Saturday, January 25, 2020

Still Life with Robin: Bye-bye to BK's ET Boys, Jaws, Dinos, et al.

Photo by Peggy Robin
by Peggy Robin

I can’t post on the topic I’m about to take on without admitting that yes, my tastes do occasionally take me to our local Burger King. There are times I like a Whopper and fries. And now that they’re offering the plant-based Impossible Burger, I can even grab a fast-food lunch without feeling quite so guilty about my carbon footprint (carbon hoofprint?) See, they’ve kept up with the times!

But in one way it seems that time has stood still for our old BK on Connecticut Avenue (just next door to the car wash). The décor inside – featuring models and artworks from movies like E.T., Jaws, Jurassic Park – is all such a great throwback -- no, tribute! -- to the ‘70s and ‘80s. Waiting in the line inside, you look up to see the three kids from E.T. flying over your head on their BMX bikes. And then crashing out from a wall there’s the gaping, jagged-toothed threat of Jaws. Look to the opposite wall to see yet another familiar Spielbergian menace in the form of agrinning green T-Rex head. Then wander down to the lower level dining area to find yourself a table amid classic rock-n-roll guitars in acrylic display cases, surrounded by glowing neon tubes. Framed posters and cut-outs of other movie classics complete the visual nostalgia feast to go with the quick comfort food.
Photo by Peggy Robin

But then there are the other, far less thrilling reminders of the age of the place: the peeling paint, the dented trim, the creaking systems.

It’s long past time for a renovation, and now we’ve learned that the place is getting a total makeover, inside and out. As reported by Martin Austermuhl on DCist/WAMU, everything will go. The good and the bad. The fun movie memorabilia is headed for the storage locker.

Now, if this were in Cleveland Park, instead of Van Ness, you would be thinking, “Surely someone has filed with the Historic Preservation Review Board by now to landmark the interior!” Ironically,, the only lawsuit associated with the site was the one filed in 1980 to try to prevent it from opening in the first place. According to Martin Austermuhl’s report, there was “a lawsuit that made it all the way to the D.C. Court of Appeals — ultimately failed to stop the Burger King.”

Photo by Peggy Robin
The BK opened in 1980, and most likely acquired its movie-themed décor in 1997. If you want to see it all before it’s gone, you had better visit soon. The DCist story did not give a date for the removal, but sometimes when there are big changes afoot, things are done suddenly, before anyone has time to think of a way to stop it. So go now….or be content to view the photos at:
https://wamu.org/story/20/01/24/bk-to-the-future-d-c-s-iconic-burger-king-is-getting-a-facelift/ -- plus a few I took myself.


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

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Get Out! The Events Column, January 24 - 30, 2020

We wanted to share some events and activities that we thought would be of interest to list members. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 14,500+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, please email us at events @ fastmail dot net.

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv
www.cleveland-park.com 

Friday, January. 24 at 12 PM, "Letter from Birmingham Jail" Discussion. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Week, please join us for a discussion on "Letter from Birmingham Jail". Copies are available at the Reference Desk of the West End Library. The discussion will take place in the Conference Room and may last approximately one and a half hours. For more information, please contact my.nguyen @ dc dot gov. Free. The West End Library is at  2301 L St. NW. More info: https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66118

Friday, January 24 at 2 PM, Cello and Piano Concert. You are invited to Guy Mason Recreation Center for an afternoon of cello and piano! See cellist Igor Zubkovsky and pianist Anna Ouspenskaya perform live in concert - free. Please RSVP by email to guymasonevents @ gmail dot com or call 202-727-7527. Guy Mason Recreation Center is at 3600 Calvert St, NW.

Saturday, January 25 from 3 - 4:30 PM, Author Talk with Karine Jean-Pierre. Join us as we host former Obama White House staffer, and MoveOn.org's current Chief Public Affairs Officer for an author talk featuring political memoir, Moving Forward. Registration is encouraged, please click on http://bit.ly/2RfpICI to RSVP. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Free. At the Petworth Library, 4200 Kansas Ave. NW, https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66174

Saturday, January 25 1:30 - 4:30 PM Kennedy Center Chinese Family Day. The Kennedy Center welcomes you and your entire family to this free Lunar New Year party in honor of the Year of the Rat. Activities include a calligraphy demonstration, face painting, a dress-up photo booth featuring outfits from Cantonese opera, marionette puppets and red lantern-making. Guests will also be able to enjoy traditional Cantonese music demonstrations and an opera costume exhibit. At the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW. More info: https://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/XUIOE

Saturday, January 25, from 4:30 - 6 PM, A Warmer, Fuzzier Rodent? Rebranding the Year of the Rat: A Panel Discussion. Today marks the start of the Year of the Rat, the first of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac - and arguably the most problematic. Other animals that may seem less than noble when viewed through a western lens are the pig (whose year is often translated as Year of the Boar) and the chicken (given a stronger image with when translated as the term for the male of the species: Year of the Cock or Year of the Rooster), while the Year of the Cow is beefed up to become the Year of the Ox. Why does the rat (an even lowlier animal than a pig or a cow in standard Western iconography) not qualify for a similar linguistic upgrade? It’s entirely plausible to translate it as Year of the Mouse (it’s the same word in Chinese). Better still, picture another, more cuddly rodent - a hamster, say, or a chinchilla - in the lead-off role of the 12-year cycle. After the Kennedy Center Chinese Day festivities are done (see above for details), we will consider this matter under the guidance of a 3-person panel of experts, composed of a scholar of Chinese language, a translator of literary and historical works, and a public relations expert. Feel free to bring your own suggestions for a lovable rodent to take the place of the pestilent rat. If you can’t attend but wish to register your suggested rodent replacement name in advance, you may do so here: http://bit.ly/cpfakeevent. Free. At the Kennedy Center. 

Sunday, January 26 from 11 AM - 5 PM, Lunar New Year Celebration at the Freer|Sackler. The Smithsonian's Freer|Sackler, known for an extensive collection of vibrant and colorful Asian art, will ring in the Year of the Rat with its annual Lunar New Year celebration. Expect live musical performances, acrobatics, puppetry, a chance to sample spicy dishes and the opportunity to view Chinese art exhibitions. Free admission. The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Avenue SW. 

Saturday, January 25 from 6 - 9 PM, Katzen Arts Center Winter Opening Reception. Mix and mingle with artists, curators, and fellow patrons and view six new exhibitions at our Winter opening reception. Free and open to all, no RSVP required. The AU Katzen Museum is on Massachusetts Avenue at the northeast corner of Nebraska Ave at Ward Circle. For information on the artists and exhibitions, see   https://www.american.edu/cas/museum/upcoming.cfm  and  https://www.american.edu/calendar/?id=8515062

Sunday January 26 at 2 PM, DC’s Chinese New Year Parade. This annual parade is one of DC’s signature Chinese New Year celebrations. With dozens of entries, this year’s parade promises to be the largest and most diverse yet. Expect Chinese folk dancers, beauty queens, firecrackers, kung fu demonstrations, floats (including lions and dragons) and plenty of pageantry as the procession winds through Chinatown. Free. Parade route starts at  6th and I (Eye) Street NW and ends at the stage set up at 6th and H Street NW. To view the route go to https://dcparade.com/ and click on “parade route PDF). For more details about the event, go to: https://dcparade.com/faq/#1543462344653-59d9a154-ce75 

Sunday, January 26 at  3 PM, Concert: Pianist James Litzelman will present a multi-media/lecture-recital of Hungarian pianist Franz Liszt, focusing on Liszt's lesser-known religiously inspired compositions, using video and slides as well as piano music. The concert will be followed by a reception and the opening of a photography show. Free. At National United Methodist Church, 3401 Nebraska Avenue NW.

Sunday, January 26 at 6 PM, Dolphins of the Potomac. Profs and Pints presents: Dolphins of the Potomac, with Janet Mann, professor of biology and psychology at Georgetown University and author of Deep Thinkers: Inside the Minds of Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises. Having spent 30 years studying wild bottlenose dolphins 13,000 miles away, in Western Australia, Janet Mann was overjoyed to encounter them in the Potomac River, literally in her backyard. She responded by launching the Potomac-Chesapeake Dolphin Project, a research project that has documented more than 1200 individuals, including one they watched being born in the Potomac River. Come hear her give a fascinating talk on Potomac dolphins and what the local research project has found. You'll walk out eager for a chance to look out over local waters with a heightened sense of wonder, eager to spot our smart aquatic friends. Advance tickets: $12, available at http://bit.ly/37nNxxu. Doors: $15. Save $2 with student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please arrive in plenty of time to place any order and be seated and settled before the talk begins. At Bier Baron Tavern and Comedy Loft, 1523 22nd St NW

Monday, January 27 at 12 noon, Lecture: DC Slave Escapes Through Bladensburg, presented by Douglas P. McElrath, director of special collections, University of Maryland. During the 18th and 19th centuries, DC was steeped in pro-slavery sentiment. In this talk, Douglas McElrath tells the stories of enslaved people who escaped captivity through Bladensburg and northwest Washington between 1790 and 1850. When the Federal City was established in 1790, slavery was very much a part of the local economy. Enslaved individuals took many opportunities to escape their bondage in the Capital, using routes and paths through the northwestern region of the District. Often, slave owners would attempt to recapture theses runaway enslaved people, as George Washington did in 1796 with his enslaved servant Ona Judge. Attempts to recapture individuals was not always successfuly, and many people achieved their freedom from slavery in the District. Free, no rsvp needed. At The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, 701 21 Street, NW, https://museum.gwu.edu/dc-slave-escapes

