Saturday, September 23, 2023

All Life Is Local: Saturday with Ophelia

by Peggy Robin

TS Ophelia arrived in town this morning, ruining so many long-planned festivals and other fun, outdoor events. That's why I'm sitting inside at my computer instead of being out and about, enjoying the first day of autumn. The silver lining (well, more like a dull, drizzly grey shroud), is that I get to indulge one of my favorite pet peeves, which is to lodge curmudgeonly complaints about poor naming choices. (See any of my past columns about renaming the Washington football team, or about The Weather Channel's announcement, usually in mid-October, of its list of 26 mostly-ridiculous names for winter storms.)

In this case, I put the blame squarely on the World Meteorological Organization, the international body of meteorologists in charge of the hurricane naming process. They maintain six lists of names, which are assigned, one alphabetical list per storm season, with the names alternating male and female, until all six lists have been used over six years, and then the cycle begins again. If any tropical storm or hurricane is so destructive that people will be talking and writing about it for many years to come, that name is "retired" so that it will remembered as the unique name of that historic hurricane. That is to say, there will never be another Hurricane Katrina, or Sandy, or Andrew, or Camille.  

Ophelia, now less than a Tropical Storm, is bringing mainly heavy rainfall but is not otherwise terribly dangerous -- so it will certainly be back around in 2029 when this year's names are used again....but I'd really like to see kicked off the list.

My argument has nothing to do with anything weather-related. That's the domain of the meteorologists who decide which storms are name-worthy; my brief against that name is of a literary nature. How unfortunate that they picked the name of one of Shakespeare's most memorable female characters -- the one who dies by drowning. 

"Poor Ophelia, divided from herself and her fair judgment" says the king, after she appears to have lost her mind. Not long after, her body is found in the river, and Hamlet, the man she loved who had so cruelly cast her aside, says rather dismissively, "Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia, And therefore I forbid my tears"

I'm guessing that when the people at the World Meteorological Society were making lists of "O" female name, they weren't thinking of any of that, but just trying to come up with enough girl O's (it's not the most popular starting-letter for a name in any language!) and someone threw out "Ophelia." And nobody raised a hand and said, "Hmm, Ophelia.....drowning....maybe the sort of literary allusion we ought to avoid, for an event can drown whole cities."

I doubt they had any English majors look over the name list....but maybe they should. 

Just in case any CP Listserv members have any pull with anyone involved in the WMO hurricane-naming process, I've come up with some decent alternatives, and maybe you could mention it, if you get a chance?

First, here are the six O names used in rotation, starting with the current year: Ophelia, Oscar, Olga, Omar, Odette, Owen

Now here are my suggestions for a replacement for this year's unfortunate female O name:

Odile, Oksana, Olivia, Olympia, Ondine, Ooma / Oona, or Opal.

No Oprah, of course; I wouldn't do that to the one and only Ms. Winfrey! 
Still Life with Robin is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Get Out! It's Chevy Chase Day on Saturday, Sept 23 (It'll be indoors if it's too wet to be outside!)

by Peggy Robin

Chevy Chase DC Day
September 23, 2023
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Chevy Chase Community Center and on Connecticut Avenue

In case of rain, events will be moved into the Community Center. For updated forecasts go to or The Social Media Site Which Will Not Be Named X @capitalweather

Here are the latest updates on the event:

All events are free!!

It's that time of year again when the Chevy Chase Commons area on the grounds of the Library and the Community Center becomes a hub of activity to help celebrate Chevy Chase Day. This year's event is being co-organized by the Chevy Chase Community Association and Chevy Chase Main Street and will take place on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 1-4  pm.

Here is a list of some of the free events.

  • Music to dance to featuring Little Red and the Renegades and their Zydeco, New Orleans Funk & Swamp Rock sound.
  • Ch/Art art exhibit and kids mask-making activity.
  • Performance by Ballet Elite at 3 pm.
  • Kids can explore a police car and big rig firetruck and learn about safety from local law enforcement personnel and fire fighters.
  • Councilmembers Matt Frumin, Janeese Lewis George, and Robert White will be in attendance.
  • Mayor Bowser will speak at 2 pm.
  • Displays on the Commons from many local community organizations.
  • Free Yoga Classes at Circle Yoga at 2:30 and 3:30 pm.
  • Business Specials and Pop-up Market along Connecticut Ave.
  • Free tastings at Chevy Chase Wine and Spirits
  • Face painting, balloon twisting, a juggler, a caricature artist, a bouncy house, free ice cream & cupcakes, plus other activities.
The evolving schedule of events can be found on both the Chevy Chase Main Street and CCCA websites.
The Get Out! event of the week is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Still Life with Robin: The (Non) Adhesiveness Principle

