Sunday, December 31, 2017

Still Life with Robin: CP Listserv Year in Review, Part II: The Greatest Gifts of 2017

ANoshiro - Fireworks 2017 (via Creative Commons)
by Peggy Robin

As 2017 draws to a close we complete our two-part backward glance at some of the highlights of the year in Listserv posts. Last week it was Animal Tales and this week it’s Best Giveaways. In past year-end reviews we’ve given the nod to best posts of the year in eight to ten different categories, but this year we’ve opted for a scaled-back, spare approach, focusing on just these two types of messages. Perhaps in 2018 we’ll go back to the multi-category extravaganza. But it all depends on what next year will bring. We’ll find out in 12 months’ time. Now’s the time to appreciate the Greatest Listserv's Greatest Giveaways of 2017:

The year began with a series of giveaways on a theme – Watergate – which feels curiously relevant at this particular point in time. On January 12, 2017 our first contender for Best Giveaway of 2017 appears, submitted by Kathy R., who, immediately upon announcing that her free Watergate-era magazines had been claimed, even speculated about the likelihood of capturing the "best giveaway" prize:

Message # 121043
January 12 2017 Re: Taken - 4 Watergate-era Time magazines, free to good home
These are already promised...thanks for the interest, and sorry for any disappointment!  I don't expect to capture moderator Peggy's "best giveaway of 2017" award, but I might win January.

There followed a post offering a nice variety of Watergate-related items by Alfred F., under the irresistible subject line “Wallowing in Watergate – for free”:

For anyone wanting to return to 1973-74, I would be glad to contribute a full (12-volume) set of the Ervin Committee hearings, along with the April 1974 compilation of the White House tapes and a volume of background material on impeachment (House Judiciary Committee, October 1973).

I would also welcome interest in or advice on the disposition of a seven-volume set of the 1979 Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearings and report on the SALT II treaty and 20 or so volumes of hearings and reports on US-Soviet relations (1978) and "implementation" of the Helsinki Accords (1976-1982).

[The items were indeed wanted and soon taken.]

…which prompted Kathy R. to return to the conversation with an account of some Watergate-era items that she would definitely NOT be giving up anytime soon:

Re: Wallowing in Watergate - for free
"Wallowing in Watergate"...great subject line!
However, having started this thread, may I clarify that I am NOT about to give away my little pocket-sized copy of "The Wit and Wisdom of Spiro Agnew," nor my 78-rpm recording of "We're Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean," the 1973 novelty hit by The Creep (lyrics at Sorry, neighbors. Never mind that I own no device capable of playing the latter.

And the discussion was capped off on January 13, 2017 by an offer from Eleanor O. to give away a 1960s political poster called “The Last Supper” with political figures in place of Jesus and the Apostles:

`60s political poster - free
Attn: Neighbors,
Free to good new home: For the folks who were interested in Mr. Friendly’s wonderful collection of Watergate history I have a poster titled “The Last Supper.” The composition is similar to a DaVinci fresco of the same name, but the dinner guests bear a strong resemblance to political luminaries of the 1960s. It is a bit fragile but could be nicely framed.

From Watergate to wine….we jump to October 12, 2017 for our next glump of giveaways: Corkers! Well, who knew wine corks would be in such demand? The series of eight posts starts off on October 11 with Jay’s simple question:

“Anyone need old wine corks for art projects? Let me know before I toss them.”

A few minutes passed and then the “taken” post came through. And after that, a poster named Pat offered up her own unwanted corks to the group….and not long afterward, reported “an overwhelming response.” Which in turn prompted Laurie to see if anyone would take her excess corks. Followed by David, who informed list members that they could recycle their old corks at various participating wine stores. Kate then tossed out the suggestion that old corks could be turned into built-in pot-holders for the metal lids of certain types of cookware. And then we need to jump ahead six weeks to December 1, when Elizabeth called on everyone to contribute their corks to a “cork pull” fundraiser at the Ethiopian Embassy, to benefit Ethiopian children. 

The Great Giving of the Corks finally came to an end with message # 131182: “Re: Thank you to all who donated wine and corks to the Hope For Children Fund's Cork Pull” with the report that $1250 was raised from the donated corks! Good going, wine-drinkers and cork-savers all!

And now (drum roll, please), we get to the three best giveaways of 2017.

In third place, mainly for its admirable frankness about the non-use of exercise equipment, this offer of a recumbent bicycle, never used:

October 31, 2017
A couple of years ago (at least), I bought, thanks to this listserv, a commercial semi-recumbent fitness bike from someone who said he hadn’t used it more than twice in the years he had owned it. I can now report that it is in exactly the same pristine condition as it was the day I acquired it. In other words, I have NEVER used it. So I am facing facts. I am ready to give it away to anyone who can carry it down a flight of stairs and out of my life. It is a Vision Fitness Commercial Fitness Bike (model R2600HRT), complete with heart rate monitor and other bells and whistles. I have the manual and all the original gizmos that came with it. Let me know if you are interested.

I am holding out a bit of hope for 2018 that the bike will reappear on the listserv, offered to yet another person who may keep it a while and then send it back out again, virtually untouched! Keep it going, non-cyclists!

And now for the second-best giveaway of the year, from Laine….It’s a BRAIN! (Okay, if you want to get technical, it’s a mold to make one out of Jello). Thus:

Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:08 am (PST)
Free lifesized brain mold - for jello
 “Fun for the whole family! Before I put it into the recycling bin, anyone want a plastic mold to make a life-sized jello brain? There are recipes online to make it the color and opacity of a real brain. I did it for years with my boys; it’s someone else’s turn….” 

And now, for the very best, number one giveaway of 2017 – and don’t go by me – go by the art critics: It’s the Artiest Piece of a Toilet!

The original offer came from Susan P., posting on August 22, 2017 (message #128252)

Free: New toilet sans tank
“We have a new American Standard toilet, still in the box and wrapping, to give away. However, it needs a tank. We cracked the tank in our existing toilet, and because it was under warranty, American Standard shipped us a new one, but sent us a whole new toilet which we didn’t need. Home Depot sells the replacement tanks. This is the Champion 4 Max recommended by Consumer Reports. I’ve already tried Community Fork Lift and Habitat for Humanity but they wouldn’t take it without the missing tank. If you can use it or have other ideas for a place to donate, let me know.”

And here’s the fantastic ending to this story on September 6, 2017:

Message # 128647
Re: Free toilet without a tank...and listserv serendipity

Recently I needed to dispose of half of a new toilet—the seat without the tank. I offered it free on the listserv, but feared I wouldn’t get any takers. Wrong! I heard immediately from Margery E. Goldberg, founder and director of Zenith Gallery who wanted it for an art piece she was making for the gallery’s latest show, Resist.

[or if the long link above does not work].

I took out-of-town friends to see it last Saturday, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  Much of the art was inspired by the March on Washington and the current political climate. But even more interesting is how Margery has turned her Shepherd Park home into a gallery displaying the works of many fine artists.The Resist exhibit runs through the month of September.

And if you go, note the gold painted toilet by the front door with a political statement easily understood.

Thanks Cleveland Park listserv, the best resource ever.

-To which I say, thank YOU, Cleveland Park listserv members, the most generous of givers-away of things, and the most creative re-users of things given away! Please, outdo yourselves in 2018, and Happy New Year to all!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local, usually on Saturdays but sometimes on Sundays. 

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