Tuesday, January 28 from 5:15 - 6:45 PM, Open House with information about free music classes for children. The Junior Choir at Pilgrim Lutheran Church is now accepting new members for its community music program including opportunities to sing on Sunday services and for the upcoming Spring Musical Revue. The Spring Musical Revue includes selections from Annie, Lion King, The Sound of Music and The Boy From New York City. In the open house, children will enjoy singing, musical activities and snacks. Parents will learn more about this exciting FREE community program that gives children the opportunity to learn, perform and share the love for music in a fun, kind, and collaborative setting. All levels welcome from grades 3 to 8. Pilgrim Lutheran Church is at 5500 Massachusetts Avenue, Bethesda MD. Please RSVP: http://bit.ly/2RfeXQv

Tuesday, January 28 at 7 PM, Homelessness: A Panel Discussion. Join the Friends of the Tenley-Friendship Library and the DC Public Library for a panel discussion on homelessness.
Panelists will discuss causes and solutions to homelessness, the critical role outreach workers play in supporting people experiencing homelessness and ending homelessness for individuals, and how community members can be involved in advocacy efforts to end homelessness in the District. Panelists include: Jean Badalamenti, MSW, Health and Human Services Manager, DC Public Library; Alan Banks, Community Engagement Associate, Friendship Place; Antwan Gillis, Project Coordinator, Street Outreach Services, Friendship Place; Lara Pukatch, MA, Director of Advocacy, Miriam's Kitchen. Free. At Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave. NW. https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66235

Tuesday, January 28 at 7 PM, Book Hill Talks - Karl Popper in a Nutshell. Philosopher Mark Amadeus Notturno, a scholar specializing in epistemology, philosophy of science and the philosophy of logic, will be on hand to discuss the work of science philosopher Karl Popper. Free and open to all. At the Georgetown Library, 3260 R St. NW. More info: https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66096

Wednesday January 29 at 6:30 PM, Author’s Talk – The Insurgent Delegate: Selected Letters and Other Writings of George Thatcher. William C. diGiacomantonio, chief historian of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, discusses and signed copies of his edited volume of selected letters of George Thatcher, a US representative from Maine throughout the Federalist Era—the most critical and formative period of American constitutional history. The more than two hundred letters Thatcher wrote during his forty-year career as a country lawyer, national legislator, and state supreme court justice document his experiences as a New England Federalist, abolitionist, religious dissenter and pedagogical innovator. The talk will last approximately 45 minutes, followed by a book signing and refreshments. At Anderson House, Society of the Cincinnati, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue NW. Registration is required for this free event. More info: http://bit.ly/38ygKWR   

Thursday, January 30 from 8 - 10 PM, Dunedin Consort. Hear “Bach at his most ravishing” (The Independent) in what promises to be an extraordinary concert by Scotland’s Dunedin Consort. Led by harpsichordist and organist John Butt, a pre-eminent Bach scholar, the ensemble makes its first Washington appearance with an intimate, elegant band of eleven players, revealing the virtuosic instrumental writing of the composer’s cantatas and concerti, often heard in much larger configurations. This is an exceptional group, with performances marked by what The Times calls “the sheer sense of joy.” Pre-Concert Conversation with the Artists in Whittall Pavilion starts at 6:30 PM. Program includes: Orchestral Suite in B minor, BWV 1067; Cantata “Widerstehe doch der Sünde,” BWV 54; Brandenburg Concerto no. 4 in G major, BWV 1049; Cantata “Wergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust,” BWV 170; Brandenburg Concerto no. 5 in D major, BWV 1050. In the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building - Coolidge Auditorium (LJG45A), 10 1st Street SE. The event is free, but tickets are required, and there may be special restrictions. Click the link below for more information and to secure your ticket: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dunedin-consort-concert-tickets-66240610449. More information: https://www.loc.gov/item/event-398220/dunedin-consort/2020-01-30/      

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Still Life with Robin: TWC’s WS 26 for 19-20*

The Weather Channel 
by Peggy Robin


(* Translation: The Weather Channel’s Winter Storm List of 26 Names for the 2019-2020 Season)

Starting in  2012 and every year since, The Weather Channel has come up with an alphabetical list of names to give to the winter storms that meet certain criteria. And every year it’s given me the chance to write a column making fun of the names they choose. Oh, It’s been an easy target: TWC has got a laughable track record of silly names for storms. They select names that are too sweet (Polly or Violet in 2017-2018), or even contradictory to what a storm is all about (like Pax, from the 2013 list – it’s Latin for “peace), or too puzzling (what the hell kind of name is Vexo? Or Quid?) Or they pick names that are already inextricably linked to some other pop-culture icon (Wilbur in 2017 – I dare you to say that name without thinking of the pig in Charlotte’s web, or worse, the sitcom character who owned Mr. Ed the Talking Horse. Then there's Linus in 2014. Do you see a little boy holding a security blanket? I sure do!)

Just think about it: A huge storm hits -- thousands are left without power, suffering in the dark and the cold, the highways are littered with smashed up cars -- and some guy in a suit on the Weather Channel is standing there, announcing with a straight face, this damage was caused by Winter Storm Zoey (yes, that’s right – the personification of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, turned into a raging winter storm)

But things do change… and sometimes they even improve. I’ve looked over the Weather Channel’s list for the winter of 2019-2020, and I have to admit, there’s not much here to deride. All pretty solid. Take a look for yourself:

TWC’s 26 named storms for the winter 2019-2020:
Aubrey, Bessie, Caleb, Dorothy, Ezekiel, Finley, Gage, Henry, Isaiah, Jacob, Kade, Lamont, Mabel, Nash, Odell, Pearl, Quincey, Ruth, Sadie, Thatcher, Upton, Veronica, Wyatt, Xandra, Yates, Zachariah.

Well, I do have just one quibble – and it’s with the R on the list: “Ruth” literally means “compassion” and so I wouldn’t have picked that name for a destructive force of nature – but the dictionary definition of Ruth is not so widely known that it would sound jarring to most viewers of The Weather Channel if they tuned in and caught a warning to prepare for Winter Storm Ruth. (Is that a condescending assumption on my part? Possibly.)

So where are we now in this storm season? Well, the one that just dusted us with flakes today is the outer edge of Winter Storm Jacob (the biblical patriarch, who wrestled all night with an angel – quite appropriate!).

If you are looking for a harmless way to waste your time on a dreary day in January, you can journey back through all seven years of TWC’s storm names with these links to the past:


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

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Get Out! The Events Column, January 17 - 23, 2020

MLK image from DC Public Library
We wanted to share some events and activities that we thought would be of interest to list members. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 14,500+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, please email us at events @ fastmail dot net.

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv

Friday, January 17 at 12:30 PM, Lunch Bite Lecture: British Military Wall Gun. Join Society of the Cincinnati’s Executive Director Jack Warren for a discussion of a Revolutionary War-period British military wall gun and its unique role in eighteenth-century warfare. With an overall length of more than six feet, a weight exceeding thirty-five pounds and a .98-caliber bore that fired a lead ball up to a mile, the wall gun was intended as a fixed weapon in the defense of fortifications during siege warfare. In America, where they were imported beginning before the French and Indian War, British and colonial troops also used wall guns as mobile artillery and along the decks of ships. The example recently acquired for the Institute’s collections was privately made in London by William Brander, ca. 1755, following the British military pattern established in 1738. The presentation will last approximately 30 minutes with time afterwards for up-close viewing of the gun. Free. At Anderson House, Society of the Cincinnati, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue NW. More info: https://www.societyofthecincinnati.org/events/public  

Friday, January 17 from 6:30 - 8 PM, History Happy Hour at the Sandy Spring Museum: Wire Guys and Shooters: The Best of Sports Journalism. Writer Steve Ginsburg (a wire guy) and photographer Mark Goldman (a shooter) will regale us with anecdotes about covering the world of sports, from the pressures of being a “wire guy” – the journalists who write the stories that get fed to thousands of newspapers and broadcasters throughout the world – to the challenge of “shooters” – those who take the jaw-dropping images during the most crucial moments of a big game. This program, which is being held in conjunction with Actions and Reactions: Sports Photography by Mark Goldman, examines the intense pressure of writing a compelling account of the biggest events in sports – the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the World Series – and capturing the images that provide the visual documentation. Steven Ginsburg was the North American Sports Editor for Reuters for thirty years. Mark Goldman has been a sports photographer for over thirty-five years. His photos have appeared in every major sports publication including covers of the venerable magazine Sports Illustrated. Ticket prices -$15 for Museum members, $20 for non-members - include happy hour drinks and snacks. Reserve your spot: http://bit.ly/362I8ud. Sandy Spring Museum is at 17901 Bentley Rd, Sandy Spring, MD 

Saturday, January 18 at 9:30 AM, Meet-up to March to the Women’s March. Come join with others for the 3rd Women's March, which will take place starting at Freedom Plaza this Saturday (gathering from 10-11 AM, march starts at 11 AM). Foundation Fit co-owner Dega Schembri invites you to join with her and others for a pre-march gathering at Foundation Fitness, 3525 Connecticut Avenue NW, for coffee, tea and snacks at 9:30 AM, and then starting at 10 AM, the group will walk the 3.2 miles to Freedom Plaza (or you may choose to take Metro). For more info on the Women’s March and to register, go to: https://womensmarch.com/2020-march-info. Please RSVP at (202) 537-0539 if you plan on joining with us and Marching to the March! It’s on, whatever the weather.