 by Peggy Robin

A long time ago, when I was in school and taking basic science classes, I was made to memorize a lot of laws and principles. You know, like Newton's Laws of Motion or Boyle's Law on the inverse relationship of volume and pressure in gases. I was told that knowing these laws and many more like them would help me understand how things work in the physical world. 
But as I've grown older and supposedly wiser, I've come to realize how seldom in my long, post-school experience have I had to give a thought to any of the Laws of Physics or Chemistry that I can still recite from memory. Well, except maybe as a Jeopardy answer, shouted at an unresponsive TV screen. 
Murphy's Law, on the other hand, I see at work around me all the time. And its many corollaries
So I decided to put my vast life experience to public purpose and pass along to you a principle of physics I have developed out of my own experiences trying to fix broken things with all kinds of glues and tapes. Methodology is all real-world trial-and-error (mainly error). I'm calling it the (Non) Adhesiveness Principle). It goes like this: "The strength of a bond between two materials that one is trying to stick together is inversely proportionate to the person's need for the bond to last."
Here's a recent, real-world example: The adhesive Velcro strips that I bought from Amazon came in a box that said: "Peel and stick - holds up to 10 lbs". So I thought they'd be fine to stick a ten-ounce smoke detector to the ceiling. Guess how long the bond held? Oh, from about 6pm when I stuck it up there until about two in morning, when it fell to the floor with a clatter....and of course, set itself off. 
Simpler example: The duct tape used to patch a hole in the flexible aluminum accordion-style dryer vent tubing will stay firmly in place as long as you don't turn the dryer on. The minute the hot dryer air is blasting through the patched area, the duct tape patch will fall off.
Here's the true, classic example of the principle: When you use super glue to glue back into place the insulating rubber handle-cover that fell off the metal handle of a cooking pot, it will seemingly be on tight through any number of uses of the cooking pot; but just when you need it most -- when the pot is bubbling and almost boiling over and you need to get it over to the sink to dump the pasta into the waiting colander -- that's the time when the glued-back rubber handle-cover will come unglued. 
Corollary: Superglue works best on the two things you do NOT want stuck together -- your fingertips. Now the bond is instant and seemingly irrevocable. (Incidentally, did you know that you don't need to lose a layer of skin to get your fingertips unglued? Nail polish remover does the trick. Trust me, this works!)
The (Non) Adhesion Principle even applies to the lightest, most negligible type of stick'em -- the Post-It note. If you put a Post-It note on the front door, with a reminder that says (for example) "Remember to bring the chilled wine to the party," the note will stick to the door until just a few seconds before you are ready to head out, and then it will dis-adhere, and flutter to the floor, landing just out of sight under the front hall table, and so you will depart, leaving behind in the refrigerator all the white wine you had promised to bring to the party. 
At this point you may be wondering, "Why doesn't she use her smartphone to set reminders for important things -- and use a competent professional for repair work?" 
The answer to the first part of that question is -- Remember Murphy's Law? I'd be almost certain to screw up the setting of a reminder in my cellphone: putting AM for PM or putting it on the wrong date. I'm not a Millennial with digital proficiency! As for part two of the question: Yes, I suppose that's what I should do....and maybe I will next time. Unless by the time "next time" comes around, I've forgotten how often my home repairs fail, and I think to myself, "Oh, a little duct tape can take care of this -- no problem!"

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

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Get Out! And Get Down to H St NE for the Street Festival this Saturday!

 by Peggy Robin

The annual H Street Festival may be the biggest and best of the many street festivals in DC.

How big? There are FOURTEEN stages or performance areas, featuring all kinds of acts from kids' shows, to spoken word, to many different styles of music and dance. 

Free admission. Lots of little freebies, too!

H Street Festival
Saturday, September 16 · 12 - 7pm 
H Street between 3rd and 14th Streets ME

Here's a tweet:

Here's a map:

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

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Still Life with Robin: The Unwritten Rules of Metro

 by Peggy Robin

Three days ago (September 6) there was a tweet* from the people who run the Metro account, asking Metro riders to post the "unwritten rules" of the Metro system. 

