reach. This time for sure it will tell me to go over the nearest bridge – Chain Bridge – and it does!

The other day I was driving to the DC Central Kitchen drop-off site at  4900 Puerto Rico Avenue NE. I had never been there before, so I mapped it before I set out. Annoyingly, Google Maps wanted me to enter Rock Creek Park during rush hour by making a left turn onto Beach Drive from Porter Street – something that is perfectly legal in the late afternoon but not really doable. A perfect opportunity for me to try out my new “trick the GPS” technique: I looked over the map, saw it would make more sense at that hour to get into the Park at Tilden, and saw that Google Maps had marked the location of Peirce Mill just where Tilden goes into the Park. So I clicked on that landmark and made it my starting point. Then it routed me exactly as I wanted to go – no struggling with the program to try to drag lines from here to there, no clicking through turn-by-turn lists of alternative routes to see if any matched my preference, no trying to insert a mid-point stop along the way, without messing up the sequence. (These were but three of the ways I had attempted to solve this problem in the past.)

The beauty of this trick is that you don’t need to know ahead of time what starting point to pick. Google Maps is full of paid markers for Starbucks, and gas stations and banks and many other points of interest. Just zoom in close to where you want the map’s guidance to kick in, and click. Start there and the rest is smooth sailing!


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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Get Out! The Events Column

