Saturday, September 25, 2021

Still Life with Robin: I Have a (Spelling) Bee in My Bonnet!

Beeatrice, Queen Bee
of the New York Times
Spelling Bee
by Peggy Robin

You will need to indulge me today. I usually write about things connected  in some way or another with the Cleveland Park neighborhood, or fitting under the broader rubric of life in Washington, DC. The theme of this column today can be rationalized as on-topic simply because there are plenty of people in this neighborhood, and even more around the DMV, who are as addicted as I am to the New York Times Spelling Bee. Not familiar with this daily word game? Learn all about its strange allure here. Novelist Laura Lipman speaks for all of us Spelling Bee obsessives when she describes the appeal of the puzzle in this essay in 

With that introduction, let me use the rest of this space to complain about the puzzle and specifically, about all the words that its daily constructor, Sam Ezersky (also known by his Twitter handle, @thegridkid), excludes from play. He is the sole arbiter of what words are accepted and will earn you points toward the crown.

However, before getting to these words, let me preface my complaint by saying I have no beef with him whenever he includes words that I never knew till I started doing the puzzle every day. I'm always happy to expand my vocabulary -- and  was perfectly content to add all of the following to it: agita, aril, arum, attar, blat, bola, botnet, caul, cirri, delt, ecotone, eidetic, epode, heptane, horal, jugging, laten, lateen, llano, minim, motet, nepenthe, nonagon, nonillion, ollie, opah, palapa, palp, parador, pawl, pillion, pipit, puli, raita, tali, tamari, tilth, toonie, tubule, unhat, unroof, and wight.

Now for what puts that bee in my bonnet: It's the utter failure to acknowledge words that I use and consider not the least bit obscure. Sam appears disinclined to listen to the devotees of this daily game whenever they tell him he's left out words that occur in our everyday speech. And to prove it, let's show how, without these words, Sam can't do any of the following RANDO things:

If he's out sailing, he can't turn his sail ALEE.
He can’t toss a BEACHBALL.
He can’t put down a BATHMAT (guess, he'll just slip and fall.)
He can't play hangman because there isn't a GIBBET
He can’t read the GNOMEN on a sundial.
He can’t catch and grill a GRUNION – though there’s plenty of other fish on his menu (opah, for one)
He’s must be confused about iodine because he doesn’t understand that it’s made up of IODIDE ions. You can’t have one without the other.
If he becomes an archaeologist, he can’t find the MIDDEN.
He can’t discuss the elementary particles that make up the universe without MUONs.
He can’t clean anything with MURIATIC acid. His concrete walls must be pretty grimy.
He may eat some sushi but without any NORI wrappers.
He can’t access an ATM because he doesn’t recognize know what a PINPAD is.
He can’t write to a PENPAL.
He can’t play a PANPIPE
He can’t dress up like a WWI soldier in PUTTEES
He may become a samurai but never a RONIN.
He can’t have a TUILE on top of his dessert.
He can still have an outbreak of UTICARIA– as long as he calls it hives. 

Does all of this make him sound like a BIMBO?

We really need to convene a CURIA to adjudicate these words.

OK, I'm done least for today!


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

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Get Out! And Experience ART ALL NIGHT All Over Town - Sept 24 & 25

Image: Art All Night Gallery
by Peggy Robin

With so many fall festivals and fairs this weekend, you might think I would have a hard time picking out the event of the week for the weekly "Get Out!" column. Not so!
ART ALL NIGHT is the runaway winner, with happenings in all eight wards of the city, both Friday and Saturday nights.
Start here:

Cleveland Park does not have its very own AAN but these five are pretty close:
If you would like to venture farther afield, the guide in has a handy interactive map at Just click on any of the AAN icons to pull up a side-bar with the highlights of that event, some photos, and a link to the AAN website for all the details.
None of these websites, however, will answer the question that must be on everyone's mind: "How does an event that ends at midnight get to be called 'All Night'?"
Here's my guess for the answer: The fairy godmother from Cinderella came up with the concept! (And since I'll be taking my pumpkin-coach home around 10pm, I certainly don't object!)

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

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Why Do They Do It?