Metro Forward 

Hi there 👋. How was your ride today? Share with us your favorite “unwritten rules” of Metro. We’d love to hear them. #wmata

So far I've counted 79 comments and from these I have pulled what I consider the top ten "unwritten rules," which I think most of us know and abide by....and really resent it whenever others don't! I have presented these in in Letterman-style backwards order:

10, Do not take pictures of people on the Metro without their permission.
9. No personal grooming on the train (nail filing is the worst!)
8. Help tourists who seem lost.
7. On a crowded train, if you're standing near the doors, you should step out onto the platform to make it easier for others to exit. You'll have plenty of time to step back in before the train departs.
6. Listen to music through earphones -- and if the other passengers can hear the music even though you've got earphones on, the volume is up too high -- turn it down.
5. As all the seats in a car begin to fill up, remove anything you've put on the seat next to you to make room for someone to sit down. 
4. Never sit next to a stranger if there is an unoccupied row available.
3. When standing in a crowded train car, take off your backpack and put it between your feet.
2. Wait on the platform for passengers to exit the train before you board.
1. On escalators, stand to the right, walk on the left.

* Note: I know, I know, it's no longer a tweet; it's an "X". Well, DCA has been Reagan National Airport for over 25 years but I'm still calling it "National." I expect to stick to the same plan with Twitter (although my bet is that the next owner will change it back!)

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

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Get Out! And Come to the Fair! (That's the DC State Fair on Sunday, Sept 10 at Franklin Park)

by Peggy Robin

Celebrate the District's Agricultural and Artistic Talents at the DC State Fair on Sunday, September 10, 2023

The 14th annual celebration of all things Washington, DC will bring live performances, vendors, contests, and local artists to Franklin Park in Downtown Washington, DC.

Date: Sunday, September 10
Time: 10AM – 5PM

The DC State Fair is a free all-ages annual event. Like state fairs across the country, the DC State Fair celebrates all things local – the agricultural, culinary, and artistic talents of the people who live in or frequent the District. The DC State Fair includes contests, local entertainment, hands-on educational workshops, children’s activities, local vendors, and all kinds of great food.

Among many activities, the 14th Annual DC State Fair will include:

— Performances from local artists Crush Funk Brass, Zac Brewer, and A.F.R.O.B.A.M.
— Food trucks Coleman’s Kitchen, Frosty Softy, New Orleans Style Snow Balls, and Rocky Ice Cream
— Flower arranging and hand dancing demonstrations, and a DC history trivia challenge
— Live contests including pie eating and best tattoo
— Reveal of contest winners from all culinary, agricultural, and art categories
— 50+ exhibitors including local makers, community organizations, food vendors, government agencies, and universities

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

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Still Life with Robin: DC Restaurant Week - The Final Days

 by Peggy Robin

It's Washington Restaurant Week! Well, the tail end of it....

I know I'm late to the party, but there are still two more days! You've got all of today and Sunday to show your love for some of our great local eateries, with special meal-deals as your incentive!

Maybe (unlike me), you've been dining out all week. In that case, carry on as you've been doing from the start, which was Monday, August 30.

If you'd like to get up to speed on what's available, where, when, for what price, and how to reserve, start here:

Participating restaurants are charging $25 for their brunch/lunch menu, and there are two levels of dinner menu choices, the $40 menu and the $55 menu.
There are 150+ participating restaurants, so I'll just list the ones for Cleveland Park, Woodley Park and Tenleytown.

Bindaas - Cleveland Park
$40 Menu

Sababa - Cleveland Park
$40 Menu

Duke's Counter - Cleveland Park/Woodley Park
$40 Menu

New Heights - Woodley Park
$55 Menu

Flavorture - Woodley Park
$55 Menu

Le Chat Noir - Tenleytown
$40 Menu

Which one to choose? I've been to them all and like them all, so you really can't go wrong. If you want an in-depth look at each, you can take a look at reviews by Washington Post's Tom Sietsema. But whatever you do, avoid Yelp, where half of all the reviews are written by friends of the restaurant owner and the other half by angry diners who are holding grudges over a perceived slight or some minor slip by the waitstaff! (Don't get me started on what's wrong with Yelp; that's a whole 'nother column...or a book in itself).