Dragon Boats by Aronexis (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 15,000+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at (events @ 
Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv
Thursday, May 14 at 6:30 PM, “Alien Worlds and the Origins of Science” lecture by Astronomer R. Paul Butler, on the history of the search for worlds beyond our own planet. At the Carnegie Institution for Science, 5241 Broad Branch Road NW. Free - but please register at Doors open to the public at 6 PM for light refreshments.
Thursday, May 14 at 7 PM, Asian Restaurants of Washington. Take a tasty tour of Chinese and other Asian restaurants in Washington, DC with local author John DeFerrari. He will be speaking about popular Chinese restaurants featured in his 2013 book Historic Restaurants of Washington, DC. The program is in the first floor auditorium at the Cleveland Park Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue NW. This event coincides with Asian-Pacific Islander Month. For more about John DeFerrari, see his website:
Friday, May 15 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, May 16 at 2 PM and 6:30 PM, Peter Pan Jr, the John Eaton School Musical. All ages are welcome. Tickets - $5 child and $8 adult - can be purchased online at or at the door.
Saturday, May 16 from 9:30 AM - 3 PM, International Migratory Bird Day Festival at the Nature Center in Rock Creek Park. Spend today learning about and celebrating these melodious travelers. Guided bird walks and children’s activities throughout the day, including: DC Junior Ranger Duck Stamp Award Ceremony at 12:30 PM and “Avian Mysteries” talk by Prof. Twitcher on what makes a bird a bird - at 3 PM. Free. The Nature Center is at 5200 Glover Road NW. More info:
Saturday, May 16 from 10 AM - 7 PM Fiesta Asia Street Fair. The 10th annual National Asian Heritage Festival Signature Event - Fiesta Asia Street Fair - features more than 1000 performers on five stages representing more than 20 cultures for 9 consecutive hours. Live performances by musicians, vocalists, dancers, martial artists; Pan-Asian cuisine; a shopping bazaar; kid-friendly interactive activities; talent competition, cultural parade, Bollywood street dancing, and exhibits of traditional and contemporary Asian crafts, a talent show, flash mob dancing, and much more. Held on Pennsylvania Avenue NW between Third and Sixth Streets. More details at
Satuday, May 16 from 5:30 - 7 PM, Armed Forces Day Free Spaghetti Dinner for US military personnel, veterans and their families, with live music by Scott Slay. At Whole Foods Market - Tenleytown, 4530 40th St NW. More info:
Saturday, May 16 from 8:30 AM - 4 PM and Sunday, May 17 from 8 AM - 4 PM, Dragon Boat Festival.Watch teams from all over, including our neighborhood, compete in the ancient sport of dragon boat racing. Besides the exciting boat races, the Festival includes a Lion Dance, Eye Dotting Ceremony, arts and crafts and hands-on activities, awards ceremonies and more. Complete details at Click on “Festival Information” and then “Events Schedule” for times of races and other activities. Rain Date: June 20 - 21. Location: Thompsons Boat Center, 2900 Virginia Ave NW, 202-333-9543.
Sunday, May 17 at 3 PM, Free Concert At MMUMC. The last concert of the season will take place in the beautiful sanctuary of Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church. Two talented local musicians, pianist Ralitza Patcheva and cellist Vasily Popov, will perform: Ravel, two parts of Gaspard de la Nuit for solo piano; and two works for cello and piano, Schumann's Fantasiestűcke and Brahms's second Cello Sonata. A reception will follow the concert, with fine drawings by retired medical illustrator John Parker on view. All are welcome. No charge; free-will offering at the concert. The church is at 3401 Nebraska Ave. NW (at New Mexico). More information at
Sunday, May 17 at 1 PM, Philip Glass will discuss his new memoir “Words Without Music” with Bob Boilen, host of NPR’s “All Songs Considered.” At Sidwell Friends School Meeting House, 3815 Wisconsin Avenue NW. Free. Doors open at noon, entrance granted on a first-come, first-served basis. 
Sunday, May 17 from 2 - 4 PM, The Music of Friends. Join Friendship Place for an evening of beautiful music, French wines, and pastries – while helping our homeless neighbors obtain housing, jobs, and dignity. This year, six superb musicians – the Potomac Trio (Cecilia Cho, from the Levine School and Carole and Mark Evans, from the National Symphony Orchestra) plus soprano Beth Rubens, NSO Clarinetist Paul Cigan, and clarinetist Theresa Cigan  – will perform works by Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Fauré and Debussy. Purchase tickets by 3 PM on Friday, May 15 online: - general admission $45; students $10; seniors $20; children under 12 are free. Questions? Email Jayme Aronberg at jaronberg @ At the Embassy of France, 4101 Reservoir Road NW.  
Monday, May 18 at 12 noon, Rally to Protest the Injustice Done to Patriot Tom Brady. What kind of society do we live in, where a man can be deprived of his livelihood for a quarter of his work year, not because he has been found guilty of anything but merely because it has been called "more probable than not" that he knew about someone else who let a bit of air out of a ball before a game? If you are as outraged as you should be at this un-American rush to judgment, march in solidarity with your fellow protesters. We will converge on the Department of Justice and demand an independent federal investigation of the biased, shameful, bogus "Wells Report" authorized by the NFL. For a list of speakers at the rally and other details of this event, see  
Wednesday, May 20, 6:30 to 10 PM, Code RED: A Book Talk and Panel on Computerized Election Theft. If computerized election theft WAS occurring, would you want to know? Boston-based attorney Jonathan D. Simon, co-founder and director of the Election Defense Alliance, has written a new book entitled CODE RED: Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century. Come out to hear him and other experts share what they know. Simon will be joined by University of Pennsylvania professor and researcher Steve Freeman, author of Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen?: Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count, and Virginia Martin, Co-Election Commissioner of Columbia County, NY, who has been conducting 100% hand-count audits of voted ballots since optical-scan voting machines were introduced in her county. Free. In the Moot Court Room, 5th Floor, at UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, 4340 Connecticut Ave. NW. More info and registration at

Thursday, May 21 from 6:30 - 10 PM, “Bringing It Home: A Celebration of DC” at the Lisner-Louise-Dickson-Hurt Home, featuring the music of The Chuck Brown Band, DC-centric food and beverages, artwork by LLDH Home residents, silent auction, and presentation of the Laura Lisner Award to Virginia Ali, co-founder of Ben’s Chili Bowl. More info: Tickets online: $75 each ($25 of each ticket is tax-deductible) at Parking available at Chevy Chase Center Colonial Parking across the street from the Home. The LLDH Home is at 5425 Western Avenue NW.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Still Life With Robin: Customer Rights and Wrongs

Waterproof iPod Shuffle
by Peggy Robin

The customer is not always right, but businesses that want to keep customer loyalty are often well advised to treat them as if they are. If it turns out the customer is wrong, or has filed a claim in error, it may be better for the business to forgive the customer for the mistake than to stand on its rights to refuse warranty service. In the long run, the customer’s good will may be worth more to its bottom line than the price of the repair.

