Saturday, June 12, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Just in Time for Flag Day....

99 Percent Invisible: True South Flag
by Peggy Robin

Just in time for Flag Day (coming up this Monday, June 14), there’s an episode of the podcast 99 Percent Invisible devoted to stories about flags. You don’t need to save it for the 14th, as it’s not about the design or display of the American Flag, which is the object of Monday’s rituals and ceremonies. This episode of the podcast is divided into two stories, one 32 minutes long and the other 12 minutes – both well worth a listen:

The first story is about the Japanese custom during World War II to give the gift of a flag to departing soldiers as they went off to war. The flag was not the simple national flag of Japan -- the simple red circle in the middle of a white field -- but it was decorated all over with good luck messages and other personal wishes, handwritten by all the service member’s friends and family. Not many of these flags came home with the defeated soldiers and sailors who had carried them into battle. The story in the podcast is is the touching account of one such flag and its journey. Warning: if you are at all sentimental, keep a handkerchief handy! 

The second story concerns a land that has no flag – Antarctica -- and the quest of one committed flag designer to create one for it.

By the way, the podcast 99 Percent Invisible has a backlist of hundreds of episodes on an astonishing variety of design-related subjects. Taking a long car trip this summer? You can stock up on podcasts at: or search for episodes by categories, including:  Architecture; Infrastructure; Cities: Objects; Sounds; Visuals; Technology; History.

Unexpected bonus: You may find (as I have) that Roman Mars, the host and main creative force behind 99 Percent Invisible, has the most mellifluous voice in radio!

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

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Get Out! Capital Pride Events This Weekend and All Month Long


Capital Pride Celebration
by Peggy Robin
Too many events to post them all! Last year's Pride Month events were all virtual, and we seem to be making up lost time with more real-live events this year than anyone could attend!
Close to home is the Dupont Circle Pop-up on Saturday from 12 noon to 6 PM with more than 50 artists, craftspeople, and other vendors celebrating Pride week with their art, jewelry, handicrafts, and other wares. Support our neighborhood businesses and artists. More info at   
Also at Dupont Circle starting at noon on Saturday, June 12, it's the Pride Walk & Rally

SAT JUN 12 2021 FROM 12:00 PM TO 05:00 PM - Dupont Circle to Freedom Plaza

Gather at Dupont Circle at noon to prepare to walk, run, bike, rollerblade, stroll, etc. to Freedom Plaza. We will depart at 12:30 pm and head down P ST NW to Logan Circle. From Logan Circle we will head south on 13th ST and finish at Freedom Plaza for the Pride Rally. No motor vehicles will be permitted. If anyone is unable to meet at Dupont Circle, then please depart from your own neighborhood and make your way down to Freedom Plaza by 2:00 pm. There will be a short rally with music at Freedom Plaza as we prepare to kick-off the Pridemobile Parade at 3:00 pm.
You won't want to miss the big highlight of Pride Weekend, the Pridemobile Parade. Forget the marching bands, the disco dancers, and all those water-bottle giveaway from corporate sponsors. This parade is all about the coolest wheels. Here's the write-up posted by the Capital Pride Alliance: 
This year, the Capital Pride Alliance is excited to present for the first time the Colorful Pridemobile Parade! This unique mobile parade will feature the official Pridemobile trolley, followed by a colorful array of automobiles decorated by registered organizations and businesses, all on display for enthusiastic onlookers to enjoy. The Pridemobile Parade route will be shared with the general public prior to the event and will pass through some of the city’s most lively areas for optimum visibility, including Dupont and Logan Circles, and iconic landmarks such as the Capitol Building.
Want to participate in a way that gets you moving? You can join in the Pride Run:
PRIDE RUN: Celebrate with endorphins by joining DC Frontrunner’s Pride 5K event. The offers both virtual and in-person options: runners/walkers can get in their 5K (3.1 miles) on their own or join the Frontrunners family at the Congressional Cemetery on June 12. Registration includes a medal and discounts for Pacers and DC Brau. Sign up:  
Can't make it to any of these specific events? Here's something to see all month long:
Paint the Town Colorful -  
During the month of June, we invite you to enjoy a self-guided tour of participating Paint the Town Colorful with Pride installations. Each registered entry will be featured on our interactive Paint the Town Colorful map, so that you can explore other creations in your specific neighborhood, ward, or throughout the entire region! Participating locations will feature a QR code, making it easy to support the GivePride365 Fund. Donations can be made in any amount, and the more times you donate, the more chances you’ll have to win exciting prizes!  

