Saturday, December 25, 2021

Still Life with Robin: It's the Cleveland Park Listies, 2021! And the Nominees are....

by Peggy Robin

It's that time of year! Time to name the best Cleveland Park Listserv posts in our 7th Annual Cleveland Park Listies. At this award show you won't have to sit through a long, cheesy opening monologue by the host. There are no over-long and draggy production numbers, no time wasted introducing the presenters. Let's get right to it!

Sorry, we don't have any pf these
blue ribbons for the nominees....
The categories are:

Best Animal Story
Best Query or ISO
Most Helpful Advice
Worst Lost Mail Saga (New Category This Year!)
Best Long Discussion Thread on a Topic of Substance
Photo of the Year
and as always, our Grand Finale:,
Post of the Year

In the category of Best Animal Story, the nominees are:

1. Carmelita Bolts from the Vet. Starting on Friday, November 26, a little brown doggie, Carmelita, managed to evade the gatekeepers at the animal hospital and was on the loose until Monday, November 29, when she was safely returned to her family. Photo of the little Houdini hound here:   

2. Come to the Bat Party! On a Saturday in the fall, Sean K. invited everyone to spend a day on Kingman Island enjoying the company of BATS. Are you thinking vampire bats? Well, it was that time of year! (October 28, Message ) You can see a poster of one of the furry little flying mammals here: Bat Festival 2021 flyer.pdf ()

3. Merlin the Vizsla Puppy, Part 1 and Part 11. On July 31 Merlin did a disappearing act (Part 1 is Message   -- with photo). Be sure to jump to the happy ending, Part 2: Merlin's Return, Message   on August 1.

4. Follow That Dog! A Car/Bicycle/Foot Chase. Here's the trailer: "A group of us chased down a dog that was running down Wisconsin Ave at Cathedral Heights at about 10.15AM today. The dog is small - probably about 20 pounds and gray and white short curly fur. (see attached pics). The dog has a collar but no tags. Getting this fast little dog took a valiant effort by many people in cars, on foot and bicycle. (September 20, Message  ) And here's a scene from the heartwarming conclusion: " to locate the dog's persons and they are now reunited! An amazing effort by so many people to help this dog get back home (far away on MacArthur Blvd) " (Message  )

5. Bunny Needs Rehoming. This was a story with a twist. The bunny in question was left out on the front porch for the first available taker. Is this any way to find a responsible caregiver for an unwanted animal? It is, if you examined the accompanying photo closely! It wasn't a live animal, it was a lonely little stuffie, all dressed up in a lavender outfit, waiting for a child to take her home. (Message  , July 30)
In the category of Best Query or ISO, the nominees are:

1. How Do I Make This #@&$! Computer Speak English? That was E.A..'s question to the techno-geeks on the Listserv. She had done something (wasn't sure what) that switched the default language of her computer from English to French. And no matter how many times she went into settings to select English, it reverted to French. Pouvez-vous réparer ceci? (Message  on December 9). Listserv readers did not fail, et voila, all was well, and back in its original English later that same day (Message  )

2. Odd Question: What Is a "Walker" in Other Languages?  - posed by S.B. on August 20 (Message   ). She began by saying her father told her in Polish the word for walker translates to "balcony" and in German, the word is Zimmer, which translates to "room". Here are the ways to say "walker" in the languages our list members speak: French: un ambulateur; another French word: cadre de marche; another German word: gehgestell; Spanish: andador; Portuguese: andador; Italian: deambulatore; Hungarian: jarogep ("moving machine"); Mandarin: 助行架 zhu xing jia or 助行器 zhu xing qi; Lithuanian: vaikštynė

3. ISO Mascara Wands. D.D. offered to pick up these old makeup implements and deliver them to a wildlife refuge where they would be repurposed to clean the feathers or fur of injured wildlife - Message   on Jan 3.

4. ISO a Typewriter. J.W. didn't say why she wanted a typewriter (manual or electric -- she said it didn't matter) but her wish was granted the same day, February 23 (Message #170395), as she reported in a postback (Message ), "Thanks to all who responded to my request, I found a little beauty!" Always gratifying to know that the CP Listserv can fulfill all kinds of odd requests.  

5. ISO Crutches.  Even more gratifying to hear that a listserv member with an injury and an emergency need for crutches was able to get what was needed: "fulfilled, with multiple offers" on the same day..( Original message    on May 1, and follow-up Message  )

In the category of Most Helpful Advice, the nominees are:

1. Need Air? Here's Where to Find It.  In his original post on September 26, J.D. wanted to know why you had to pay in quarters to use the air pump at most gas stations. That set off a seven-message thread of replies from posters who said, "Why pay anything for air? It's free at [insert name and location of gas station]." One of the messages provided the link to a website that mapped all the free air pumps at gas stations in North America: The thread runs from September 26 to September 30 - search for "free air" (the messages are not threaded together by subject line.) 