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

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Get Out! And Learn the Meaning of Labor Day (Friday) + Labor Day Art Show (All Weekend)

by Peggy Robin

This Labor Day weekend I couldn't decide which of the two events to highlight as the "Get Out!" event of the week. But why labor over the choice. Why not both? So here's the Friday event, to start your Labor Day holiday off with a look into its historical significance. And then you can pick a time during the 3-day weekend to visit the art show at the historic Glen Echo Park...and while you're there, ride the 102-year-old Dentzel Carousel!

A Labor of Love? Labor History and the National Mall

National Mall and Memorial Parks

A Twilight Talk by 
Ranger Herendeen (202-426-6841)

Date: Friday, September 1, 2023

Time: 8:00 PM

Duration: 45 minutes

Location: Sylvan Theater, Independence Ave SW & 15th St NW - Map:


Labor Day was the fourth established federal holiday (1894) after Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Independence Day. But what is labor? Why is it so important? And why have Americans always struggled to make labor safe, fair, and inclusive? Join us for a discussion of this important story, told in the history of the National Mall and the iconic memorials of Washington, D.C.

The 52nd Annual Labor Day Art Show at Glen Echo Park!

Our 2023 Labor Day Art Show - the 52nd anniversary of this event - will take place in the historic Spanish Ballroom this year as it has for over half a century!

The show will be held from September 2 - 4, 2023  |  12pm - 6pm, with an
Opening Reception on September 1 at 7:30pm - RSVPs preferred, not required 

The show features work from more than 200 artists from the greater Washington, DC area. The display includes a wide range of media, including sculpture, paintings, works on paper, ceramics, fiber arts, jewelry, photography, and furniture.

Video preview here:

Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts & Culture 
Spanish Ballroom (site map here:
7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, MD 20812 
Phone: (301)634-2222; Email:
The "Get Out!" event(s) of the week is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Still Life with Robin: An Open Air Art Gallery

by Peggy Robin

A long, long time ago (that is, sometime in the 1970s) I was playing host to a friend from from Los Angeles. This was so long ago that there was still a fair amount of on-street parking to be found along the side streets of the Mall, and it was a completely plausible for tourists to drive in for the day with a plan to find a free parking space within a short walk of the most popular museums.

On the day we visited, I was unlucky. As we cruised around all the little streets between Constitution and Independence Avenues, we passed rows and rows of parked cars, with no available spaces to be seen. Between the sides streets were those large, flat, neatly clipped rectangles of grass, block after block of open green space, with not a thing on them but a few tourists who had strayed from the broad gravel pedestrian paths.

"What a waste of space!" my Angeleno friend exclaimed. 

Before I could say anything in defense of the unbroken stretch of grass that connected the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the US Capitol in one stunning panorama, she added, "Just think how many cars they could park in this space!"

Fast forward close to half a century later, and apparently some others have been thinking in a similar way: too much empty, green space here -- but our modern park designers have come up with a far, far better use for it than a big parking lot for tourists' cars: It's now a grand exhibition space for large sculptures and interactive art installations.

All I can say is WOW! ....And it's a whole lot more creative than a pile of parked cars!

The show is called "Beyond Granite," and it's free and open to all, no reservations needed. I won't describe the visitor's experience;  I'll leave that to the professional art critics, who very much liked what they saw.

The excellent write up in DCist not only covers the art experience, but provides practical tips for visitors, such as locations of each of the six art installations, links for signing up for art walks, finding the "welcome stations," and a site map (see below)

I hope I needn't remind you, if you go, don't try to drive and park nearby!
"Still Life with Robin" is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Get Out! And March with Martin Luther King III to Continue the Campaign for Civil Rights on the 60th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington

 by Peggy Robin

The 2023 March on Washington will set the tone for 2024 exactly 60 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other Civil Rights Leaders organized the pivotal March on Washington in August 1963.

Your invitation comes from Martin Luther King III:

"As the nation reckons with historic levels of violent hate crimes and threats to its democracy, we must continue the decades old fight for democracy, social justice, and civil rights. Join me, Martin Luther King lll, Arndrea Waters King, Yolanda Renee King, Drum Major Institute, National Action Network, and more on August 26, 2023 at the Lincoln Memorial for the 60th anniversary March on Washington.

It’s Not A Commemoration, It’s A Continuation! We March On!"

For more information, call (877) 626-4651
National Action Network
106 W. 145th Street
Harlem, New York 10039

On the 60th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, organized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders in 1963, we come together to continue the fight for democracy, social justice and civil rights.