View map: - scroll down the page to view the map - zoom in to see any locations up close.

You can find the Full Monty of Pride Events this month at If that chock-full-of-Pride website is too much for you to navigate, you can see a curated version of what's on over at First, here are the events listed for this weekend: And here's the DCist's easy-to-navigate guide to Pride Month in Washington:
Still Life with Robin is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Whose Door Is It Anyway?

by Peggy Robin

Has this ever happened to you? Let me first set up the sequence of events: You are expecting a delivery via UPS. You are signed up for their delivery tracking app, which tells you in a series of emails or text messages (your choice) that your package has been shipped, that it's on its way to the local distribution center, then it's on the truck - with a little graphic that shows the truck tootling along to your house - and finally, it's been delivered and it's waiting for you on your doorstep. The final email has a photo of the package showing exactly where you will find it when you step out your front door. This is especially useful if the UPS deliverer thoughtfully removes the package from public view by hiding it behind a porch pillar or putting it under a piece of porch furniture. I appreciate the thoughtfulness - and the photo solution to the "where is my package?" puzzle.

Now here comes the problem. A few days ago, I got the first email in the sequence about the package. When the last one arrived, showing the photo of the delivered package at the door, I immediately saw - that's NOT my front door. I went downstairs to the front door and opened it, and sure enough, no package. I looked high and low. Behind the porch pillar. Under the wicker furniture (my, that needs sweeping under there!). Even checked around the sides and back of the house. Then I went back upstairs, opened the UPS email, and saw the question, "How did we do?" asking me to rate their delivery service. I clicked "not great" and reported delivery was made to wrong address.

Then I started checking my Amazon order to see what I needed to do to get my money back or get my order re-delivered to the right address. Now, let me add, my order wasn't anything critical or time-sensitive. I get these office supplies from time to time, and I wasn't close to running out. So I put it on my to-do list to check into the non-delivery sometime later -- maybe in a day or two.

Then later that evening my daughter, who lives in Philadelphia, called to thank me for the present. I had totally forgotten that she had mentioned that she needed a particular hard-to-find kitchen gadget, and I had said, "Don't go looking for it in Philadelphia -- I'll send you one. THAT was the package that Amazon had delivered, and the delivery photo showed the package on HER doorstep. I just didn't recognize it.

So what's my complaint? Package correctly delivered, right? But I had already told UPS that they'd got it wrong. I wanted to go back and right the wrong, to be sure the driver wasn't told he'd messed up. But when I went back to the UPS site looking for a way to retract my earlier driver rating, there was no option to say, "Oops, my earlier submission was a mistake - the driver did a great job" On the UPS site, the customer, apparently is always right, even when they're wrong!

And now I come back to the "has this ever happened to you" question. If anyone has ever figured out how to un-report a mis-delivered package, please let me know!

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

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Get Out! And visit your friendly neighborhood Arts Center - AU's Katzen Arts Center has reopened!

by Peggy Robin
Good news keeps coming. The Zoo is open. The cicadas are singing! And AU's art museum has reopened and is welcoming neighbors with timed entry passes - all free.
Here's the what, where, and how. If you need the why, you'll get it when you visit the exhibits.
The American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center has reopened to the public and welcomes back patrons and neighbors with limited hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  
Visitors may reserve timed tickets now for June. They will receive a health and safety form via email 24 hours prior to the visit. To enter the museum, visitors must agree to AU’s health and safety guidelines, including wearing a mask throughout the visit and maintaining physical distance.
The three exhibitions now on view are:
Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience brings the world home through the stories and objects of 30 individuals, representing a sampling of the 240,000 people who have volunteered their service. The exhibition, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Peace Corps, spotlights cross-cultural understanding as nations and people around the world are undergoing major economic, social, and migratory change. The exhibition invites viewers to understand what volunteers and host communities experience together. Objects on view include clothing, musical instruments and items used in food preparation in host countries.
Raya Bodnarchuk: This is a True Picture of How it Was exhibits 1,926 works of gouache and ink paintings shown together for the first time. Through her long career, Bodnarchuk has never wavered in the pursuit of her craft or commitment to mentoring the next generation of artists. Best known for her sculpture, collage and silkscreens, this exhibit began as advice to her students to “Do something you love every day” and evolved into a brilliant chronicle of six years of her life beginning in 2013 and concluding in 2019.      
The Long Sixties: Washington Paintings in the Watkins and Corcoran Legacy Collections, 1957-1982 is a survey of paintings by Washington artists that tells the story of political engagement (or lack thereof) in the arts during the “long” 1960s. Curated by AU Museum Director and Curator Jack Rasmussen, the exhibit contains selected paintings that draw upon memories of what Rasmussen calls “a formative time” in his life. The narrative addresses the history of systemic racism and sexism in the arts, and its enduring impact on the art shown in museums today. It also emphasizes the need for politically engaged art through the present day.  “My perspective includes the acknowledgement of persistent, systemic gender and racial injustice, bias, and violence that was present in the ‘50s, laid bare in the ‘60s, and continues to the present day,” Rasmussen said. “It is clear to me that the defining characteristic of most white mainstream art made between 1957 and 1982 in Washington was an adherence to aesthetic and commercial constraints that encouraged artists to remain silent when their voices are most needed. What pushback there was against this tendency was led by Black and women artists, whose work has been systematically underrepresented in the collections of Washington museums.” All current exhibits also may be experienced virtually online.      
Free timed tickets are now available for Tuesdays and Thursdays in June, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1:00-2:30 p.m. Each visitor must register individually, and tickets are non-transferable.   
Email with questions about your visit.
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8031   
The Get Out! Events column is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.    