Saturday, January 18 from 12 - 5 PM, Fire and Ice Festival at DC Wharf. Some like it hot, some like it cold. Join The Wharf for the second annual Fire & Ice Festival, featuring the WAFF Ice House (benefit for Washington Area Fuel Fund). Enter to win exciting prizes, see local celebrities “chill” in the house, try out the "Bring the Heat" thermal photo booth, and enjoy face-painting, fire twirlers, an ice sculptor, music with DJ, whiskey sampling stations, and more!. At 2 PM you will have a chance to meet  former Redskin Brian Mitchell and Washington Bullet Phil Chenier. There is no admission charge to visit the Ice House. All are welcome. At District Pier, 101 District Square SW. More info: http://bit.ly/2Nu5vXi   

Saturday, January 18 9 AM - 5 PM & Sunday, January 19, 9 AM - 4 PM, NBC4 Health & Fitness Expo - two days of free fun, fitness and information to inspire and motivate you to make 2020 your best year yet. When you arrive, be sure to grab a program for the complete weekend schedule and a map so you can make the most of your experience. Many faves from previous years will be returning, including health cooking demos, rock climbing, free group workouts, yoga and meditation, World of Dance and the Zumba Zone. At the Sustainability Learning Lab in the Changing Climate/Alerta Verde area, discover how to travel without compromising your ethics or health, how to detox your home, how to grow food in small spaces and more. At our Hazte Contar/Be Counted space, get information on the 2020 US Census and learn how you can register to vote. You can see what it's like to be a meteorologist in front of a green screen at the NBC4/T44 booth; undergo health screenings, including for vision, hearing, blood pressure and breast health, and get information on health insurance, addiction/recovery and more. You can also get a flu shot. If you're in search of a job, you can speak with recruiters at a job fair at the expo. All free. At the  Walter E. Washington Convention Center --take the Metro (Green or Yellow line) to Mount Vernon Square/7th Street-Convention Center. The Gallery Place-Chinatown station (Red, Green and Yellow lines) is also just a short walk away. 

Sunday January 20 from 3 - 9:30 PM,The 5th Annual Jazz and Freedom Festival, an MLK weekend celebration of live music, learning and activism, presented by CapitalBop, Shannon Gunn and Eaton DC, featuring Todd Marcus, Cristian Perez, Angel Bethea, the Jazz and Freedom Octet, and poet/community advocate Claudia Rojas .This music festival gathers members of DC’s overlapping communities of artists, activists and audiences for a day of music and conversation around a different social justice issue. It also operates as a benefit for a community organization doing activist work in the DMV: Empower DC in 2015, Black Lives Matter DMV in 2016, WPFW 89.3 FM in 2017, and the Capitol Hill Jazz Foundation in 2019. This year, our partner organization is actually a coalition: ICE Out of DC, a group of organizations committed to fighting the abusive behavior of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents within DC communities. Give what you can (suggested donation $20) - all proceeds benefit ICE Out of DC. At Eaton DC, 1201 K St. NW, Full schedule of activities available here: http://bit.ly/3731AZh   

Monday, January 20 from 11 AM - 5 PM, MLK Day Peace Walk, Parade and Health Fair. Please join Mayor Muriel Bowser and members of the Bowser Administration for the 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Peace Walk and Parade! Join us in honoring a great American hero in the nation's capital of a country that will be forever changed by his legacy. All are welcome! We will assemble at 11 AM am at the intersection of MLK Jr. Ave SE and Good Hope Road SE. There will also be a Health and Community Fair at the R.I.S.E. Gateway Pavilion (2730 MLK Ave SE) from 12 noon - 3 PM. Free. Register (not required) at http://bit.ly/2u3EgMo  

Monday January 20 at 1 PM, For Toni: A Tribute to Toni Morrison.You are invited to Tenley Friendship Library to see Liberated Muse, the all-female arts collective, bring Toni Morrison's life and work to life in an hour-long musical and spoken word performance. More info: https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66187. Free. At the Tenley Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Ave. NW 

Monday January 20 at 3 PM, The Essential Theater Presents: 1001 Black Inventions. Written and directed by Ersky Freeman, 1001 Black Inventions is an eye-opening play that introduces audiences to brilliant black men and women inventors. Audiences will be taken into the twilight zone utilizing a typical American family attempting to survive in a world without inventions created by Africans and African Americans. Be prepared to laugh yourself into the realization that black ingenuity is an integral part of your everyday life. Free. One Performance Only: Seating is first-come first-served. At Anacostia Library, 1800 Good Hope Road SE More info: https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66167 

Tuesday, January 21 at 6 PM, Author talk and book signing by retired Washington Post columnist Bob Levey - presented by Northwest Neighbors Village. Join us as Bob Levey discusses the “The Golden Era at The Washington Post." Bob will also be available to sign copies of his recently published first novel, “Larry Felder, Candidate,” which will be available for sale. It’s the story of a famous Washington columnist who abandons journalism to run for Congress in the Maryland suburbs. Larry’s path is anything but smooth. He confronts love, corruption, those pesky newspaper reporters and the unforeseen. But the good guys win in the end, and loyalty wins most of all. Free admission. At Forest Hills of DC (4901 Connecticut Ave., NW - in the Assembly Hall). RSVP here: https://nwnv.helpfulvillage.com/events/665 

Tuesday, January 21 at 7 PM, Tuesday Talk: "Science, Innovation, and Job Creation for a New Era" with Simon Johnson, MIT Sloan School of Management. Simon Johnson discusses his new book, “Jump-Starting America,” which proposes increased support for science to spread opportunities around the country, and to create an Innovation Dividend that puts cash in the pockets of all Americans. Simon Johnson is the Ronald A. Kurtz (1954) Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he is also head of the Global Economics and Management group and chair of the Sloan Fellows MBA Program Committee. He cofounded and currently leads the Global Entrepreneurship Lab (GLAB) course, which has jump-started start-up companies around the world. At the Cleveland Park Library at 3310 Connecticut Ave NW. Free and open to the public. Seating is on a first come first serve basis, so please come early to get your choice of seats. RSVPs are strongly encouraged: http://bit.ly/36ZpG77. This event is brought to you by the Cleveland Park Business Association, Cleveland and Woodley Park Village, and DC Public Library.

Wednesday, January 22 at 6 PM, Movie Night at West End Library: Martin Luther King Jr: We Shall Overcome. Visit West End library for a screening of “Martin Luther King Jr: We Shall Overcome.” This historical compilation features highlights of major speeches given by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The film is not rated, and should end around 6:50 PM. Free. At the West End Library, 2301 L St. NW, https://www.dclibrary.org/node/65963 

Wednesday, January 22 at 6 PM, Book Talk: John White Alexander on the Verge of Being Modern. Join Mary Anne Goley, former director of the Fine Arts Program of the Federal Reserve Board, as she discusses her recent book, John White Alexander: An American Artist in the Gilded Age. Goley shares insights into the portraits that made John White Alexander famous and the visual culture of the late nineteenth century. Stay for a book signing after the talk. Free. At the Smithsonian American Art Museum, MacMillan Education Center, 8th and F Streets NW. More info: https://s.si.edu/363OOs1 

Thursday, January 23 at 7 PM, Stargazing with Telescopes at the Cleveland Park Library. Join us at the Cleveland Park Library for a very special late-night event! Come to the garden outside the Children's Room to hear local astronomy experts talk about the night sky, the International Space Station and the winter hexagon. We will look at the stars through telescopes. Please dress warmly! Rain or snow date: Thursday, Jan. 30. Free. The Cleveland Park Library is at 3310 Connecticut Ave. NW, https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66224 

Thursday, January 23 at 10 PM, Bait an Astronomer: Any Idiot Can Play! Have you ever had a sneaking desire to drive someone crazy over something absolutely bats? Come to our fun little game called "Bait an Astronomer" and immediately following the "Stargazing with Telescopes" event shown above, try it out on the unsuspecting, legitimate scientists who study the stars. All you have to do is confuse the word "astronomer" with "astrologer" -- and after you've been corrected and perhaps been told (patiently, logically, but perhaps with an exasperated sigh) that astrology is superstition and astronomy is what real scientists do), you, and any others who have come to make mischief, can keep conflating the two, and follow-up by asking seemingly serious questions about how the stars in the zodiac influence our lives from birth. Keep doing it until you get a rise out of someone - then you've won (the prize of being an Idiot). Free and open to all. To register for this event and receive a few sample questions and comments to throw at astronomers, go to: http://bit.ly/cpfakeevent

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Still Life with Robin: Restaurant Week Is More Than a Good Marketing Gimmick

Photo by Bill Adler

by Peggy Robin

It started out as a marketing gimmick: Pick a normally slow time for the dining-out crowd and declare it “Restaurant Week,” and offer some enticing prix-fixe deals for a three-course meal, and prest-o-change-o, your slowest week turns into hard-to-get-a-table time. People who normally wouldn’t brave the cold and/or snow/wind/ice are coming out to sit by your hearth (if you have one) and enjoy some cold-weather comfort food at warm, inviting prices.

Here we are, nineteen years later, and the marketing gimmick has turned into a Fine Old Washington Tradition. And it’s one that keeps on finding new adherents to keep it going strong. How else can newcomers, lower-earning millennials, and anyone else on a strained budget get a chance to sample the fare at some of DC’s three-to-five star restaurants, which are also usually $$$ to $$$$ in the Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants Guide

Your chance to eat out for less than you would during Rest-of-Restaurant-Year starts on Monday, January 13 and ends on Sunday, January 19, 2020. There’s usually a Summer Restaurant Week as well, for those of you who don’t summer elsewhere. (If you’re wondering whether “summer” can be used as a verb, that means you don’t own a summer cottage on The Vineyard. If you spend a week or even a month at Ocean City or Rehoboth, no, that does not count as “summering” anywhere.)