Join the King family at the Lincoln Memorial to honor the past, acknowledge the present and march toward a future of progress and equality.

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

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Still Life with Robin: August 25 Is Your Deadline to Vote! (in the Rename Dave Thomas Circle Election)

by Peggy Robin

OK, so it's not a vote for statehood. Or for a Congressional representative who is anything more than a non-voting delegate. Or for anything of any consequence whatsoever. But here in DC we don't get a lot of chances to vote for things that matter, so we must take what we can get. And right now you are being asked to pick your favorite among the five proposed names for the newly created traffic islands -- three related but unconnected green spaces -- around the intersections of New York Avenue, Florida Avenue, and First Street NE. It's the confluence of streets that used to have a Wendy's sitting alone in the center and was therefore commonly, and jokingly, referred to by the name of the fast food chain's founder, as "Dave Thomas Circle"

Sound familiar? Maybe it's because I wrote about the renaming contest back in April, when members of the public were invited to submit nominations for renaming the redesigned space. That column has all the rich details, the history, the drama....blah-blah-blah -- see:

Now we're down to the heart of it. Five names have been chosen as the finalists. For more about the history and background, go to:

You can vote for....
  1. Douglass Crossing – Survey respondents suggesting this name emphasized the important contributions of Frederick Douglass, social reformer and abolitionist, who was a District resident;
  2. Mamie “Peanut” Johnson Plaza –This name pays homage to the first woman to ever pitch in the Negro Leagues. She was a longtime resident of Northeast DC, a graduate of Long Branch High School, and a youth sports advocate;
  3. People’s Plaza – This option invokes the name of the adjacent, still-standing former warehouse for the DMV-headquartered People’s Drug Store, predecessor to CVS, and is also a double entendre, emphasizing the fact that this new public space belongs to the people of the District;
  4. Three Stars Plaza – This option emphasizes the three stars that are prominent in the DC flag and also reflects the three separate, green public spaces that will be delivered through the intersection redesign project;
  5. Tiber Gateway – Tiber Creek, now diverted underground, ran near First Street NE and was important to the early development of DC. Referencing the creek in this name would help connect DC back to the natural characteristics and resources that made its very existence possible.
[These descriptions are copied from the NoMa BID website at ]

Having a hard time making up your mind? Would you like a Voter's Guide? You've come to the right place! Here's my quick take on the five candidates:

1. Douglass Crossing. Haven't we got enough Douglass references in DC already? He's got his house turned into a National Museum, he's got a wowser of a bridge named for him, he's got his statue in Statuary Hall in the US Capitol, and then there's the plan to turn DC into a 51st State called Douglass Commonwealth. The man doesn't need these three strips of grass, on top of all that! On the other hand, the designation of these three separate strips as a "Crossing" makes a lot of sense. So if you believe there's no such thing as too much Frederick Douglass, or if you just want to call this place a "Crossing," vote for #1.

2. Mamie "Peanut" Johnson Plaza. That's some mouthful! Realistically, who's going to call it that, if this choice wins? You just know it will be shortened to "Peanut Plaza". Perhaps if they put up a statue of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson in the largest of the three strips of grass, people would learn a little baseball history. But my vote would be to give the lady a statue at  the new NLB Museum in Kansas City, MO. As for the second part - calling these three discontinuous parcels of land a "plaza" -- nope!

3. People's Plaza. Anything that reminds us that the giant corporate entity called CVS was once a nice little local chain of drugstores named "People's" has got to be viewed as a good thing! Even though it's tied to that not terribly accurate noun "Plaza," there's a lot to like about the "People's Plaza" name -- unless, of course, you can't help thinking about all those Soviet-era bureaus and puppet governments that used call themselves, "People's" this or that -- when they were anything but! I could go either way on this one, but fortunately, I think the next option presents a better choice.

4. Three Stars Plaza. "Three Stars" stand for the three stars on the DC flag, and they stand for the three patches of land that make up this non-"Plaza". It's easy to remember, not too cutesy, nothing cringe-y about it. It's got my vote!

5. Tiber Gateway. Not sure who would go for this one, or why. There's no evidence of Tiber Creek at this location anymore, and what would it be the Gateway" to?. It's a big "Huh?" I have a hard time understanding how this random name could have made the top five. 

Now are you ready to vote?

I will be back to report the winner once the voting closes and the results are in!

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