A case in point: Customer P (I am not using the name to preserve my fifth amendment right not to incriminate myself) called up an electronics seller’s toll-free line to complain that the small digital music player had failed after just five months of use. It came with a one-year warranty, conditioned, however, on the customer maintaining the player according to instructions. The customer service rep (let’s call him “Jim”) put the customer through a few paces of testing the player to try to troubleshoot it over the phone. The customer complied, but the device, which was only half dead at the beginning of the call, failed entirely after the first few steps. Instead of producing an error message that showed up on the computer screen, the whole dialog box suddenly disappeared from view. “It’s dead, Jim,” P said sadly.

Jim, after asking a series of follow-up questions, ascertained that the problem was that the battery in the device had become damaged and would no longer re-charge. Jim’s careful questioning had also elicited answers establishing that the customer had failed to follow the steps recommended to preserve battery life. So many things P did wrong: She would habitually leave the device in the charger instead of disconnecting it whenever it was fully charged. She never let  the battery run down before recharging it. P even admitted never having read through the charging instructions at the outset. She had left it on occasion in a hot car. It was no wonder the battery was shot. It was a case of customer abuse. P freely admitted guilt, and having done so, was resigned to the fact that she had voided the warranty. She was prepared to buy a brand new device.

Now comes the surprising part. Jim cheerfully informed P that she could send back the broken player, and he would mail out a replacement, brand-new, at no charge. This one, he said, should last for years, PROVIDED the battery is maintained as recommended in the instruction booklet. It wasn’t necessary to do everything exactly as recommended (Jim added) as long as the user is careful not to do any of the things known to kill the battery.

P was so grateful for the generous, forgiving attitude that she was motivated to reward the company for its “help the customer even if she’s wrong” policy. But what kind of help could P give? Just letting as many people as possible know that if you buy a waterproofed Apple iPod Shuffle from Underwater Audio, you will not only get a tiny but versatile music/pocast player that you can use while swimming or doing any water sports, but you will get above-and-beyond customer service: Go to for all the products, and for the waterproof iPod Shuffle with waterproof earbuds.

Just so that you can see that P is not the only one with this opinion, have a look at these Amazon reviews:


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

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Get Out! - The Events Column

Photo by Thomas S Mann
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 15,000+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Thursday, May 7 from 4 - 8 PM, Baked by Yael's official Grand Opening. Join the Baked by Yael team and emcee Tommy McFly from 94.7 Fresh FM for an afternoon of fun, with prizes given away every 15 minutes from 5 - 7 PM, including cakepops, a Mother's Day cakepop bouquet, Baked by Yael gift cards, and a cakepop party!  At Baked by Yael, DC's First Cakepoppery, 3000 Connecticut Avenue,

Thursday, May 7 from 6 - 9 PM, Migratory Bird Day Program, “Bringing Nature Home,” presentation by Professor Doug Tallemy, professor of entomology and wildlife ecology at Delaware University. Using fascinating examples from his research on food webs and the relationships between plants and animals, Dr. Tallamy makes a compelling and powerful case for why using native plants in our yards and gardens is a key to restoring our dwindling biodiversity. By choosing native plants, anyone with access to a patch of earth, no matter how small, can contribute to conserving birds and other wildlife and to maintaining healthy ecosystems. At the National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Free, but please rsvp at to provide an accurate head count for the event.

Thursday, May 7 at 7:30 PM, “Imagine: When Chevy Chase Was Farmland! Rural Remnants of Washington County: An Architectural Survey of Washington’s Historic Farms and Estates,” a talk by Kim Williams of the DC Historic Preservation Office, a presentation of Historic Chevy Chase DC. Free. At Chevy Chase Community Center, 5601 Connecticut Avenue NW. More info:

Friday May 8 beginning at 12:10 PM, World War II Aircraft Flyover, presented by the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war that changed the United States forever. To honor the 16 million who served in the U.S. armed forces during World War II and to spotlight the essential role that aircraft played in U.S. victory, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association will bring one of the largest privately owned collections of WWII airplanes ever assembled to Washington, DC to fly over the National Mall on May 8, the 70th anniversary of VE day (the public holiday to mark the Allied victory in Europe). The “Arsenal of Democracy” aircraft will fly over the Mall in 14 formations, beginning at 12:10 p.m. You can get Flyover “spotter cards” to help you recognize the planes at this link: For best viewing locations, public transportation and other information about this event go to: Flyover is weather permitting. Rain date Saturday, May 9.