During this Winter Restaurant Week, you can have lunch or brunch at any of the hundreds of participating restaurants for $22; dinner is $35.

If you would like to spend your Restaurant Week dollars right here in the neighborhood (what a good idea!) - here’s what comes up when you go to the Restaurant Week website at https://www.ramw.org/restaurantweek and then select “Cleveland Park” from the “Neighborhood” search box:

Sababa
3311 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 244-6750

Bindaas
3311 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 244-6550

La Piquette
3714 Macomb Street NW
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 686-2015

Silver Cathedral Heights
3404 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 851-3199

Can’t go wrong with any of the above!
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Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Get Out! The Events Column, January 9 - 16, 2020

Galette des Rois
We wanted to share some events and activities that we thought would be of interest to list members. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 14,500+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, please email us at events @ fastmail dot net.

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv
www.cleveland-park.com

Friday, January 10 from 7 - 9 PM, Soirée Galette des Rois. The Alliance Française of Washington DC's Galette des Rois super evening will let you test your knowledge of French songs, French films, and French literature in a mega blind test! Join us for an evening of fun, laughs and games and of course for King Cake and Wine! Free for AFDC members and Cultura Pass holders. General Admission: $10 - 1 free slice of Galette des Rois and 1 glass of wine included. The member discount is applicable for one ticket per member; guests must pay the non-member price. Advanced registration (online, by phone, or in person) highly recommended as events sell out quickly. If tickets are available, the AFDC can accept payment at the door by credit card, check, or cash (exact change only). Purchase tickets online at:  https://www.francedc.org/eventbrite/86345235925. Alliance Française is at 2142 Wyoming Ave, NW.

Friday, January from 7:30 - 9:30 PM, Broomball & Brews at the Ice Rink at The Wharf. Join us for a fun, free game of broomball! This hockey-like game originated in Canada and we’re paying tribute to our neighbors to the north with some friendly competition on our ice rink.Want to play? Sign-ups are on-site (no advance registration available). Beginners are welcome and encouraged. Come alone or bring friends to form your own team of eight people. A goalie is provided for each team. No ice skates needed, but please wear soft-soled tennis shoes. All equipment will be provided. Spectators are welcome, too! Cheer on the players and learn the game from the sidelines—with a winter brew in hand, of course. Please note: This is a 21+ event. The Wharf is at 760 Maine Ave SW. More information: https://www.wharfdc.com/upcoming-events/2018-01-09-broomball-brews/

Saturday, January 11 from 10 - 11 AM, Kids Galette des Rois in the Library at Alliance Francaise. Who wants to become King or Queen for the day? Join us in the AFDC Library to learn more about this quintessential French pastry, grab a slice of the galette, and hopefully find la fêve inside! Galette slices will be available for AFDC Members, $3; Non-members, $5. Questions? Email children @ francedc dot org. Purchase tickets online at http://bit.ly/2t4TLnd. Alliance Française is at 2142 Wyoming Ave, NW

Saturday, January 11 from 11 AM - 3 PM, Mayor Muriel Bowser's Multicultural Resource Fair. The Multicultural Resource Fair is an opportunity for District residents to learn more about immigration legal services and health resources. Join us for this event to get free health screenings, sit in on Know Your Rights workshops, enroll in a health insurance plan and more! Spanish, French, Amharic, Vietnamese, Mandarin and Korean interpretation services will be provided. Free. At the Columbia Heights Educational Campus, 3101 16th Street NW. Free. Register: http://bit.ly/2sPWQHL   

Saturday January 11 at 2 PM, Enduring Visions: Arts Spaces in Washington, DC 1975 - 1996. Washington, D.C. was home to many independent art spaces in the 1970s and 1980s. One of these venues was the Washington Women’s Arts Center, founded in 1975 and located at 1821 Q Street NW. Another art space was Botswana, located inside the Washington Project for the Arts building at 400 7th Street NW, for just two years: 1985-1987. Learn how these spaces - special then, but even more rare now - offered a unique, artistic and creative quality to the city’s landscape through the people who were involved in these two venues. Ray Barker, Archivist with DC Public Library, will lead a conversation with Judith Benderson and Lucy Blankstein of the Washington Women’s Arts Center, and Lynn McCary and Paula Schumann, of Botswana. Through presentations and conversations, attendees will leave learning how these spaces began and by whom, learn of the artists and artwork they featured and of the legacy left behind. Registration requested, but not required: http://bit.ly/35xi7Ty. This event is in partnership with the National Gallery of Art. At the Shaw (Watha T. Daniel) Library, 1630 7th St. NW. More info: https://www.dclibrary.org/node/65867

Sunday, January 12 from 4 - 6 PM, Concert: The Apollo Orchestra, featuring renowned violist Roberto Diaz and distinguished organist Julie Vidrick Evans. Mr. Diaz is the president and an alumnus of the Curtis Institute of Music. He was the principal viola in the Philadelphia Orchestra and principal viola in the National Symphony. Ms. Vidrick-Evans has performed as a soloist and with distinguished ensembles across the U.S. and Europe. The program will consist of works by Malcolm Arnold, concerto for organ and orchestra, op 47, movement 3; Bizet, Suite #1 from L'arlesienne; Jennifer Higdon, concerto for violin and orchestra; and Felix Mendellsohn, symphony #3 in A minor, op 56 "Scottish." At Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church, One Chevy Chase Circle NW. This concert is free and open to the public - no RSVPs are necessary.

Monday January 13 at 1 PM, Documentary Monday: King in the Wilderness. This documentary follows Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the volatile last three years of his life. Free and open to all. At Georgetown Library, 3260 R St. NW, https://www.dclibrary.org/node/66134

Monday, January 13 2020 at 7 PM, The American Story: An Evening With David Rubenstein. Join Cathedral Dean Randy Hollerith in an evening of conversation with philanthropist David M. Rubenstein to discuss his new book, “The American Story: Conversations With Master Historians.” Rubenstein’s new book spans the breadth of American history to explore the lives of some of our most beloved leaders, from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln to Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. The compilation of interviews with notable historians and journalists examines the lessons of history and the values that underpin public leadership. As co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group, Rubenstein is a proponent of “Patriotic Philanthropy,” and has made transformative gifts to Monticello, the National Archives, the National Zoo, the Library of Congress, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian Institution and George Washington’s Mount Vernon. He was a singular force in repairing earthquake damage to the Washington Monument. The intimate discussion is presented by the Institute for Ethics and Public Engagement of the new Cathedral College of Faith & Culture at Washington National Cathedral, which fosters conversations and collaborations that inspire and challenge. Free, but your RSVP is appreciated: http://bit.ly/2N5pDPh. Please note that this does not guarantee entry. Doors open at 6:15 PM. At Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Monday, January 13 from 7 - 9 PM, Curling & Cocktails at the Wharf Ice Rink. Clean the ice and aim your stone to the house. Ready to try curling? This Olympic cult favorite marries shuffleboard and hockey for a fun, easy to play game on the ice. Sign-ups are on-site (no advance registration), beginners are welcome and encouraged. Come with a friend or we'll match you with a partner when you arrive. Please wear soft-soled tennis shoes, no skates allowed. All other equipment will be provided. You must be 8+ to play. Limit 300 people per evening and we do fill up fast. The DC Wharf is at 760 Maine Avenue SW. More info: https://www.wharfdc.com/upcoming-events/2019-01-07-curling-cocktails/

Tuesday, January 14 at 4 PM, Karaoke at Georgetown Library. Grace us with a solo, or a duet. We provide the karaoke machine and snacks, you provide the voices. This program is for ages 9 and up. Free. Georgetown Library is at 3260 R St. NW. More info: https://www.dclibrary.org/node/65764

Tuesday, January 14 at 6 PM, Karaoke Blackmail. Immediately following the conclusion of Karaoke at Georgetown Library (see above item), stick around to view a playback of your performance captured on our digital recording equipment. If you are totally embarrassed by what you see, you can prevent dissemination of your voice and image by making a payment in bitcoin to the Karaoke Group for Blackmail (KGB). To find out how much it will cost you to save your dignity and protect your professional reputation if and when potential employers are reviewing your online profile, go to: http://bit.ly/cpfakeevent

Wednesday, January 15 at 4 PM, Winter Party at Georgetown Library. Come celebrate the winter chilly weather with us. Snow crafts, stories and a movie to enjoy the snowy season. Free. Georgetown Library is at 3260 R St. NW. More info: https://www.dclibrary.org/node/65750

Thursday, January 16 from 1:30 - 2:15 PM, Tour: Travel the Tropics - led by Angela Weber Hetrick, USBG Gardener. Join Angela for a talk and walk on the ‘wild side’ as you explore the Tropics in our Conservatory. Discover some of the many plants found on our diverse planet, from the Amazon Rainforest to the Yucatan Peninsula, as you trek through our canopy walk and view some spectacular bloomers. Come for a 45-minute tour and learn about a new plant or two! Tour will meet in the Conservatory Garden Court of the United States Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave SW. Free, pre-registration required: http://bit.ly/2QT0Fnf 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Still Life with Robin: It's the Blanking Twenties!

by Peggy Robin

We finally have entered a decade with an easy-to-say name. It’s The Twenties! Now, it’s still lacking an adjective, like “Roaring” for the 1920s or “Swinging” for the 1960s. But good adjectives don’t come easily – it can take a few years to earn one. Give it a little time.

For the past two decades, we’ve lacked any sort of adjective to sum up our 10-year timespans. Not just lacking an adjective, we’ve lacked something more basic: a noun. There’s been no general consensus about what to call either the first or the second decade of the century. For the years 2010 – 2019, some people said “The Tens” while others said “The Teens.” To those who like “The Teens,” I say, “What about 2010, 2011, and 2012?” Aren’t those “The Tweens”?