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Still Life with Robin: This Otter Be Good News!

National Park Service

by Peggy Robin

Looks like my “Still Life with Robin” column is turning into “Wild life with Robin.” Last week we did cicadas. In previous columns I’ve written about Potomac River dolphins, little brown bats, raccoons, red foxes, bunnies, squirrels, deer, hawks, and coy-wolves, and now….river otters!

I am happy to spread the news, tweeted out by the National Park Service a few days ago, that the North American river otter – once widespread in our area but believed to be long gone – has been spotted in the Tidal Basin.

Here's the tweet with a photo of one playing in and around another popular water animal often seen in the Tidal Basin – the ubiquitous Swan Boat! 

They’re social animals, so where there’s one, there are bound to be otters (typo….I meant others!)

Stop me before I make anotter pun!

If you go to the Tidal Basin and sea any otters, be sure to take photos. And don’t forget to post them to the Cleveland Park Listserv (in .jpg format, under 500 KB, please!)

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

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Get Out! And Wake Up Early to See the Flower Blood Super Moon / Eclipse

Image Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio
by Peggy Robin
The event for this week's "Get Out!" column is, once again, not waiting on the usual Thursday publication date to debut. This astronomical event is happening in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, and if the skies are clear, it will be well worth the pre-dawn wake-up.
It's the Flower Blood Moon, a "super moon"....with a twist of partial lunar eclipse. Here's what you need to know, courtesy of my favorite gang, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang:
"If you glance skyward during the predawn hours Wednesday and the moon is bathed in an eerie red glow, don’t be alarmed. Parts of the western United States will be treated to a total lunar eclipse early in the morning, while skywatchers coast to coast can enjoy a bright full moon.

"Some are even calling it a “super flower blood moon,” making reference to its apparent size in the sky, the abundance of blooms at this time of year and the color the moon will turn during the eclipse."
As for optimal viewing....if you can hop on a plane for the West Coast, that's your best bet. But for those of us here on the East Coast, DC is just far enough south to give us a glimpse of the partial eclipse. Here's the advice from CWG: :
"If you live in New England, you’re out of luck when it comes to the eclipse. You’ll still see a full moon — one that some are calling a “supermoon” since it is marginally closer to Earth and therefore appears marginally brighter and larger — but it will set before the total eclipse begins.
"In Boston, Earth’s penumbra, or more diffuse, broad shadow (which is very faint), will nick the left side of the moon beginning at 4:47 a.m., but the moon will set at 5:16 a.m. Eastern time, nearly two hours before the total eclipse is slated to start. New York and Philadelphia will be in a similar boat.
"Washington and Baltimore are right on the cusp and will witness the umbra, or darkest part of Earth’s shadow, make contact with the edge of the moon before it sets. It still won’t be anything to write home about; in D.C., for instance, the partial eclipse begins just three minutes before the moon sinks below the horizon at 5:47 a.m.
[Source: Capital Weather Gang: Blood moon, total lunar eclipse to dazzle western U.S. on Wednesday morning
Want to see the Super Blood Flower moon /eclipse as if you were on the West Coast? After more than a year of pandemic-induced life online, you know there's going to be a virtual-reality substitute for nearly everything these days -- and here it is (as explained by the New York Times):
"As a consolation for those elsewhere in the country, the Griffith Observatory is hosting a live feed of the eclipse on its website from 1:45 a.m. to 5:50 a.m. Pacific. That means people in the Eastern time zone who wake up early enough can watch some of the show online."
[Source: When to Watch a Lunar Eclipse and Supermoon in Late Night Skies
Oh, and one more thing..... We really should call this one the Flower Blood CICADA Super Moon!
Still Life with Robin is usually published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays, but this one had to be on Tuesday due to the timing of the Flower Blood Cicada Supermoon -- with or without eclipse.    