Friday, May 8 from 10 AM - 4 PM, National Public Gardens Day at Tudor Place. Tour and enjoy the historic landscape at no charge in honor of National Public Gardens Day! Stroll at leisure or on free guided tours, offered at 11 AM and 3 PM. Free - no registration required. Pair your visit with a house tour (offered at the regular admission price) - go to for more information. Tudor Place is at 1644 31st Street NW.

Friday, May 8 from 5 - 8 PM, Spring Open House at the Alliance Francaise de Washington. Take a free mini-class and a free placement exam; find out about class offerings; tour the library, learn about French cultural programming. Free. Alliance Francaise de Washington is located at 2142 Wyoming Avenue NW. No rsvp required. More info:

Friday May 8  at 7 PM, The Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Featuring Brian Selznick - Love Is a Dangerous Angel: Thoughts on Queerness and Family in Children's Books. Brian Selznick, author and illustrator of the 2008 Caldecott-winner, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, as well as many more titles, will deliver this year's lecture. Registration is free for this event geared towards adults, but tickets are required for entry - register here: Doors open at 6 PM; the lecture begins at 7. At the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G Street NW. More info:

Saturday, May 9 from 11 AM - 7 PM, St. George’s Day Picnic - Serbian Food & Cultural Festival. Delicious Serbian food, traditional music & dancing, bounce houses & games for kids, bookstore & boutique, crafts and more. Come enjoy Serbian hospitality & culture! Dobro nam došli - Welcome! Free admission & parking available next door at Sts. Peter & Paul Church. At St. Luke Serbian Orthodox Church, 10660 River Road, Potomac MD. Visit for complete details

Saturday, May 9 from 11 AM - 2 PM, “Run of the Mill,” a presentation by miller Jeanne Minor and the Friends of Peirce Mill on the workings of Washington’s only surviving gristmill. Free. Peirce Mill is at Tilden Street and Beach Drive NW. More info about Rock Creek Park’s miller at

Saturday, May 9 from 5 - 7 PM, Adams Morgan Summer Concert Series features the DC-based post-punk band Dot Dash. Free. At the BB&T Bank Plaza at the corner of 18th and Columbia Road. More info:

Sunday, May 10 from 1 - 3 PM, Mothers Day Celebration at the Zoo with Fiesta Asia - an afternoon of family fun, featuring cultural performances by children of all ages for the whole family. Every child has the opportunity to learn the different dances together with their moms, (and dads too!), including the debut Panda Dance, Polynesian Roll, Rabbit Hop, Bollywood Shake and even the Taiko Dog Woof! Free. At the National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW. More info:

Sunday, May 10 at 3 PM Smothers’ Day Celebration. While everyone else is celebrating Mothers’ Day, let’s not forget that this day is also Smothers’ Day, in honor of the famous comedy duo, The Smothers Brothers, Dick and Tommy, whose signature line was: “Mom always liked you best!” If you are too young to remember their iconic bit, your assignment for today is to watch: . And then watch the tables get turned at: But there’s no public gathering for Smothers’ Day, because this is the weekly fake event.

Sunday, May 10 at 4 PM, Masterworks by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Schubert will be on the program in a free concert at Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church. Soloists, choir, orchestra and organ will be featured in four infrequently-performed works: Haydn's "Little Organ Mass," Mendelssohn's "Hear my Prayer," Schubert "Partsongs," and Haydn's "Organ Concerto in C Major." And you'll learn about the composers’ mothers! No admission charge but donations gratefully accepted. A reception to meet the artists will follow the concert. Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church is located on Chevy Chase Circle between Oliver and Patterson Streets, NW on the east side of Connecticut Avenue, NW.