Photo credit: Ben Lieu Song
via Flickr (Creative Commons)

by Peggy Robin

For those who don’t read every single message on the CP Listserv (you don’t??? you should!), let me briefly recap yesterday’s Administrative Note. (It's Message  if you want to read the whole’s long!). For the past few months, someone has been messing big-time with There seems to be some sort of malware program inserted into a number of the bigger groups across the broad platform, causing random messages from these subscription-only groups to be delivered to non-members, who neither want them nor understand why they’re receiving them. They just want it to stop. And these unwilling recipients have been pretty upset at any group owner whose group has unwittingly sent them messages. I’ve heard an earful (well, an inbox-ful) of insults from those who end up getting listserv messages they never signed up for. I went over the mechanics of what happened in my message to the group, posted yesterday.

Now that I’ve set up some barriers to prevent any more faked email addresses from signing on, I think we may have prevented these hackers from doing any further damage. Yes, there still may a few bad email addresses that still need to be rooted out. But I can’t see how any more could be inserted among our membership. And now that we’re done with that phase of this unfortunate business, there’s time to do a little reflecting on the meaning of it all.

By which I mean, the underlying point of the hack. What was it all about? What were they after? Not money. They never sent out scam emails to anyone. Not to “harvest” valid email addresses, either. All they ever did was take some messages – just the usual neighborhood chatter (“Where can I buy the best avocados?” and “What paperwork do I need to bring to the DMV?”) -- and pass them along to random people around the country who had never even heard of Cleveland Park. At most, they annoyed a few dozen members of our listserv. And, I suppose, a much larger number on many others listservs with open memberships in the system.

Maybe the annoyance was the point. Or maybe there wasn’t really a point at all. I’m guessing (based on no evidence at all) that the whole project could have been cooked up by some teenagers, just to do mischief. Just because they could.

Another theory is the revenge motive. Suppose the hackers had been running some kind of illegal enterprise on the platform, and they’d been found out, and had abruptly shut them down --.pulled the plug on them. Maybe the whole thing is someone's way of getting back at the system that undermined their group.

Then there’s the “It’s the Russians” answer. Whenever there’s been hacking or malware anyway, odds are high that it’s coming from an IP address somewhere in Russia. Statistically speaking, that’s where the trail is likely to lead. But to what end? Could be as simple as junior-hackers practicing the skills of their trade? Or maybe just doing any little thing to foster confusion and irritation in American communities….?

Am I starting to sound paranoid? Well, maybe a little. It’s been a rough few months, being on the receiving end of all the complaints and accusations about my group and its misdirected missives.

In the end, I’m left as much in the dark as I was at the start. I’m slowly coming around to the idea that I may never know the why of what happened. But I will never stop wondering…..

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

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Get Out! It's Park(ing) Day 2021 on Friday, September 17

Photo credit:
International Parking Day
PARK(ing) Day 2021 

PARK(ing) Day returns to the District of Columbia on Friday, September 17, 2021, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. This annual event is an opportunity for District residents and businesses to display their creativity, building pop-up parks in curbside parking spaces throughout the District's eight wards.

Initially started in San Francisco in 2005, PARK(ing) Day is an event in which residents and businesses re-think the use of public space by converting metered on-street parking spaces into temporary parks. Since its inception, the event has spread to cities around the world, taking place on the third Friday of September.

The pop-up parklet locations for PARK(ing) Day 2021 are located in the map at: . The map also includes a suggested bike route for those who choose to visit parklets by bicycle, DDOT’s recommended mode of transportation for the event! 

The DDOT announcement of Park(ing) Day DC is here:

Be sure to check out the parklets created around the world – see
 for photos!


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

Friday, September 10, 2021

Still Life with Robin: It Was 20 Years Ago Today....

NYC 9/11 Memorial & Museum

by Peggy Robin


In every column, on every TV, on the radio, in every newspaper, and everywhere you look today, you will be reminded of this day, 20 years ago. This column is no exception.


New York City will mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11, as they’ve done every year with the “Tribute in Light”. You can view the display and learn how the Tribute of Light came about in this 2 minute video produced by the New York 911 Memorial & Museum:


Here is Washington there will be an observance ceremony hosted by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley at the Pentagon Memorial. Starting at 9 AM the event will be livestreamed on the Department of Defense live video site at:


The commemorative ceremony at Shanksville, PA will be livestreamed starting at 9:45 (Flight 93 went down at 10:03 AM) – and can be viewed on the Flight 93 national Memorial Facebook page:


Here in Cleveland Park, we will be hearing the bells of the National Cathedral playing a carillon recital of songs starting at 12:30 PM.


The repertoire will be as follows:


On Eagles Wings, Michael Joncas (b. 1951); arr. Richard Giszczak (b.1948)

Largo from Partita 2, Joseph Haydn (1732-1800); arr. Bernard Winsemius (b.1945)

Andante and Air from Orfeo (Dance of the Blessed Spirits), Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787); arr. Ronald M. Barnes (1927-1997)

Prelude Solennel, W. Lawrence Curry (1906-1966)

In Memoriam, September 11, 2001, John Courter (1941-2010)

God Bless America, Irving Berlin (1888-1989); arr. Kamiel Lefevere (1888-1984)


The complete schedule of 911 remembrances, prayers, and ceremonies at the Washington National Cathedral is available here:



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

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Get Out! And See the Car That's a Star

1981 DeLorean
Photo by Hagerty Drivers Foundation
by Peggy Robin

This week’s highlighted event for the “Get Out!” column is out today (Tuesday) – not waiting on our usual Thursday publication date for this column --because the displayed object of interest is only here until Thursday. If you don’t get to see it in person, before it’s gone, you can always catch it in one of the movie re-runs on TV or in streaming video – it’s always around. It’s the time-traveling star of the Back to the Future movies (I, II & III). I’m not talking of any of the humans in the cast; I’m talking about that car!  

You can catch it in our own time-period from now until September 9, as the first in the series of “Cars at the Capital” events on the National Mall (between the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery of Art).

Details here:

September 2-9
1981 De Lorean DMC-12 (Back to the Future "Time Machine" Hero Car)
The 1981 De Lorean DMC-12 Time Machine used in the hit 1985 time-travel movie Back to the Future.
Read more info

Just in case you miss the DeLorean, you still have till the end of September to see other three historic automobiles from the National Historic Vehicle Register, on loan from the nonprofit Hagerty Drivers Foundation. Here’s the schedule through the end of September:

September 10-16
Week 2
1970 Dodge Challenger RT S/E "Qualls Challenger"
"The Black Ghost" was a Detroit street racing legend that represents the golden age of American muscle cars.
Read more info

September 17-23
Week 3
1921 Duesenberg Straight Eight "Castle Duesenberg"
The first passenger Duesenberg sold to the public which set the foundation for one of the most luxurious and exclusive automotive brands to ever exist.
Read more info

September 24-30
Week 4
1979 Lamborghini Countach LP400 S from The Cannonball Run

The poster car of the 1980s, the Lamborghini Countach is a radically styled, mid-engined Italian exotic that was the birth of the modern-day supercar.
Read more info

The “Get Out” event of the week is usually published on The Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays….except when it isn’t.   

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Get Out! And Eat Sandwiches In Aid of Afghan Refugees

by Peggy Robin


What’s better than a fun and tasty new sandwich creation? A sandwich that you can enjoy that will help out newly arrived Afghan refugees, that’s what!


You don’t need to sacrifice a thing to make it happen. All you have to do is pay for a really great lunch!


You can do this every day for the next four days, starting Thursday, September 2, at the Belly Full pop-up at the Waterfront Wharf space run by Grazie Grazie.


Here’s how DC Eater describes this four-day event:    


Sandwich by Grazie Grazie.
Sub shop Grazie Grazie is known for its Philly sensibilities, attracting customers to its tiny space in the waterfront Wharf development with fried chicken cutlets and cheesesteaks built with grass-fed beef and Cooper sharp provolone. But for a few days this week, a handful of the most-celebrated chefs in D.C. will be popping up to sell a limited run of sandwiches that fold in Middle Eastern, Caribbean, and Korean ingredients.


Chefs from Levantine hot spot Albi, Jamaican-style Bammy’s, and casual Chinese and Korean Chiko will take turns selling custom sandwiches at Grazie Grazie to help owner Casey Patten raise money for Kind Works, a nonprofit that’s helping resettle Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban-controlled government.


All sandwiches are $14, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to Kind Works.