2. Living in Pandemic Times, Including How to Get Vaxxed and How to Find the Test You Need Before You Travel. From January 1, 2021 until yesterday, December 24, 2021, there have been 416 messages asking/answering questions about vaccination appointments, finding a covid test, getting the results in time for travel, geting a booster shot, replacing a lost vaccination card, navigating the health portals, getting answers about insurance coverage for tests or reimbursement of money paid out of pocket -- and so much more! Just yesterday a list member urgently needed a rapid test for an elderly relative and was touched at the number of offers immediately received. The Listserv hasn't made living with the pandemic easy, by any means, but it has certainly helped! (Too many message threads to post the message numbers!)

3. How to Help Afghan Refugees. This topic was on the Listserv 53 times this year, starting with message  ,  "ISO donations of furniture/household goods for Afghan allies resettling in our area" Groups have used the listserv to organize volunteers to help move families into new homes, requesting and receiving furnishings and household items to stock several apartments. List members have used the CP Listserv to organize coat drives, book collections, baby items for a new mother, and several of our business sponsors have hosted benefit events. The most recent post on this subject was just yesterday, December 24, from D.G., looking to organize a group of volunteers to furnish an apartment for a refugee family. We are so proud of the role that the listserv had played and will continue to play in this effort.

4. Weird Bug Bites? Those Are Oak Mites. There were nine messages in this thread in August, kicked off by G.W. on August 3rd, letting people know that if they had weird red welts on their body, they'd probably been bitten by oak mites -- an aftermath of the cicada invasion (Message  ). Here's a typical, grateful response: "Thanks so much for sharing this. I literally have welts all over and was worried that my camper son had brought home ticks or bed bugs. Good to know I am not alone." (from S.M.G. Message  )

5. Give Blood or Plasma and Save a Life. On December 7 long-time list member and leukemia patient T.S. was in the hospital awaiting treatment with blood platelets - but there was a shortage and treatment had to be delayed. From the hospital T.S. wrote a plea to list members to donate to any upcoming blood drive they could find. Over the next 11 days there were 18 messages from list members asking and answering questions about places to donate blood and platelets, and urging others to spread the news about the acute shortage, and help to recruit more donors. On December 18 we were relieved to post this follow-up from T.S.: "Thank you, I truly appreciate all your help....I was able to receive a number of transfusions. Many people have saved my life which was hanging by a thread. I am getting stronger every day. Thank you!!!" (Message  )
Next, we introduce a brand new category: Worst Lost Mail Story. The topic "Bad Mail Delivery" has been a perennial nominee in the category of Best Long Discussion Thread on a Topic of Substance -- but it's never won (see last year's Listies for more on that subject) - scroll down to "Bad Mail Delivery.") This year, to make sure it gets attention commensurate with the volume of messages posted over this year, we've broken it out into its own category. Now we will see who has the saddest tale of mail that wandered aimlessly around the country, or was sat for weeks neglected in a heap at a holding facility, or left people wondering if a gift would ever arrive to the delight of the child/giftee. Posts about "Bad Mail Delivery" messages are found in long threads interspersed through the entire year.

1. Lost in transit. We start out on January 1, 2021 (Message  ) with this brief put powerful post from M.N.: "My packages to VIRGINIA (I live in DC), NJ and Louisiana never arrived. Value: $1,700."

2. The check is in the mail. Yes, really, but now what? "More distressing, on Dec 10 we mailed payment on a bill due Dec 20 that has yet to reach its destination!" (From B.K., Message  )

3. To the San Francisco Bay by way of Anchorage, AK: G.R. wrote: "I sent a package on November 30 to my brother in the San Francisco Bay area. It sat in Anchorage for several weeks. It was delivered on December 26." (Message   )

4. Meds delayed, blood pressure rising. C.R. wrote: "I'm still waiting for medication shipped from Wellcare mail order on Dec.10 and also stalled in Hyattsville, MD since 12/15. Now marked as "in transit."  Fortunately, my Walgreen's pharmacist was able to get my insurance to override the refill (since it had just been refilled) and I was able to pick up my blood pressure medication at the pharmacy on Xmas eve.  It never occurred to me that mail order medication delivery might somehow become unreliable." (Message  )

5. And to top it all off, they lie about where the mail is now. M.C. wrote: "Recently I ordered an item of clothing from a merchant I have used for years. They notified me that it had been shipped via DHS, using USPS delivery and would arrive 8/29. it didn’t arrive so I checked the delivery status and got a message that it had been returned to the post office and picked up by the addressee. That is, of course, untrue. The post office is not open on Sunday so I could not possibly have picked it up, even assuming that an attempt to deliver had been made. A few days ago I got a similar notification about another package, again totally untrue. In each case I have contacted the vendors to tell them how hopeless USPS has become. It’s sad to see a great American institution willfully destroyed." (Message  )