Monday May 11 at 7PM,  District of Change: Traffic! Metro! Bikers! How to Survive the D.C. Commute. As the District of Columbia continues its rapid growth and transformation, not only is the population growing, so is the traffic! More bikes, cars and people on the road; longer waits on the metro and buses. Is there a way to improve and survive the daily commute? Join moderator and avid cyclist David Plotz in discussion with Harriet Tregoning, former director of the District of Columbia Office of Planning; Dan Tangherlini, former director of DDOT and former interim General Manager of the WMATA; and Robert Thomson, aka Dr. Gridlock, traffic reporter for the Washington Post, as they examine the daily commute in DC. RSVP at Free. At Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G Street NW.  

Tuesday, May 12 from 2 - 4 PM, Presentation on Elder Financial Abuse, Fraud and Neglect - an IONA Senior Services event. Presenter: Carolyn Nicholas - President of Advocates for Elder Justice. Free. Held at Iona Senior Services, 4125 Albemarle Street. Registration appreciated - email: community @ or call: 202.895.9420

Tuesday, May 12 from 6 - 9 PM, Taste of Adams Morgan. Mary's Center and the Adams Morgan Partnership BID invite you, friends, and family to a fun-filled evening of sampling Adams Morgan’s most delicious eats! Partnering restaurants will serve small plates of their signature dishes to raise funds for Mary’s Center, which provides medical, educational, and social services to diverse communities throughout the metro area. Buy tasting tickets online, 4 for $20; 8 for $35 at or get tickets on the day of the event at Little Shop of Flowers, 2421 18th St or at Toro Mata, 2410 18th St. Event location: Along 18th Street in Adams Morgan.

Wednesday, May 13 at 6 PM, Meet with the Cleveland Park Library Design Team and Library Staff to tell us what you would like to see in your new library. The DC Public Library and the Friends of the Cleveland Park Library invite you to a community meeting to discuss the construction project, including plans for interim library services during the time the library is out of commission. To learn more about the project, visit: . In the Cleveland Park Library, first floor meeting room, 3310 Connecticut Avenue NW.

Wednesday, May 13 at 7 PM, Author Talk: David Grimm will discuss his book “Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs.” In this fascinating exploration of the social evolution of dogs and cats in society, pet lover and award-winning journalist David Grimm chronicles the rich and surprising history of our favorite companion animals and the pros and cons of granting citizenship to our pets, an idea that is gaining traction with some on the fringe of the animal rights movement. Book sale and signing to follow event. Free. At the Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave NW,

Wednesday, May 13 at 7:30 PM, Local journalists Tom Sherwood and Harry Jaffe discuss their book, “Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington, DC.” Free. At Upshur Street Books, 827 Upshur Street NW. More info:

Thursday, May 14 at 7 PM, Asian Restaurants of Washington. Take a tasty tour of Chinese and other Asian restaurants in Washington, DC with local author John DeFerrari. He will be speaking about popular Chinese restaurants featured in his 2013 book Historic Restaurants of Washington, DC. The program is in the first floor auditorium at the Cleveland Park Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue NW. This event coincides with Asian-Pacific Islander Month. For more about John DeFerrari, check out his website:

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Still Life With Robin: Name That Princess

Princesses, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Zanimum
by Peggy Robin

Happy birthday to the newborn Princess _____ of Cambridge. We’ll know in a day or two, maybe three, what name will fill in the blank. Until then, British bookmakers are giving odds on the following choices: Charlotte 3/1; Alice 4/1; Victoria 5/1; Elizabeth 6/1; Olivia 6/1; Alexandra 8/1; Diana 10/1; Mary 12/1; Frances 25/1; Grace 25/1. As you get past the top ten and go farther down the list, the odds get higher and you start getting into some rather fanciful possibilities. Like Leia, at 100/1. As in Princess Leia, of the famous double-doughnut hairdo. I suppose it could happen, if Wills and Kate are both complete Star Wars nerds. Or --if the parents are Friends fans-- there’s Rachel at 50 /1, or Monica or Phoebe, each at 100/1.

