Saturday, March 2, 2024

Still Life with Robin: It's National Old Stuff Day!

by Peggy Robin

Hmm, I'm usually a fan of all those silly, offbeat, little "holidays" -- you know, like National Waffle Day (August 24) and Lost Sock Day (May 9) and Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept 19) -- but today's "fun" holiday, National Old Stuff Day, seems, well, just a tad condescending to those of us over the age, er, mumble, mumble [unintelligible].
We and our "stuff" deserve respect!

What do we get instead? Something like that eye-rolling "OK Boomer" meme. Yeah, that got old, quick!

While I am not keen on today's "holiday," I was impressed by the composition posted in praise of this day that I found in my Twitter feed [*see Note 1] this morning, by one of my favorite posters, David Cohen @dc_scrabblegram.

Dave posts a daily wordplay /poem called a Scrabblegram [*explained in Note 2].

Here's his lovely composition for today, National Old Stuff Day

Dave's Scrabblegrams @dc_scrabblegram
[*Uses all 100 Scrabble tiles.]

Grandfather Clock đź‘´đź•°️

March 2nd is National Old Stuff Day (really). With my 6th decade just around the corner, I'm starting to identify with vintage items like grandfather clocks.

More of Dave's Scrabblegrams on his website at and in his recently published book by Penteract Press (in the UK, but shipping to the US is fast and relatively inexpensive.)
* Note 1: I'm sticking to my sworn oath never to cave in and call by the brand "X" name thrust upon it by its current, unhinged, Gen X owner.

*Note 2: A Scrabblegram is a message (a kind of freestyle poem, really) that uses each of the 100 Scrabble tiles exactly once. This means that each entry will contain exactly 9 As, 2 Bs, 2 Cs...1 X, 2 Ys, 1 Z (and 2 blanks which can be used as any letters).

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

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Get Out! It's Leap Day! Or Stay In & Watch the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions

 by Peggy Robin

If you're a leapling (yes, that's the word for people born on February 29th) today's the day to go out to a bar or restaurant that's giving out freebies to your kind. Our local Axios newsfeed has a good round-up of your options:

If you're like the rest of us born on the other 365 days of the year, you might want to stay home and watch TV. Why? Because the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions (TOC) is on, and tonight, two of the three competitors are from the DC metro area. And they're both lively and entertaining players. (WJLA at 7:30pm)

Kevin Belle from Silver Spring, MD. Kevin is a transportation planner by day and a drag queen performer by night under the stage name, "Whiskey Ginger"

Luigi de Guzman from Arlington, VA. Luigi is an attorney, originally from the Philippines.

...and the third contestant is Juveria Zaheer from Whitby, Ontario, Canada. Juveria is a psychiatrist and professor of medicine at the University of Toronto.

If you're betting on the outcome, you'll want to know how these three match up:

PLAYER:  Kevin Belle

PLAYER: Luigi de Guzman

PLAYER: Juveria Zaheer

Want to know which of our two hometown champions I'm rooting for? Neither one! I'm hoping to see the Canadian psychiatrist, Juveria Zaheer, take this round and go on to win the whole enchilada. Why? Because there are so few women who have taken Jeopardy's top prize. In the 40 seasons of Jeopardy since the 1984 reboot (that is, the beginning of the Alex Trebek hosting era), only four women have won the TOC. They are: Rachel Schwartz in 1994; Robin Carroll in 2000; Celeste DiNucci in 2007; Amy Schneider in 2022. 

Of the 27 contestants in this year's TOC there are only 5 women (Hannah Wilson, Melissa Clapper, Deb Bilodeau, Emily Sand, and today's hopeful, Juveria Zaheer. Go girls!

The "Get Out!" event of the week is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Still Life with Robin: A taste of Paris in Cleveland Park? Mais non, le goût de Nantes!

Photo by Fresh Baguette 
by Peggy Robin 

On Wednesday I went to the Grand Opening of Cleveland Park's new cafe, Fresh Baguette. Despite the crowds (converging for the announced baguette giveaway, I'm sure, as well as from a desire to check out a new eating spot!), the long line moved quickly, staff members were pleasant and efficient, and all the choices looked so tempting. 