For the years 2000 – 2009 the situation was even worse. The Aughts? I never actually heard a living soul call it that. The Ohs? Or maybe the Oh-Ohs. I think I saw that in print once or twice. By writers trying to be cute. If you’re in the mood for more such cuteness, you’ll like this 1998 piece by Washington Post staff writer Linton Weeks, on the coming “Oh Oh Decade”: https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/columns/navigator/980604/front.htm

(I wish I could claim that I discovered that Post article myself when researching this piece on what to call decades, but I must give credit where it's due -- to Washingtonian writer, Andrew Beaujon, who included the link in his very true, informative and amusing piece, “Finally, A Decade Whose Name We Can Agree On”: https://www.washingtonian.com/2019/12/31/finally-a-decade-whose-name-we-can-agree-on/

While others hash out what to call each decade, we have no argument when it comes to naming the generations. Not only do we have a well-established brand for those born between 1980 and 1995 – all hail The Millennials -- who have recently overtaken the Baby Boomers as the most populous generation alive today), but we now have not one, but TWO post-Millennial generations that have been defined and named. Those born in the 15-year span (1996-2010) following the end of the Millennial generation are known collectively as Gen Z. If you’re wondering what happened to Gen Y – that’s the original name proposed for the Millennials, but it never really caught on. The day that Neil Howe and William Strauss came out with their 1991 book Generations, which contained their coinage of the term Millennials, that became the term everyone used, and Gen Y hardly ever saw ink. But Gen Z looks to have staying power.

And what comes after Z? The answer appears to involve a switchover to the Greek alphabet: Gen Alpha is what turns up when you google, “What comes after Generation Z?” And that should hold us for the next 360 years! (24 letters in the Greek alphabet times 15-ish years per each named generation). Of course, the naming mavens could always tire of Greek letters and come up with something unexpected….. I've never claimed to have 2020 vision into the future.

But enough of such idle speculation. Let’s start this decade with a helpful hint of immediate utility. Here it is:

When handwriting the date on  checks or legal documents all this year, be sure to write out the year with all four digits. Example: Write 1/4/2020 rather than 1/4/20. Why? So that some troublemaker can’t come along and add two more digits to the 20, turning it into another year – perhaps one in the past, making your check outdated.

Why would anyone do such a thing? Not sure, but why give them the opportunity? Security experts are telling us, if you can keep this from happening by writing two more digits, just do it. The fact-checking website Snopes.com looked into this virally-spreading security warning and deemed it credible: https://www.snopes.com/collections/debunker-01-03-2020/. Of course, what they didn’t check into is the bigger assumption in this warning – that anyone is still hand-writing dates on important documents. Who still does that in 2020?!

Have a nice decade!
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Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Get Out! The Events Column, January 3 - 12, 2020

Gala Theatre's Three Kings Day Fiesta
We wanted to share some events and activities that we thought would be of interest to list members. Have a great weekend -- and week beyond, too. If you know of an event that the 14,500+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, please email us at events @ fastmail dot net.

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv
Home Page: https://groups.io/g/clevelandpark    
Info Pages: www.cleveland-park.com   

Friday, January 3 from 6 - 9 PM, First Friday Dupont Art Walk. Join us at Hillyer International Arts & Artists on  the first Friday of the month during First Friday Dupont Art Walk! This January, we're featuring solo exhibitions by Tessa Click, Neil Forrest, and Noel Kassewitz. IA&A is at 9 Hillyer Court NW. Free, $8 suggested donation. More info: http://bit.ly/2ZHnf6o. Other galleries around Dupont Circle also participate in First Friday Dupont Art Walk, including ArtJamz, http://artjamz.co/menu, offering a creative experience and party (ticket prices vary - see  http://artjamz.co/menu for options). ArtJamz is at 1728 Connecticut Avenue NW

Saturday, January 4 at 2 PM, Make a Vision Board. Visioning is a fun and useful tool for setting intentions, accomplishing goals and broadening your imagination. In this drop-in session, you can design your very own vision board and start the new decade on the right track. All supplies will be provided. Please register at http://bit.ly/labsclasses to reserve your spot. This class is a production of the Labs at DC Public Library. Click on https://www.dclibrary.org/labsatdcpl for more information about the Labs and to sign up for updates about classes and services. Free. At Fab Test Lab, 2000 14th St NW, https://www.dclibrary.org/node/65925 

Sunday, January 5 from 10:30 - 11:15 AM, Family Fun: The Great Zucchini. The Great Zucchini, Washington's funniest and most magical preschool & kindergarten entertainer, performs a colorful magic show where every child is a star and guaranteed to laugh! For over 20 years, The Great Zucchini has been entertaining young children with a hands-on, interactive magic show. His experience, coupled with his gentle nature and wacky facial expressions, makes kids immediately feel comfortable and ready to laugh. Admission: $5 - tickets required for all ages - advance tickets at http://bit.ly/2MMbdmV. All adult ticket holders will be able to enjoy our normal weekday happy hour - $4 pours of house cider, $5 craft beer, $6 local wine & $7 cocktails. Doors open at 10 AM. Full food and drink menus will be available. This is a family-friendly event and the show is geared toward children aged 2-7 years old. At Capitol Cider House, 3930 Georgia Avenue NW. 

Sunday, January 5 at 2 PM, Fiesta de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day). Don’t miss GALA Theatre’s traditional Three Kings Day celebration, featuring the Magi, live animals, local performers, a walk through the neighborhood, and gifts for every child. Free for the entire family! Tickets will be distributed at the GALA box office at 12:00 PM for the 2 pm show. Procession with animals at 1:30 PM. No tickets reserved by phone. Maximum 6 tickets per person in line. For more information, email info @ galatheatre dot org or go to http://bit.ly/2jf5gSH   

Monday, January 6 at 4:30 PM, Kid's Art Time. Learn about famous artists and their artistic style! We will begin by reading a story about a famous artist and then try our hands at creating masterpieces in a similar style. If you like creating art in various mediums and expressing yourself creatively, then join us! Ages 4 and up welcome. Free. At Mt. Pleasant Library, 3160 16th St. NW, entrance on Lamont St. https://www.dclibrary.org/node/64960

Tuesday, January 7 at 4 PM, Art Attack: Gyotaku. Learn fascinating facts about a famous artist or artistic style and create art inspired by their masterpieces. This month, we’ll be looking at printmaking. Free. At Georgetown Library, 3260 R St. NW, https://www.dclibrary.org/node/65751 

Tuesday, January 7, at 8 PM, The first day of the Jeopardy GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) Tournament, featuring Ken Jennings (holding the record for most consecutive wins at 74 games); James Holzhauer (holding the record for the most money ever won in a single game - actually holding that record 10 times over!); and Brad Rutter (holding the record for the most money won overall - and the only player who’s undefeated by a human being, losing only to Watson the IBM computer). The multi-day tournament starts at 8 PM on ABC. Not exactly a Cleveland Park event - though Jeopardy is so popular in Cleveland Park that the tournament deserves its space in this events column. We’ve given it the space normally reserved for the Weekly Fake Event http://bit.ly/cpfakeevent - how could any made-up event be as fun as the Jeopardy GOAT?! Location: Any TV in the US.

Wednesday, January 8 at 12:30 PM, Organ Demonstration. A Cathedral organist gives a short talk about the 10,650-pipe great organ followed by a mini-recital. Free. At Washington National Cathedral, Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues, NW. More info: https://cathedral.org/event/organ-demonstration-2/2020-01-08/

Thursday, January 9 at 6 PM, House History 101 by Washingtoniana. This hands-on workshop will teach people how to research the history of their DC house using primary sources in Washingtoniana. Researchers will learn to use building permits, historic maps, city directories, newspapers and other resources to find out about the building and the people associated with it.
This workshop will last two hours. Reservations requested; please reserve a ticket today: http://bit.ly/36hBwJF. Go to Dig DC at http://bit.ly/36h1OM2 for more information about the home pictured on the reservation link. Washingtoniana is at 4340 Connecticut Ave. NW. More info:  https://www.dclibrary.org/node/65868   

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Still Life with Robin: No 2020 Perfect Vision Puns Here!

Supermoon over the Lincoln Memorial (NASA)

by Peggy Robin

2020 is just a few days away – a good time to take a peek at the year to come. No puns here about perfect vision to see what’s ahead – just a run-through of a few noteworthy dates, historic anniversaries, and astronomical events.

First of all, 2020 is a leap year! Pregnant ladies with a due date around the end of February, your child could be a Leapling! And spend a lifetime hearing lame jokes about being just three in 2032, and four in 2036, ad nauseum….

Next on the agenda: the year’s palindrome date(s). In case you didn’t know, a palindrome date reads the same forwards and backwards -- and there’s only one in 2020:  February 2, 2020. That’s 02-02-2020 – the only day in the 21st century that’s a palindrome in both month/day/year format AND day/month/year format. If you give birth to a child on this day, may we suggest the following baby names: Girls: Anna, Ada, Eve, Hannah. Boys: Bob, Otto.

On to the Year in Astronomy (all events are from SeaSky.org - http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-2020.html)

Let’s start with the Supermoons. Those are full moons that appear larger and brighter than usual, occurring when a full moon closely coincides with perigee, the moon’s closest point to Earth in its monthly orbit. There are four Supermoons this year: February 9, March 9, April 8, and May 7.

Next up: the Blue Moon (that’s a second full moon in the same month). You’ll see it on Halloween, October 31, 2020. Of course, it’s not a great rarity as the phrase, “once in a blue moon” implies. You might think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon when it’s actually something that happens every 2-3 years. The next one after the Halloween Blue Moon of 2020 will be on August 1, 2023. [You can see the list of blue moon through 2039 here: https://www.moongiant.com/Blue_Moon_Calendar.php]

From the moon to the sun:  There will be a total solar eclipse in 2020, but you will need to go to the southern hemisphere to see it. The path of totality will only be visible in parts of southern Chile and southern Argentina. A partial eclipse will be visible in most parts of southern South America, the southeastern Pacific Ocean and the southern Atlantic Ocean. [NASA Map and Eclipse Information - https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEsearch/SEsearchmap.php?Ecl=20201214]

And on to the planets: On the winter solstice, December 21, 2020, get yourself access to a telescope to view the rare conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. “This rare conjunction of these two planets is known as a great conjunction. The last great conjunction occurred in the year 2000. The two bright planets will appear only 7 arc minutes of each other in the night sky. They will be so close that they will appear to make a bright double planet. Look to the west just after sunset for this impressive and rare planetary pair.” [Description from http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-2020.html]

From the heavenly bodies to earthly personages – here are some noteworthy birthdays and anniversaries.

On January 19, we can celebrate the 100th birthday of the ACLU.

In the spring and summer, you will be sure to hear a lot about the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. May 8th marks the end of the war in Europe and September 2nd marks the end of the war in the Pacific.

On May 8th, you can blow out 200 birthday candles for Florence Nightingale, the mother of modern nursing. Or just celebrate with any nurse that you know.

On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is passed – so this August 26 is the centennial of women’s suffrage.

On November 11th it’s the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower at Cape Cod. They remained on the ship and signed the Mayflower Compact. The explored the coast for a place to make their permanent settlement and arrived at Plymouth Rock on December 21, 1620.

Sometime around the middle of December (no one is sure of the exact date!), we can celebrate the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven. Play the Ode to Joy!

And now for an anniversary that really, really takes us back…..2,500 years to 480 BC (August or September, it’s hard to be sure) to the Battle of Thermopylae. Don’t know about this ancient, world-changing battle? It was dramatized in the movie “300” with King Leonidas (played by Gerard Butler) and the 300 Spartans heroically holding off the Persians at the pass at Thermopylae. They all died, but they cost the Persians 20,000 men and arguably bought time for the Greeks to reevaluate, change strategy and ultimately end the Persian invasion.  The dominance of the Greek Empire in the ancient world has all kinds of reverberations throughout the history of the West, too numerous to mention. But just think of what it would be like if the Persians had won, and we ended up using Persian letters for our college fraternities and sororities!

When someone looks back hundreds or even thousands of years from 2020, let’s hope it’s for the good things that happened, not the bad!

Happy New Year to All!
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Still Life with Robin is published on The Cleveland ParkListserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.   

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Get Out! The Events Column, December 27, 2019 - January 2, 2020


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 14,500+ members of the Cleveland Park Listserv should know about, email us at events @ fastmail dot net.

Peggy Robin and Bill Adler
Publishers, Cleveland Park Listserv
www.cleveland-park.com   

Friday, December 27 from 11 AM - 2 PM, Kwanzaa at the Anacostia Family Museum. Bring the entire family for the museum’s annual Kwanzaa celebration program. Enjoy energetic and interactive introduction to Kwanzaa with Melvin Deal and the African Heritage Dancers & Drummers. The audience participatory program includes dancers, singers, music, colorful costumes, and lively characters designed for young children and adults alike. During the performance and afterwards, kids can also enjoy making Kwanzaa-inspired arts and crafts from a variety of materials. Art workshops will be led artist/educators Brian Barber and Alma Robinson. Free fun for the entire family! Register: http://bit.ly/34SkGzl. Please note that registration does not guarantee a seat. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. At THEARC: Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus, 1901 Mississippi Avenue SE.

Saturday, December 28 from 10 - 11 AM, Ceremonial Laying of Wreath on President Wilson’s Tomb at Washington National Cathedral. We invite you to join us as representatives from the US military services lay a wreath on President Wilson’s tomb on the 163rd anniversary of his birth. Following the presentation of the wreath, the Woodrow Wilson House will honor First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson with a special floral tribute commemorating the anniversary of her death which falls on December 28th as well. Edith Wilson, a lover of orchids, inspired Chadwick & Son Orchids to develop an orchid named for her that will be included in the spray. This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome. Please note: This event begins promptly at 10 AM, when doors open to the public. Those planning to attend should arrive at least 15 minutes in advance and look for signs directing you to a before-hours entrance that will be open from 9:30 AM. Washington National Cathedral is at Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues NW. More info: http://bit.ly/2PSGFC9 

Saturday, December 28 from 10 AM - 12 PM, Walking Tour: Frederick Douglass & Howard University. Learn about the lost history of Frederick Douglass and Howard University from author of "Frederick Douglass in Washington, DC". Join John Muller, author of the definitive book, Frederick Douglass in Washington, DC: The Lion of Anacostia (The History Press, 2012), for a unique walk back in time to discover the sacred history of Howard University, Miner Normal School and the 7th Street Turnpike. Tour will discuss history of local Washington City and the Shaw neighborhood following the Civil War, Reconstruction and within the past half-century. Stops on tour include Shiloh Baptist Church, Carter G. Woodson Memorial Park, African-American Civil War Memorial, Howard University Hospital, Howard Hall and several stops for the 70 bus and local history heritage markers. Tour will begin: outside at the historic home of Senator Blanche K. Bruce, 909 M Street NW, and will conclude at Sankofa Video Books & Cafe, 2714 Georgia Ave NW. Tickets, $12 general admission; $7.50 Howard U. students; free for DC public school and charter school students - purchase online at Eventbrite: http://bit.ly/2ELW2pF (sales tax and non-refundable Eventbrite fee additional).

Sunday, December 29  at 2 PM, Game Day. Enjoy new and classic board games! Bring friends and family, and challenge them to a game of Forbidden Island, The Resistance, Monopoly, Chess, Connect Four and more. Recommended for children, teens, and families. Free. Capitol View Library, 5001 Central Ave SE, more info: https://www.dclibrary.org/node/63347 

Monday, December 30 at 8:20 PM (that’s 2020 in 24 hour time), Monday Is Pun-Day for the Year Ahead. Gather with your fellow punsters for the Great 20/20 Vision Punning Contest and JokeFest. The year 2020 will soon be upon us and you need to have your puns at the ready. You’ll have no trouble coming up with plays on the dual meaning of 2020 as perfect vision and the year to come - but can you come up with anything better than the collection of groaners found at Reddit http://bit.ly/2EQ8tAK or at Upjoke https://upjoke.com/vision-jokes? If you think you can hack it, then register for the 2020 PunFest and we’ll send you the location and time of this pun-itive event: http://bit.ly/cpfakeevent. If you can’t attend in person, you can visit http://bit.ly/cpfakeevent at 2020 hours on Monday 12/30/19 and watch the livestream of the event.

Tuesday, December 31 from 10 AM - 1 PM, Noon Yards Eve at Yards Park, DC. Ring in 2020 with the Noon Yards Eve balloon drop! Family-friendly activities for kids of all ages, including trackless train rides through The Yards, inflatable moon bounces, glitter tattoo artists, balloon artistry, music, and more! The event will culminate with a countdown and celebratory balloon drop at noon to ring in the New Year! Yards Park is at 355 Water Street SE. Free. Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/noon-yards-eve-tickets-85517243377?aff=erelexpmlt   

Tuesday, December 31 from 4:30 - 5:30 PM, New Year’s Eve Music and Meditation at the Gandhi Memorial Center. You are invited to let the peaceful music offered into the receding twilight of 2019 draw you into the subjectivity of self-reflection and prayer. Musical performance by Jeff Bauer on the piano for the first half-hour. Srimati Karun will offer a prayer of peace for the New Year and invite you to come forward one at a time to offer a candle and incense at the altar prepared for our year-end meditation. The Gandhi Memorial Center is at 4748 Western Avenue, Bethesda, MD, http://www.gandhimemorialcenter.org/calendar

Tuesday, December 31 from 6 - 8 PM, Seasonal Music at the Garden: Concert by Samovar (Russian folk music). Evenings at the Garden are magical! Come hear festive seasonal music while exploring Season’s Greenings: America’s Gardens. Samovar has performed an exciting mix of Russian, Ukrainian, and Gypsy (Romani) folk music in the Washington, DC area since 1996. Please note: Limited seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. Free, no pre-registration required. More info: http://bit.ly/38ZXfaC. In the Conservatory Garden Court of the US Botanic Garden,  100 Maryland Avenue SW.

Wednesday, January 1 from 12:45 - 3:45 PM, Bell Ringing for New Year’s Day - Full Peal Attempt. In collaboration with the National Bell Festival, members of the Washington Ringing Society will attempt a full peal on the Cathedral bells this New Year's Day. Ringing will begin following the noon service at approximately 12:45 PM. If the peal attempt is successful, the ringing will last between 3 and 3.5 hours, or 5,040 changes, from start to finish. The sound of the peal bells will be made audible inside the Cathedral nave for this special occasion. Visitors are encouraged to mindfully listen and explore the Cathedral grounds on a self-guided meditation walk. Washington National Cathedral is at Massachusetts & Wisconsin Avenues NW, https://cathedral.org/event/full-peal-attempt/   

Thursday, January 2 at 12 noon, Chamber Music at Noon. DC Public Library presents a chamber music series (formerly titled the Brown Bag Chamber Recital), free and open to the public. Performers include internationally known local musicians Ralitza Patcheva and Vasily Popov, as well as  featured guest performers throughout the year. This month the concert will take place at the West End Neighborhood Library located at 2301 L St. NW, https://www.dclibrary.org/node/34726   

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Still Life with Robin: It's the Cleveland Park Listies of 2019!