Much longer odds –200/1– are given to Chelsea, which hardly seems right for a name good enough for Bill and Hilary’s own princess. But Jasmine, best known as the name of the princess in the Disney version of the Aladdin tale, is ranked twice as likely at 100/1. Then there’s Daisy (the flower? The duck? The girl on the bicycle built for two?) – coming in at an almost plausible 50-1 shot. All of the above and more are ranked at Ladbrokes: (It’s not too late to place your bets!)

Now that you have finished laughing over the prospect of a member of the stodgy old British royal family getting a Disneyfied name, a name from the planet Alderaan, or sharing the name of Donald Duck’s girlfriend, you should take a look at actual names given to three of Queen Elizabeth’s previous great-grandchildren. There’s Savannah, and Isla and Mia (numbers 14, 15, and 17 in line to the throne, respectively. They’re all right here in the British Royal Family Tree:  If you can stop thinking of the scope of the catastrophe that would have to happen to take away the numbers one through fourteen in succession, then you have room in your brain to imagine Queen Isla, who otherwise would be found only in some far-out sci-fi/fantasy realm.

Personally, I’m hoping they go off in some new direction entirely, choosing something that hasn’t made any of the oddsmakers’ lists. What about Bao Bao? It was the voters’ choice for the cuddly little princess produced by our own Zoo royalty, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian. It means Precious-Precious in Chinese. It’s worked out well for DC’s cutest little tourist attraction. Think about it, Kate and Wills. Everyone bow, bow to Bao Bao, Princess of Cambridge….


Still Life with Robin comes out on the Cleveland Park Listserv and All Life Is Local on Saturdays. (Oh, OK, technically it’s Sunday already!) 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Get Out! - The Events Column