The display cases were filled with baguettes and many types of loaves and croissants, most of them warm from the oven. Now we can live like the French, right here in our neighborhood. 

Well, I have French relatives and have spent some time with them in their homes, and one thing I love about their lifestyle is the way it's so normal to pick up a fresh baguette on the way home from work -- so many people walking home with a baguette under the arm. Fresh baked every day -- that makes the sensuous, yeasty aroma of bread one of the everyday glories of France. 

But I wasn't reminded so much of my relatives in Paris as my time spent visiting my daughter for the year she lived in Nantes, in the northwestern province of Loire-Atlantique. Nantes is a medium-sized city with much less hustle-bustle. Yes, there are bakeries on every corner so that people can get their daily baguette, but when it comes to food, it is known as the home of a particular brand of cookie, produced by the famous LU factory. 

Here's your mini-history lesson from the LU website (UK version) 

LU’s story begins in 1846 and in true French style, romance played a key role in their creation. In the city of Nantes, Jean-Romain Lefèvre and Pauline-Isabelle Utile fell in love over their shared passion for baking and their desire to make the most delicious biscuits. Putting the first initials of their surnames together, LU was born.

Thanks to the excellence of Lefèvre-Utile’s recipes, the biscuits factory gained a stellar local reputation. In 1882, LU even won the gold medal during the Nantes Exhibition.

Over 176 years later, LU remains an icon of French culinary heritage.

So here's what I noticed the first time I walked into Fresh Baguette: I scanned the long narrow shop and my gaze quickly fell upon the back wall, with shelves of so many different packages of LU cookies --many of them hard to find in the US-- I felt as if I'd walked into a shop in Nantes. And like any small French specialty shop, there were just a few shelves of the products, all very prettily arranged. 

Besides the LUs, there are different types of jam in jars, some pates, a little sac of French sea-salts in large crystals, some chocolate bars.... None of these things are listed on the website, which features the breads, the sandwiches, quiches, macarons, madeleines and other pastries and desserts, and the coffees and other beverages. See: 

They cater, too! 

I wish I could say this is going to be my daily little taste of Nantes.... but malheureusement, I have recently been put on a low-carb regime and I'm sticking to it. But for all those who are not.....bon appetit!


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

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Get Out! Get Out! The Cinema Calls -- it's the DC Independent Film Festival

The D.C. Independent Film Forum (DCIFF) will mark its 25th anniversary this year by showcasing 70 independent feature films, documentaries, shorts, and animated films. The festival will also host a special event to honor one of the greats of documentary filmmaking.

The festival will take place from Wednesday, February 21 to Sunday, February 25, at various theaters across Washington.

This year, the DC Independent Film Festival (DCIFF) is paying tribute to 
AndrĂ© Singer, a renowned documentary filmmaker. The festival will feature a special invite-only preview screening of his latest film, "Meeting Zelensky," at Landmark's E Street Cinema on Wednesday, February 21 and Sunday, February 25 at 12:15 PM to the public. The preview will be followed by a panel discussion.

We will also be featuring an additional documentary of his, WHERE THE WIND BLEW, on Friday, February 23rd at 5:30 pm at JxJ - Washington in Cafritz Hall. There will also be a panel discussion featuring director Andre Singer, Justin Ahasteen, executive director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office and Cheryl L. Reed, author, journalist, and professor.

After each film screening, you'll have the chance to participate in interactive Q&A sessions with the talented filmmakers, cast, crew, and industry experts. But that's not all - we have a bunch of other fun activities planned too! There will be panels, workshops, and pop-up events throughout the forum that will cover a wide range of topics, like animation and even a masterclass with the honoree to discuss his 50 years in documentary filmmaking!

The director of WOLFPACK, CĂ©dric Peyster – Le Roux, will showcase his gripping tale that unfolds in a future where the youth hunt the older generations at night, putting 50-year-old Matthieu in a fight for survival. The film and Q&A with the director will be held on Friday, February 23 at 9 PM at the Regal Gallery Place Theater. Tickets are available for purchase on Eventbrite.