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Still Life with Robin....And Cicadas

by Peggy Robin

Well, they’re not yet here in the trillions or billions or even mere millions, but I have seen a few early-emergers on the sidewalk. A close-up of one is attached.*

This poor bugger apparently made it out of its 17-year hole-in-the-ground only to see the sunshine, successfully shuffle off its exoskeleton, and transform itself into a red-eyed, winged creature….and then who knows what went wrong after that? Now here it is, lying lifeless on the sidewalk on Ordway Street. That's no big deal for a species whose evolutionary survival strategy is to rely on massive numbers to propagate the species, and if a few million don't make it to the mating stage, then they contribute to the well-being of many other creatures, including birds, rodents, house cats, raccoons, and other wildlife - by making a very tasty feast, helping them to propagate their species.

Soon enough, the sidewalks and trees and lawns and bushes and other surfaces will be full of them, singing merrily and loudly, mating, laying eggs—and laying the groundwork for Brood XI....seventeen years from now. Mark your calendars now for the year 2038!

For a succinct and very readable summary (no science-y jargon) of where we are in the process now, here's an article from Washingtonian online:
* If you can’t view the attached photo, you can see it at
Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Get Out! Friday, May 21 is National Bike to Work Day - 20th Anniversary!

by Peggy Robin

Still working from home? You don’t need to commute by bike to participate in National Bike to Work Day! No one is going to check to see if you are on your way to an office building when you stop by one of the Bike to Work Day pit stops to pick up your free T-shirt (given to the first 15,000 to register).

Here's the official pitch:

The Washington, DC region’s 20th Anniversary Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 21, 2021.
Join us at pit stops in DC, MD, and VA for this FREE event for a healthy and safe way to start your day. 
Even if you’ll still be working from home in May, get exercise by biking to a T-shirt Pickup Point (pit stop)  and then back home to work for the day. 
The first 15,000 who register and arrive at a pit stop by bike will receive a FREE T-shirt. Staggered hours and a strict COVID policy will be in place. 

So quick….register here: 
Pick your official pit stop here:
(There isn’t one in Ward 3 but there are nearby choices in Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, Glover Park, and Georgetown Waterfront.)


Learn more about National Bike to Work Day – the third Friday in May – at: and


The “Get Out!” event of the week is usually posted on Thursdays on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local – but this one is posted on Wednesday, as registration for this event is already open and the free T-shirts are limited to the first 15,000 to register. We don’t want anyone to miss out!   

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Still Life with Robin: Bike Lanes? Them's Fightin' Words!

by Peggy Robin

It's been fairly quiet so far on the CP Listserv for the first half of May.

Occasionally, I look back over the monthly totals of message volume that you can see recorded on our group's home page at "Message History"  - the last section, titled "Message History" showing a grid with all the years of the Listserv's existence, and then the message totals for each month of each year.

You will notice that March and April of 2021 show extraordinarily high monthly message totals: 1,475 for March and 1,432 for April, matched only by June (1,457) and July (1,484 )2020 when the contentious subject was the worsening pandemic and how and when we should wear masks to protect ourselves and others.

So what was the subject matter that resulted in the second-highest message volume in the Listserv's 22-year history?

Bicycle lanes! (Including their impact on pedestrian safety/driver behavior/reversible lanes/parking on Connecticut Avenue.)

Here are some of the discussion thread counts by subject line (this is by no means an exhaustive list):

Options for Reconfiguring Connecticut Ave: 46 messages
Connecticut Avenue Reversible Lanes: 9 messages
Connecticut Avenue Reversible Lanes: 16 messages
Draft ANC 3C resolution on Option C: 27 messages
ANC 3F Resolution of Option C: 32 messages
ANC 3C Resolution on Option C: 16 messages

Also, keep in mind there's a remarkably high number of messages that did not make it on-list because of one or more of the following: personal attack, unwarranted assumption about what someone else meant in a previous message, or general nastiness that could have sidetracked or derailed the discussion.