Image from Palisades DC Public Library
We wanted to share some events and activities that list members might be interested in. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 15,100+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at (events @ fastmail dot us).
Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv
Friday, May 1 at 4 PM, Mother’s Day Crafts. Children will learn to make tissue paper flowers and decorate a jar to hold their flowers. While this program is for children of all ages, the very young may need adult assistance. Free. At the Cleveland Park Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue NW,
Friday, May 1 from 10 AM - 6 PM and Saturday, May 2 from 10 AM - 5 PM, The Flower Mart at Washington National Cathedral. The theme this year is “Celebrating Asia.” Dance performances, concerts, craft demonstrations, rides, games, food and drink, vendors, flower arrangements from around the world, and more. This is the 76th year of the Cathedral fair. Free and open to all. The Cathedral is at Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues NW. For more information see:
Saturday, May 2, during DC Public Library hours, Free Comic Book Day. Come celebrate Free Comic Book Day; a national event to promote reading for all ages. As long as supplies last on May 2, many DC public libraries will be giving away various comics donated by multiple comic book distributors. Comics will be available until the library closes or we run out of comic books to give away. To see which libraries are participating, go to For more information about National Free Comic Book Day, visit
Saturday, May 2 from 10 AM - 4 PM, “Around the World Embassy Tour” by Cultural Tourism DC. Nearly 40 embassies will open their doors to DC visitors and residents. Participants can travel the world as they experience the food, art, dance, fashion, and music of different countries. In the past, visitors have been treated to karate demonstrations, dance performances, sari wrapping lessons, and henna demonstrations. Free - reservations are not required. Many embassies are within walking distance of the Dupont Circle and Van Ness Metrorail stations. For tips and recommendations about the tour, go to:
Saturday, May 2 at 10:15 AM, Concert by Washington National Cathedral Voices: Renaissance Faire - a program of music from the first golden age of English sacred music, performed at the High Altar, directed by Christopher Betts. The Renaissance Faire program includes works by Batten, Byrd, Tallis, Weelkes, Tomkins, and Tye. The concert is one of the free performances during the Cathedral Flower Mart. More info:
Saturday, May 2 from 11 AM - 4 PM, Lafayette School’s Spring Fair. Attractions include carnival rides, bounce houses, dunk tank, games, face painting, arts & crafts, photo booth, book sale and lots of yummy food for sale, including the ever-popular bake sale. Bring in your old bike to trade in at the bike swap, or pick up a used bike at a great price. This year's theme is "Lafayette Under Construction: Everything is Awesome!" This is the last fair before the wrecking ball comes to Lafayette in June. The blow-out annual event won't be held next year while the school is being remodeled, so don't miss this time. Ride tickets available forpurchase on site. Or you can find more details and pre-purchase KidPass bracelets for unlimited rides here: fair is held on the grounds of Lafayette Elementary School at 5701 Broad Branch Rd. NW, rain or shine. 
Sunday, May 3 at 1 PM, Tregaron Spring Cleanup and Arborist Talk on Urban Woodlands. The Tregaron Conservancy will be hosting its annual spring clean-up, which will begin with a short walk on the trails led by Master Arborist Shawn Siefers of The Care of Trees. Shawn will talk about the challenges of maintaining urban woodlands. Meet at the top of the "sledding" hill facing Macomb Street. Bring gloves and loppers if you have them. Snacks and water will be provided. For more information, visit
Sunday, May 3 at 4 PM, The Georgetown Chorale presents its 2015 Spring Benefit Concert. Celebrate spring with a program of American choral classics inspired by folk traditions and ancient harmonies, from the beloved Old American Songs of Aaron Copland, to Paul Halley’s charming Love Songs for Springtime, and the iridescent harmonies of Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. Advance tickets: $22 (adults), $10 (students and children) available online through May 2 at Tickets at the door: $25/$10 Students. Concert proceeds will benefit the First Star Greater Washington Academy summer college prep program for foster students. At First Congregational United Church of Christ, 945 G Street, NW. More info:  
Sunday, May 3 at 4 PM, New Dominion Chorale Concert of Gilbert and Sullivan plus Classical Broadway Musical Theater favorites, directed by Thomas Beveridge. In the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall, Northern Virginia Community College, 4915 East Campus Lane, Alexandria Va. 703-442-9404. Adults $30, Seniors $25, Children/students $5 - ticket information and directions at
Sunday, May 3, at 5:30 PM, Golden Anniversary of Voting Rights Act Celebration. Join Moment Magazine and The Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute for “A Great Civil Rights Partnership: A celebration in honor of the struggle for racial equality, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.” Moderated by journalist Steven V. Roberts, the event will feature former Congressman Barney Frank, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and civil rights leader Julian Bond, as well as music and dance from students from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. There will also be a live photo exhibition of some of the era’s iconic photographs.The event is free and open to the public but you must RSVP at At Newseum's Annenberg Theater, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW - Use Group Entrance on C Street
Monday, May 4 at 7 PM, Author Talk - Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland. Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan, both Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists for the Washington Post, will appear with Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, who were kidnapped and held for a decade in Cleveland by Ariel Castro. In Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland, Berry and DeJesus share their harrowing, yet inspiring, story of the courage, ingenuity and resourcefulness that ultimately delivered them to their freedom, their lives and their families. This event will be moderated by Martha Raddatz, ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent. This event is presented by Politics & Prose at Sidwell Friends Meeting House, 3825 Wisconsin Ave NW. There will no public signing at this event—books will be pre-signed. No recording or photography of any kind is permitted at this event. Doors and check in start at 6 PM. This event is free. Register to attend at
Tuesday, May 5 at 7:30 PM, “Urban Gardening 101” presented by Josh Singer, community gardens specialist at the DC Department of Parks and Recreation. Free. In the large meeting room on the lower level at Petworth Library, 4200 Kansas Avenue NW,
Tuesday, May 5 at 3:30 PM, Cinco de Mayo. We're celebrating Cinco de Mayo and the culmination of our Dia de Los Ninos festivities with an afternoon of bilingual stories and crafts. Break goodies out of our library-made piñata, listen to fun music, and make luchador masks to take home! Free. At the Palisades Library, Recommended for ages 4-7 but all are welcome to attend.
Wednesday, May 6 at 4 PM, Mayo de Mayo. Yesterday we celebrated Cinco de Mayo, honoring Mexican heritage and culture -- including spicy Mexican cuisine with its hot, flavorful, fresh salsas. The next day, Seis de Mayo, we honor the non-spicy condiment originally from France -mayonnaise- on this new but rapidly spreading holiday, Mayo de Mayo. Come to your local participating sandwich shop and order a plain ham or turkey sandwich on white bread -- with mayo. Globs and globs of bland, white mayo on white bread. To see the list of participating restaurants, go to: