Saturday, December 8, 2012

Still Life With Robin: The Cleveland Park Listserv Year in Review

by Peggy Robin

'Tis the season for year end reviews and "Best of 2012" lists. You see these lists for movies, books, plays, even Youtube videos -- so why not the listserv? Therefore, without further justification, here are my picks for the most intriguing posts of 2013, in backwards chronological order:

1. December 6, Message 82661  ISO Volunteer Opportunity - North Korea Preference. The poster was particularly interested in working with an organization that helps North Korean defectors. Over the years list members have shown an abiding interest in helping others in an amazing breadth of ways, including taking computers to Latin America and sending running shoes to girls in the Horn of Africa, but this query is the first of its kind. It just appeared last week, so I don't know if the poster was able to get connected with a group that helps in this regard. Maybe we'll find out in 2013.

2. December 3, Message 82579  Calling All Cats. A seventh grader was looking for cats to participate in her science project, investigating cats' responses to various sounds. Cat owners were assured there would be no risk to the cat. I bet it would be fun for curious kitties. I hope she got an "A" on the project; I give it an "A" for appealing.

3. November 6, Message 82037  Special Owl Visitor. This message wins in the category of "Best Animal Sighting Post of 2013," beating out multiple reports of foxes and deer and the odd coyote sighting.   Here's a link to the photo:

4. October 31, Message 81877  Update on Tree Down on Cathedral Avenue, with two follow-up posts, Washington Post on Mysterious Tree Stump Table and Chairs, November 1, and Auctioning Off Tree Stump Table/Chairs for Hurricane Relief, November 3. After Hurricane Sandy, there was a very large tree down on Cathedral Avenue. Sometime during the day, while the poster was at work, a tree crew came and cut up and removed the tree, leaving a remarkable gift behind on the poster's front porch: . This story ended up in the Washington Post and the poster auctioned off the furniture for charity. This is my personal favorite for the best overall listserv story of 2012.

5. October 28, Message 81777  Pets, Baby Squirrels and the Hurricane. Just before Hurricane Sandy hit, we had this very helpful post with some practical tips about protecting your pets, plus what to do if you should find a baby squirrel or other baby animal dislodged from a nest after the storm.

6. September 3, Message 80670  Colorful Pigeons in DC? The original poster included a link to a living art project by an artist in Venice who airbrushed pigeons (with a temporary watercolor spraypaint that he said did not harm the pigeons) to give them colorful feathers:

7. August 16, Message 80322  Wedding Present for 3rd Marriage? This is my pick for the category, "Best Wedding-related Post." The poster was seeking advice about a suitable gift for a middle-aged couple with a few previous marriages behind them. There were three runners-up in this category: First, from someone seeking ideas for putting on a small winter wedding in Paris; second; hoping to hire a classic car and driver to transport the bridal party to the wedding; and third, looking for a Universal Life Minister, who could then endorse the wedding ceremony, which would actually be performed by a friend lacking certification to sign the license.

8. July 9, Message 79600  Free Bearded Dragon to a Good Home. I award this the "Best Giveaway Post of 2013." But it was a tough choice, considering that in this same year list members also gave away: 42 bags of ice; an air hockey table; a porch swing; assorted guinea pig paraphernalia; an elephant Halloween costume for a toddler; a typewriter (remember those?); bird cages; and a ficus tree (which didn't fit in the first taker's home and so she re-gifted it to the listserv soon afterwards). If only I could have ended this string of items with a partridge in a pear tree!

9. June 24, Message 79328  Dog Vomit Slime Mold. The subject line makes it sound worse than it is, but the poster is looking for the most effective cure. To see the mold (if you must!) go here: . Some possible modes of attack are listed here:

10. May 31, 78800  Banner Thief: 3rd Time, with a follow-up on June 3,  78850 Steelers Banner Thief Video Available. The poster reports that her Pittsburgh Steeler banner has been stolen not once, but three times! -- and she has caught the brazen thief on videotape, which you can view here:

Here's looking at 2013 for another year of helpful listserv queries and responses! Thanks to all, posters and readers alike.


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

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