To top it off, there will be live dance performances by the cast of a TENS ACROSS THE BOARD to really celebrate the occasion on Saturday, February 24 at 7:20 PM. They are championed by Black and brown LGBTQ artists in dance, music and fashion, the St. Louis ballroom community.

The Way It Was: PARIS RESTAURANTS IN THE 1970'S screening on Sunday, February 25 at 4 PM and 5:45 PM, we're bringing in a local French chef and his wife, a French food blogger. Anina Belle Giannini is author of the very popular Le Chefs Wife blog and her husband is SĂ©bastien Giannini who is about to become a partner at L'Avant-Garde in Georgetown. They'll be giving a simple demonstration followed by a wine tasting - sounds pretty good, right? 

On the closing night of the festival, there will be a Q&A session with DCIFF Founder, Carol Bidault de l'Isle, and Executive Director, Deirdre Evans-Pritchard, who will also give closing remarks. You can find a complete schedule of programming for DCIFF is 
available here.

You won't want to miss out on the excitement of DCIFF's milestone anniversary! Get your tickets for 
individual screenings, or take advantage of our event passes, through Eventbrite. Exclusively on FilmFreeway, you can get tickets to film screenings with limited availability.

To learn more, visit and stay up-to-date with the latest festival news and updates. Follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and TikTok, and be part of the action by using the hashtag #DCIFF2024.

Join us for an unforgettable experience - see you there!

DC Independent Film Festival
The "Get Out" event of the week is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Still Life with Robin: We'll Always Have Squirrels

by Peggy Robin

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Get Out! It's Presidential Family Fun Day at the National Portrait Gallery on Sat, Feb 17, 11:30am - 3pm

 by Peggy Robin

Saturday, February 17 · 11:30am - 3pm EST
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
800 G Street Northwest Washington, DC 20001

Celebrate Presidents’ Day at the Portrait Gallery’s annual festival for all ages! Discover more about presidents during guided tours of “America’s Presidents” and story times or enjoy artmaking and writing activities – there is something for everyone!
The "Get Out!" event of the week is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Still Life with Robin: A Cafe By Any Other Name?

by Peggy Robin

Folger Shakespeare Library
I love a good naming contest, as anyone who has been reading this column for a while would know [See Note 1]. I'm hoping that many readers of the CP Listserv share my love, and will be inspired to enter the great naming contest that's on right now: Dream up a funny, punny name for the new cafe. which will open on June 21 at the renovated Folger Shakespeare Library .

Here's what they're looking for:

We’re looking for clever wordplay worthy of the building that houses the world’s largest Shakespeare collection. Poetic turns of phrase that fit having coffee or a snack just steps from our stacks of rare books. An artistic take on having drinks and a bite to eat before going to the theater. We know our community is creative, so send us your ideas! Folger staff will share our favorites starting February 16 for Folger followers to vote on!

For more info, and the entry form, go  to:

For some help in getting started, take a look at these food quotations:

The deadline is Monday, February 12 at 11:59pm. That's one minute before "the chimes at midnight"! [see Note 2]

To view the finalists and vote for your favorite, go to anytime between Friday, Feb 16 and Tuesday, February 20, 2024. 


Note 1: Here are some, but by no means all, of the previous naming contests on the CP Listserv [All links are from Still Life with Robin columns, posted on the All Life Is Local blog simultaneously with posting on the Cleveland Park Listserv (All Life Is Local links are publicly accessible, while Cleveland Park Listserv links are accessible only to CP Listserv subscribers.]:

Name the Potomac River Dolphins :

Name the Ward 3 Family Shelter: 

Rename "Dave Thomas Circle": 

Name That Neighborhood (the one that will have feature the new Amazon HQ):

Rename Wilson HS (one of SEVEN columns on this subject!):

Rename the Washington Football Team: (3 columns):   


Note 2: Shakespeare quotation:

Falstaff: We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Shallow.

Shallow: That we have, that we have, that we have; in faith, Sir John, we have: our watch-word was 'Hem boys!' Come, let's to dinner (which could  be a good name for the cafe).

(Falstaff, Act 3 Scene 2)


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