If the good people of Cleveland Park ever stop posting their opinions on the CP Listserv and take to the streets to march for their cause, I think we will need to place a physical barrier between the two sides, so that they don't come to blows!

I was thinking this sort of divisiveness could be a feature of the 20008/20016 zip codes....and then a few days ago cartoonist Stephan Pastis of "Pearls Before Swine" made me realize this was a nationwide phenomenon. See the proof in his cartoon, below.

[If you can't view the image of the cartoon, you should be able to see the online version here: you should not have to sign up for a free trial subscription to do so (I hope!)]

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

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Get Out! And Listen to the Crush Funk Brass Band's Socially Distanced Concert on Friday May 14th, 4-5pm on the NCRC Playground

by Peggy Robin


The highlighted event for the “Get Out!” column this week is a real live – but socially distanced – concert by the Crush Funk Brass Band, which will take place on the NCRC Pre-school’s playground, 3209 Highland Place NW, on Friday, May 14th from 4 – 5 PM. The concert was set up as a thank-you to the faculty and staff of NCRC after a challenging year, but neighbors are invited to come to the sidewalk or gather at spots nearby to enjoy the music.

The Crush Funk Brass Band has been featured in the Washington Post and Good Morning America. Crash Fund Brass is a local, New Orleans-style brass band. They’re young musicians – students at Howard and UDC – who have been lifting people’s spirits around the DMV by giving impromptu “Cabin Fever” concerts. They’re coming to NCRC to share their talents and positivity with an hour-long concert on Friday (rain or shine).


Crush Funk Brass bandleader Santo Buzzaca says:


“It is our community service to support mental health through music! The job is not finished, and there’s still much work to be done. We will continue to uplift and bring positivity to each community and to small and local businesses, through our music and community outreach!”


This is HAPPY music and we can all use a bit of that. Even socially distanced!


Check out their videos and community at:


The "Get Out!" events column is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays. 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Still Life with Robin: It's Mother's Day and a Whole Lot More

May 9 is Lilac Day 
(Photo via Creative Commons)

by Peggy Robin


Sunday, May 9, is Mother’s Day in the US and that’s something to celebrate for most of us, who are either mothers, or have mothers, or both – and some of those who are neither are still happy to take the second Sunday in May to honor those in their lives who have been loving or nurturing or simply a progenitor. But there are and always will be people who don’t see Mother’s Day as their holiday, for any number of reasons – some of them profound and others, well, maybe it’s just a personal quirk, disdaining the Hallmarkification of the holiday. But whatever the reason, there’s an alternative this May 9 to the mother-loving day. In fact, there are EIGHT alternatives. You can pick and choose to celebrate whichever of the following you like best, whether you are looking for: Something significant and world-changing (take Door #1); Something trivial and funny (try #8); or Something in between:


May 9 2021 has lots to choose from, as this date is also….


1. The 76th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. In Western Europe and the US, May 8 is the more commonly observed anniversary but because of the time difference between Western and Eastern Europe, it was already May 9 when the victory was declared in 1945 in the Soviet Union, where the worst battles of the war were fought – and so May 9 remains the official date for a holiday in the republics that were once behind the Iron Curtain -- with parades, ceremonies and commemorations, and of course, a day off work. For more on this holiday, see:


2. The 71st anniversary of the first official meeting of the nations that would become the European Union, and so is celebrated as EU Day or Europe Day in the member states. More about Europe Day at


3. Lilac Day. Local garden stores and nurseries may hold a lilac festival.


4. Billy Joel’s birthday (he’s 72, really!) Call it Piano Man Day:


And now come the silly holidays:


5. Hurray for Buttons Day:

Some fun trivia about the history of buttons on this website:


6. National Butterscotch Brownie Day.

Read all about it here:

And of course, there’s a recipe to make for this day:


7. National Tear the Tag Off Your Mattress Day.

Is it really illegal to tear the tag off your mattress? 

Learned something, didn’t you?


And last….and definitely least:

8. Lost Sock Memorial Day.

Have nothing to say for this one except to note a universal truth of our material world: No sock is ever truly lost. It’s there, somewhere. You just don’t know where.


Happy Mother’s Day to you if you celebrate it, and/or a Happy Victory Day/EuopeDay/Billy Joel B-day/Lilac Day/Buttons Day/Butterscotch Brownie Day/Tear the Tag Off Your Mattress Day/Lost Sock Memorial Day to you!



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