Photo by Bill Adler
by Peggy Robin

It’s awards season, and the premier event of the Wonderful Online Washington World Of Listservs (can we shorten that to WOWWOL?) is the annual awarding of the Cleveland Park LISTIES!

This year we’ve decided to mix things up a little; instead of sticking to the usual, tried-and-true formula for awards – you know, that 4- or 5-item recitation of the nominees, followed by “And the winner is…..” this time we’re going with a more free-flowing format. There’s no fixed number of nominees. You’ll see how it works as we do the first category….which is:

BEST ANIMAL STORY OF 2019 

So many qualified messages! Most of these are lost-and-found pet stories with a joyful reunion at the end (achieved with or without the help of volunteer searchers and/or concerned list members who spread the word), but there are a few other shaggy dog stories mixed in. With so many cases, we just wanted to get these animals' names on our list. And what creative names they were! Here’s a by-no-means comprehensive list: 

  • Ruebin the Cat (whose owner would win the prize for creative spelling, if we had one).
  • Olive the cat, who spent a few days hiding underneath a neighbor’s house and had to be coaxed back out.
  • Bert the 6-month old dachshund pup who went AWOL for a while.
  • Spicy the dog who was lured home with a big bowl of treats.
  • Rocco the cat who wasn’t actually lost – just hiding in the linen closet.
  • Taco the dachshund-bichon mix who was ISO a canine or human playdate.
  • Sneakers, the senior, longhaired, black tuxedo cat who went missing but came home around dinner time, “showing up at the back door, wet, dirty and hungry.” 
  • Phinn the dog who was on the loose for six days. The “home safe” update thanked the many CP Listserv members who posted flyers and reported sightings.
  • Gumdrop the cat, who was found after six weeks on the lam. He’d “traveled 3 and 1/2 miles, from Chevy Chase to Kalorama before he was discovered and restored to his family!”
  • Sunshine and Snowflake, two parakeets seeking a new home.

How to pick the winner? Here’s where we remind ourselves that the category is not “Most Whimsical Pet Name” but “Best Animal Story”….and that includes wild animals, such as Wild Turkeys Roaming the Streets of DC. And they’ll beat all the domestic runaway stories, hands down (wings down?). When it comes to gobbler sightings, there’s no single post that takes the prize. We had nine posts about Wild Turkeys in our area and elsewhere, starting on April 22, 2019 with Message #145596 from Cindy S. that began with this:

“I was standing in my front garden on Easter Sunday around 4 pm, when an enormous wild turkey flew directly in front of me. It was about 2 feet from me, and only about 4 feet off the ground. My jaw literally dropped. I think it had been eating near my neighbor’s bird feeder, and I think I startled it. It flew at that low altitude across Yuma and between two houses directly ahead of it…..”

But that was topped by a post from Bill C. [Message #145623] about his fowl-ly interrupted golf game:

One day, I walked from the second green back up to the third tee, only to find a wild turkey standing smack in the middle of the box. I stood and admired it for a while -- hoping the bird would notice me and politely give way, but no. It was indifferent to the game of golf. Finally, wanting to get on with my round, I shooed it away. (The perfect ending to this story would a birdie on number 3 but, for one thing, I was never that good and, for another, that's a par three; a birdie there requires scoring an ace.)”

So, congratulations, all you turkeys, for taking the CP Listie for Best Animal Story of 2019! 

BEST GIVEAWAY OR FOR-SALE ITEM

This category is a bit of a snooze-fest this year, I’m afraid. Unlike 2018, when we had some truly wow-factor stuff like an antique sawmill blade and a partial toilet that became part of a sculpture in an art show, this year we had a number of rather nice things, yes, but nothing to make you sit up and say “Whoa, what is THAT?” or “Incredible to think someone would give that away!” Here’s what we have: 
  • Free: A collection of 35 dolls from numerous countries around the world, “including but not limited to Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, Portugal, Holland, Ireland, Belgium, France, Scotland, Japan, Greece, Poland, Ireland and others. [Sept 13, Message #150017]
  • Free: A purple flower butterfly bush. “Don't be fooled by their dilapidated appearance. This bush is a powerful plant that morphs into a beautiful bush, loves sun.  Attracts large  butterfly types: black, blue, yellow and of course orange Monarchs” [Oct 26, Message # #151131]
  • Free: A traditional Indian tapestry, painted on jute, in Mumbai in 1972…The design is ochre, dark red and brown, with warriors riding horses and elephants, dancers, flowers, and a sun.  [Nov 27 Message #152206]
  • For Sale: A kayak paddle for $100 – kayak not included [Oct 2, Message #150572 ]
  • Free: Flatscreen TV – far too many to list any of them individually.  
  • Free: Eurocave wine refrigerator – holds 100 bottles – which was likely the most valuable thing on the giveaway list this year [Nov 21, Message #151958].

But we don’t give out Listies based on pecuniary considerations. To win the Best Giveaway or For-Sale Item, the object needs to be something of cultural or historical significance – and by that standard, a clear winner emerges: It’s The Messiah! That is, “the G. Schirmer's edition of Handel's Messiah, with all four voice parts (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, soli and chorus) and a piano reduction of the orchestra accompaniment. See a photo at https://img.thriftbooks.com/api/images/l/b675d28ecebac4e57714e5874708e5d47a04ca84.jpg” [Nov 29   #152244]. This Listie awardee also gets a nod for its creative subject line: “Looking for a Messiah?” which was swiftly superseded by the news that the vocal score had been claimed, under the headline, “Messianic fever is strong in Cleveland Park!” Yes, Kathy R., strong enough to win you a Listie!

MOST HELPFUL OR INTERESTING ADVICE

This is the most gratifying of all the categories. Always a pleasure to see so many listsev members lending a hand to others in need, dispensing pearls of their hard-earned wisdom, saving us from time-consuming errors (like going down to the DMV without all the required pieces of documentation in hand) and sharing their best how-to’s….and how-not-to’s.

So it was on July 15 when Cara O. turned to the CP Listserv for "help with a very itchy dog"  [Message #  #148235] – and a flood of canine relief tips arrived, in the form of 16 different recommendations: for vets specializing in allergies; for various home remedies (oatmeal baths, apple cider vinegar); for prescription ointments;  for this or that vet – each message positively oozing with compassion for the pruritic pooch.

Human problems can engage our readers almost as much as canine woes. When Jerry with arthritis wondered if there was some “gizmo” that could help with the manual dexterity required to button a shirt, four separate posters responded with posts about the device called a Button Hook, each post offering extra tips about the best version of the device, the best place to get one, how to use it, and other resources to make living with arthritis less of a pain. The final message in the thread [December 8, Message #15256] was the post-back from Jerry, thanking all for their input. You may not need this information now, but you might want to save it just in case!

Our next nominee in this category is also a gizmo – seen here in Message #152232 on Nov 28 – and Therese F. wondered if list members could help to identify the mystery object: “Can anyone tell me what this kitchen gadget is for?” she queried. It took no time at all for list members to provide the answer. The first response informed the community that it’s a Stainless Steel “Soap” used to remove cooking smells of garlic and onions from your hands. The next post contained a tip about working with garlic and onions in a way that will avoid leaving odors on your hands, and the post after that explained that you can get the same deodorizing result “by rubbing your lathered, soapy hands against the inside of your stainless steel sink!” I realize that none of this is life-saving or earth-shattering. It’s small potatoes. But because of the everyday helpfulness of neighbors on the listserv, those small potatoes will be deliciously garlicky, ladled out by unstinting – and un-stinking – hands.

Sticking with the food theme, our next nominated asked-and-answered message thread deals with the question of where to buy “hyper local honey,” that is, made in beehives right here in DC. [Nov 17, Message #15186].Who knew we had so many beekeepers nearby? Apparently, quite a few of you! Thee are at least six different sources of hyper-local honey, from Capitol Hill to Takoma Park to a Franciscan Monastery in Brookland. Sweet!

So much helpfulness on display – but to move things along, I will rush through the next four:   
  • Bill S. gave some flight-saving advice about trying to fly domestically during the time when you’ve applied for Real ID but only have the paper copy/receipt as proof that you’ve been approved…. And the moral of the story is: Don’t do it! Bring your passport instead! [Nov 11, Message #151643].  
  • Mark R. advised (as he’s done three times since January of 2018) how to lodge an effective complaint with USPS about mail delivery problems. [Jan 7, Message #142462] ·
  • Margery told us how she negotiated down the price of a Washington Post subscription by 60 percent [August 13, Message #149054]
  • During the Boil Water Advisory, posters kept affected residents informed and updated, and then cleared to turn on their taps again, in eight messages spread over the three-day event, on November 8, 9 and 10, following the water main break in Arlington – and all messages were more helpful than DC water, that’s for sure! [The thread began on Nov 8 with Message #151486 and ended with the all-clear on Nov 10, Message number  #15156, “Boil Water Advisory Has Been Lifted”].