Here’s the schedule for the Belly Full pop-up, which will sell sandwiches on-site – at 85 District Square SW on the Waterfront -- and through Caviar and Doordash.


Day 1: Thursday, September 2

Albi: Chef and owner Michael Rafidi created a “My Heart” sandwich — Albi means “my heart” in Arabic — full of smoked lamb, garlic toum, habibi sauce, batata harra (spicy potatoes), and feta on a seeded roll.


Day 2: Friday, September 3

Bammy’s: Owners Gerald Addison and Chris Morgan, well-known for their past jobs as the opening chefs at Maydan, are channeling their Caribbean spot in Navy Yard with a “Boston Bay” sandwich full of jerk chicken sausage, allspice mayo, cole slaw, and jerk barbecue sauce on a seeded roll.


Day 3: Saturday, September 4

Grazie Grazie: Patten, the owner of Grazie Grazie, has been hosting regular pan pizza pop-ups at the shop. For the fundraiser, he’s making “Za Burger” - pizza burger with beef, spicy vodka sauce aioli, Ezzo Sausage Co. (famous for ‘roni cups), mozzarella, provolone, and Calabrian chile honey on toasted brioche.


Day 4: Sunday, September 5

Chiko: Danny Lee and Scott Drewno, the chefs who own Chiko and Korean gastropub Anju, are serving a Chiko chicken roll with a gochujang marinade, sesame slaw, and pickled daikon on a seeded roll.


Any one of these sandwiches sound worthy of a trip to the Waterfront – or you can bring the Waterfront to you through your order from Caviar or Doordash – all while you help do Kind Works.


The “Get Out!” event of the week is posted each Wednesday or Thursday on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local.  

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Feed the Birds (Again)

Photo by Joe Myers via Creative Commons
by Peggy Robin


Remember those warnings back in June about the spread of the bird-blinding disease? We were all asked to stop any bird feeding or puttingout bird baths. Like humans asked to maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of disease, we needed to keep birds from congregating in groups where they could infect each other. 


While we humans still need to be careful about gathering closely with our unprotected fellow humans, I’m happy to report that the danger to birds appears to have passed. Here's the good news, as reported earlier this week in the Washington Post:  


A couple of days later, my favorite local Postie, John Kelly, took up the subject in his column, giving a number of quick, practical tips for putting your bird feeder back up, accompanied by a photo of a red cardinal at his feeder as a bonus (and no, it’s not redundant to say “red cardinal” because half of them -- the female half -- are brown.)


While you are washing off your old feeders and getting ready to re-hang them – along with your squirrel baffles and other seed-protective equipment – here’s a song to help get you in the mood:


Also, don’t forget it’s also cool to provide a bird bath again. If you don’t have a back yard where you can put a bird bath, you can get a second-hand thrill of birds enjoying the water in this delightful video:


I’ll close this one out with my theme song – Rockin’ Robin, of course!



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

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Get Out! And Your Little Dog, Too!

Photo by Bill Adler
by Peggy Robin

This week’s featured event is National Dog Day at Washington Harbor.

Here's the invitation:


National Dog Day

Join us on Thursday, August 26 to celebrate National Dog Day at The Capital Wheel and Flight Deck!
Dogs ride The Capital Wheel FREE with purchase of an adult ticket – plus, donate a can of dog food and get $5 Off your adult ticket! (limit 2 per transaction).
Head to Flight Deck for Yappy Hour where there will be doggie swag bags, treats for doggies and humans, and beer specials!  

The Capital Wheel at National Harbor
141 American Way
National Harbor, MD 20745 

Not familiar with National Dog Day? It’s been around since 2004 and is celebrated annually on August 26 -- right at the end of "the dog days” of summer!

More about National Dog Day here:  

Not a dog person? Maybe you'd rather celebrate National Cat Day. Just hang on for a couple of months, not quite till Halloween. October 29 is the holiday that's the cat's meow! (And let's see if National Harbor will let you take your cat for a ride on the Capital Wheel!)


The Get Out! Event of the Week is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local usually on Thursdays, but occasionally (like today) on Wednesday.     