Still we return to the food theme for the CP Listie that wins in the category of Best Advice of 2019: “ISO Jersey Beefsteak Tomatoes.” This thread was kicked off with Andrea’s query on August 22 [Message #149279]: “Wondering if anyone has come across the magnificent Jersey Beefsteak tomato at any farmer’s markets or grocery stores in the DMV. It seems unlikely, but, to mate to, or not to mate to...That is the question.” That unleashed a fourteen-message thread from August 22 to August 25. This topic clearly brought out the poetic, the nostalgic, and the sensual longing for those great, round, plump, red, ripe, farm-fresh tomatoes of our youth. Here are just three snippets of the many evocative messages:
  • From Dee: “…a staple in Pennsylvania! Oh what a delicious delight they are! And HUGE as well. Good to know there is a place to purchase locally. (Yum, yum)”
  • From Richard: “…Real Jersey beefsteaks remain one of the great gustatory experiences. Steakhouses (but only a few, like Peter Luger's)  manage to get them in season. The Rutgers tomato is very good, too.”
  • From Kathryn:  “I grew up in New Jersey (I’m in my 70’s) and there has never been anything as delicious as a Jersey Tomato picked right off the vine! We bought tomatoes and corn right off the back of a truck-right out of the fields! Andrew, your grandfather may have created the best food item of my childhood!”
If, by the end of this thread, you weren’t pining for a rich, juicy Jersey Beefsteak, your tastebuds must be dead!

Now on to something more substantive:

BEST LENGTHY DISCUSSION THREAD (must be made up of six or more messages)

To qualify in this category a discussion must be at least six messages long, engaging four or more different posters, and the topic needs to be something of substance. And new this year, I’m throwing in an additional requirement: it can’t be a repeat of any topic discussed multiple times before. That ruled out some perennial favorites, like dog walkers tossing bags of poop in other people’s cans. Or how to thwart robocallers and phone scammers. 

Now we do have a brand new issue this year – the plans to build up the corner of Connecticut and Newark (the Macklin Project), but it did not take long for the debate about the new building to devolve into the same old argument we’ve had on the listserv time and again, pitting the pro- and anti-development forces against each other. You know the drill: one side says those NIMBYs would kill all innovation, drive out all businesses and leave Connecticut Avenue a barren wasteland, while the other side says those greedy developers will destroy our charming village, bulldoze the past, and throw up a concrete jungle in its place. No CP Listie for any of that stuff!

In the end, after reviewing every multi-message conversation that took place between January and now, there was only one discussion that stood out in a good way. It was started by Dina on Sept 5 with Message #149715, titled “ISO Advice on Profiling.” In the message Dina briefly described two incidents involving her son, who lives in a basement apartment in a house on Newark Street. Twice, when walking in his own neighborhood, he’s been stopped and questioned by other residents, who seemed to doubt that a person who looks like him belongs here. He’s been “profiled.” Dina ends her post with a gentle request for “suggestions on how best we can all be comfortable as neighbors,” noting that “It is disappointing to send this email and to seek advice from our neighbors but hopefully will be a teachable moment for us all.”

That post sparked twelve messages by ten different posters. All were respectful, empathetic, saddened to hear what had happened. Some were shocked that members of our community could treat a polite young man in this manner. Others were not surprised; there’s no reason to think this neighborhood is any more immune to racism than any other part of the country. No one made excuses or downplayed the gravity of the encounters. Here’s a small part of the conversation:

Meri wrote: “I am glad Dina wrote this beautifully diplomatic email, which I am sure came at a cost to her….Our liberal enclave has work to do. Let's hope we can all do better. “

Nancy wrote: “This thread, from the first polite, heartbreaking comment, shows how hard it is to see the mote in our own eyes. What WE should do is make our neighborhood the kind of welcoming and supportive community we think we have: holding doors, smiling, offering aid and comfort, treating others as we would be treated.”

A day later, Dina wrote back: “The responses to our inquiry have been thoughtful and reassuring that there is a path towards something more equitable and respectful of our differences in the responses. There have been 17 responses so far [12 were posted on-list – so 5 must have been sent privately], and all suggest tolerance, dialogue, forgiveness, and next steps that include a dialogue at one of the local libraries, which I will encourage Talon to structure and lead with us as a family. As this plan unfolds, I'll share the detail with this list serve for those who want to join.  Nothing formal -- just a discussion. We can't solve this problem of equity, but we can discuss in the hope for a better understanding of who we are as humans.”

Nothing could match that for hope and grace – and so a well-earned Listie!

And now to the grande finale of the 2019 CP Listies: 

THE POST OF THE YEAR!

We have five nominees:

First, from Henry D. – a lost & found story of capital importance:
Missing! Trump's Head - Reward Offered. [Message #149035 August 12] 

Trump's Head was last seen as part of our beloved sculpture titled “He Hired All The Best People”. This morning, we noticed the theft. A reward of 45 cents is offered. Picture below of the entire multi-piece sculpture in our front yard. No questions asked for the return of the integral element to this non-kinetic, beautiful and sublime objet d' art. See this link: http://itzahckret.com/hehiredthebest1.html In the unfortunate event that Trump’s head is never returned, we will accept any severely damaged orange sphere. We are uncertain if we should contact the FBI, MPD or US Secret Service. No ransom note received. At least not yet. Advice gratefully accepted during this difficult time.

….followed up by its own happy ending update, posted the very next day [Message #149075 Aug 13] Re: Trump`s Head Returned...No Longer MIA

I'm pleased to report the search for a severely damaged orange sphere has been discontinued. The Objet d' art titled "He Hired All The Best People" has been fully restored. Either an Anonymous Art Lover or an erratically thoughtful Trump supporter with a late blooming conscience returned the original piece to its proper place sometime today. It appears to be unharmed without any new cuts, unintended gashes or unnecessary bruises. Now that the integral element is back, the sculpture is complete again! See this link:  http://itzahckret.com/hehiredthebest1.html

Thanks again to everyone on the CP list serve for all the kind words and assistance. We are all more fortunate than the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum after the theft of their Vermeer, Rembrandt and several sketches by Degas. We only had to wait one day for the safe return of this piece, while The Gardner Museum heist remains unresolved 29 years later. And of course, many thanks to the Anonymous Art Lover, whoever you are. If you wish to claim your Reward, of 45 cents, please contact off-list.

Second, from our resident wildlife expert Meghan D., Ph.D., sent in response to Agi’s report posted earlier the same day of a scary encounter with a large fox, or possibly a coyote, which threatened her two small dogs:

Re: Alert: scary incident with a large fox (or possibly a coyote?) [May 25 #146745]
Meghan advised [in part]:

… it's important not to run away! Just like when your dog runs after you if you run away from him, running can trigger a prey response in both coyotes and foxes. The best thing to do is to yell at the animal, throw things his or her way, clap your hands, stomp your feet - anything that makes you look threatening. If you need to leave the area, back away. The coyote or fox did respond to you once you tried yelling at him, so he's behaving appropriately. We call it "hazing" coyotes, and it has the side benefit of keeping coyotes properly cautious of people. There are some excellent videos out there on hazing. One of my favorites is from Aurora, Colorado: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MOnDIx71Q0 …..

Third, from George I.– a short story so brief, it’s practically a haiku. Here it is in its entirety [Apr 3 Message  #144976] Re: Foxes in Cleveland Park:

I hit a pretty good drive on the fourth hole at East Potomac a few years ago. As I approached my ball, a fox stepped out of the shrubs, picked up lay ball and returned to its lair. I was penalized two strokes.

Fourth (and in the same April 3 thread about foxes and other wild animals seen around the neighborhood), this post from Agi K. that was a virtual wildlife safari on the page:

Yes, I have seen quite a few foxes, a coyote, and a very large bird I believe to be a horned owl, all in the alley behind our house that abuts Tregaron…. I have also seen falcons, bats, turtles, small toads, ducks, deer, raccoons and bunnies and I'm grateful to have such an array of animals that many of my friends who live in the suburbs or country never see! [Message number #144956] – which was followed up by Message # #144962 from Roger M, who topped it off the wildlife spotting/bragging rights with this: “To add one more: Several years ago, I saw a beaver in the Rock Creek pond just north of Broad Branch Rd. The NPS relocated it, to preserve the trees.

Now saving the best for last -- the winner of Post of the Year 2019 is:

“A Shero for Our Time” by Nancy B. [Sept 23  #150304 ] 

There are days when it seems all the news is bad and everyone is in some battle involving moral depravity. Not so! Take heart! In our own Cleveland Park, there are sheroes/heroes among us!

This past Saturday at about 12:30 pm, my neighbor Robin (who forbids me from using her last name) was coming out from the Cleveland Park Library when she noticed what seemed to be a hole where a manhole cover should be. She stepped closer, peered into the abyss -- no  cover!  The hole was in the crosswalk on Connecticut where the pavement had been roughed up. She saw pedestrians headed toward it, so she stationed herself nearby and called out warnings. She called 311 and reported it, was put through to non-emergency police dispatcher and was told they would send someone. Time passed. More time passed. Pedestrians were at first annoyed when she yelled at them, then realized their peril. 

One lovely man stopped to help -- he found an orange traffic cone up the street and brought it, then walked along to the Fire Department. to get help. So he's a hero. After about 15 more minutes two firemen came out to bring additional implements and get help, finally relieving Our Heroine from her onerous duties. By evening, a manhole cover was in place.

As we approach the High Holy Days, it is nice to reflect on this thought:  "one who saves a life saves the whole world entire." So probably the world was saved on Saturday!

Have a lovely day, and do be careful out there: no telling when the next manhole cover will go missing!

And that’s what I would like to make our parting thought of the year (and decade!): We wish you a lovely day with a reminder to be careful out there: for open manholes and other unexpected things - and if you find yourself ever needing help, we hope you find a shero/hero at your side!  

Thanks to all who made 2019 a productive Year in Listserv posts – and we send our hopes for all good things in 2020 and the coming new decade!

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Still Life with Robin is posted on the Cleveland ParkListserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays. The Cleveland Park Listies* have been awarded every year since 2012.
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* The term “Listies” was first introduced in 2015; prior to that, the column was called “The Listserv Year in Review.”