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Still Life with Robin: The Best of DC According to WTOP

Baked by Yael
by Peggy Robin

If you’ve been following this column even for a short time, you know I love contests, opinion polls, and awards shows. Vote for the panda name you like best. (My first choice has lost every time.) Name the Potomac River Dolphins. (My entry Mac & Chessie won! I am prouder of that than lots more substantive things I’ve done in my life!) Vote for the best kid-drawn Google Doodle – and a John Eaton student was a finalist! I could list a few more, but you get the idea.

Now add to that love of contests my enthusiasm for all things Cleveland Park, and you can imagine my delight at getting to vote in the WTOP contest, The Top Ten Best of DC – with ten categories, and in each of the ten, at least one nominee from Cleveland Park or an adjacent neighborhood (Woodley Park, Tenleytown, Cathedral Heights, Forest Hills – all prime listserv membership territory.)

Here were my choices in that contest:

Best Bakery: Baked by Yael. This one was a no-brainer – Baked by Yael has unquestionably got DC’s best cakepops! Bagels too!

Best BBQ: Fat Pete’s BBQ – in the heart of Cleveland Park. I’m not really that big a BBQ fan but I wouldn’t dream of voting for anyone else.

Best Brunch: The clear choice was Silver Diner - even though the version we have in Cleveland Park is not technically a diner -- it's the Silver Brasserie. I was fine with voting for the whole restaurant group.

Best Burger: Picked the one right here in Tenleytown - Z Burger. The burgers come out fast but they never taste like fast food. 

Best Coffee: Another Tenleytown pick, Steak ‘n’ Egg Kitchen - the old-fashioned, down-home breakfast bar. Nothing yupscale about it.

Best Crabs. Dancing Crab is no more! So had to sit this one out.

Best International: Taim. Yes, they’re a listserv sponsor! Yes, my vote was influenced by that. When people support the listserv, I support them back. It’s a choice that’s more than justified by the good food they produce at extremely reasonable prices.

Best Vegetarian: It’s Taim again. All the other choices on the WTOP list in this category were far, far away.

Best Pizza: 2 Amy’s Neapolitan Pizzeria, right on Macomb St at the Western edge of Cleveland Park.

Best Place to Get a Drink: So many great choices in Cleveland Park did not make the list of finalists. Only Matchbox (Cathedral Commons) was a nominee close to home, so they got my vote. Only wish that Cleveland Park Bar & Grill (they hosted my Jeopardy watch party) had made the list!   

On August 17 2021 WTOP announced the winners in each category – they’re all here:   

So thrilled to announce that Baked by Yael won Best Bakery! I’m pretty sure that listserv voters played a big part in the victory!

As they say in the award-show biz, it’s an honor just to be nominated – so congratulations to all our neighborhood businesses that were WTOP finalists!

And you can bet that in 2022 we’ll be organizing to support our local nominees well in advance of the vote!


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

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Get Out! Enjoy the Evening at Ivy & Coney and Help Afghan Refugees at the Same Time

 by Peggy Robin

The Event of the Week selected for the “Get Out” column is usually a fun fair, a performance, a sidewalk sale – something we think you’ll enjoy. This week, we hope you will enjoy drinks or a meal at Ivy and Coney, 1537 7th St NW, in Shaw, and we think you will enjoy it even more, knowing that 100 PERCENT of the proceeds tonight, will benefit HIAS, an immigrant resettlement nonprofit now working hard in the current crisis to help newly arrived Afghan refugees.

More about this in Eater DC and Washingtonian online.

If you can't make it to Ivy and Coney tonight but you want to help in other ways, there's no lack of opportunity. Lapis, the Afghan restaurant in Adams Morgan (1847 Columbia Road NW, corner of Mintwood Pl), is collecting household items for arriving families. Drop off is weekdays only, now through August 27, from 10am-5pm at Lapis -- and also at The Berliner Beer Hall, 3401 Water Street NW, 20007.

More info available on Instagram:  - swipe right to see lists of items accepted 

Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area is another organization doing great work on this crisis. 

Everything is needed for people fleeing with just the clothes on their backs -- but money and gift cards allow for more flexibility in filling their needs. Volunteers are always welcome. Here's a news story from WJLA-7 about local organizations most active in this crisis:

Have a productive weekend, everyone!

The "Get Out" event of the week is a regular Thursday feature of the Cleveland Park Listserv and All Life Is Local.