Best Long Discussion Thread on a Topic of Substance. The rules for this category are: 1. There must be at least six messages in the thread involving at least four different posters; and 2. This year we are not considering any topics that have been nominated in past years (which excludes the service lane discussion and any threads on the need to retain or reduce parking on major urban thoroughfares). Been there, done that. 
1. Grammar! It all started with my "Still Life with Robin" Column, "On the Overuse of Ellipses..." on December 18, Message . Six days and 47 messages later, we had heard grammar pet peeves from A (apostrophes, misplaced -Message ) to W (wreak, wreaked/wrought - Messages   and  ). When we got to the point at which people were getting too worked up over a simple past tense -- wreaking a certain amount of havoc -- it was time to say "Good grammar to all and to all a good night!" and so the thread ended by fiat of moderator on December 24, Message  

2. Cicadas! The cicada discussion gave us far more than the entymological facts about the Brood X invasion -- also giving us photos, songs (two of them! Messages    and  ) and practical tips to prevent damage to young plants, plus follow-up advice about the aftermath (those small mystery holes left in the ground were cicada-related - discussed in 5 messages from June 6-10) - and those horrible oak-mites were not long behind! We even got advice from a German pen-pal (Message  ). The thread began on April 19 with M.A.'s simple question of when they will be here (Message  ), answered by a few cicada enthusiasts who welcome of the red-eyed winged critters, and went on for about 120 more messages, ending on November 24 with K.K.'s giveaway of the protective netting she used to shield her young plants from the invaders, quickly snapped up by someone who will save it to use for the Brood X re-emergence 17 years on (Message  ).

3. "Cashless Extravaganza." This lengthy discussion (50 messages!) began on September 23 under the title, "Cracked Eggery  does not accept cash" but quickly morphed into a discussion of the pros and cons (mainly cons, according to our posters) of the trend toward acceptance only of non-cash forms of payment at restaurants and other businesses. "Cashless Extravaganza" was the most frequently used subject line in the thread, which went on until September 28. Was there a winner in this debate? You be the judge.

4. Taxi vs. Ride-Sharing. There were 13 messages in this thread, and many of them like little short-stories of rides gone awry, beginning with M.H.'s account of a wild Lyft to nowhere near her intended destination (Message   on Oct 1. Many of the posts on this thread are under the subject line: Taxis are better than ride-sharing services -- but a few of the messages under that rubric contradict the premise.  

5. Cleveland Parkers Remember Walter and Joan Mondale. Not a long thread, but a sweet one. The Mondales, Fritz and Joan, were much loved and are still missed. The thread began on April 20 with Message  and included eight messages, ending on April 21 with Message  .

Photo of the Year. And the nominees are:

1. "Thanks for the Mouse Suggestions" Theby Steph Girard, October 26  

2. Cicadas (making more cicadas) posted by Marjorie Dick Stuart on May 23 (Before you click on it, warning, this picture is rated FMBO (For Mature Bugs Only)!   

3. Wild Turkey on Soapstone Trail Photo by Diane Krauthamer (I posted it for her on Nov 6    - for more of her photography, see

4. Found: Fluffly Little Dog - Message  on September 20 - a double nominee! See the "Follow That Dog!" nomination in the "Best Animal Story" category, above.

5. Barred Owl, November 17  . OK, OK, this photo was actually from the Popville blog, taken by "T" from Lanier Heights. I reposted it on the CP Listserv. But it's so good, we just had to have it on this list.

And saving the best for last, presenting the nominees for CP Listserv Post of the Year:

1.  ISO Red Autumn Leaves. R.P. in message   on November 8th was looking for some nice red autumn leaves to press into a leaf book. Her query led to four good answers, each with a particular tree worth viewing in person. The best of the responses was from J.R. on November 9th: "There’s an incredible tree at 38th and Yuma. Attached is a photo from yesterday. Well worth a visit!" (See the photo at Message )

2. The Term "Brood X" Explained. This post (Message   , May 24) from the months-long "Cicada" thread was one of the most valuable of the year, as it cleared up a widespread misconception about the term "Brood X." C.W. explained that the "X" after "Brood" was a regional location marker, and not the Roman numeral for ten, indicating the 10th generation, as many (including me) had assumed. Thus, there will be no Brood XI; when the cicadas return in 17 years, they will still be Brood X, the designation for cicadas in the mid-Atlantic region.

3. Cicada Song by Marsha and the Positrons (, May 26). Because we don't have a "Best Song" category, we decided to bump this post up to the "Post of the Year" group. It's got a lot to recommend it: It manages to rhyme "cicadas" with "hiatus"'; it teaches a new vocab word, "exuviae," the word for all those exoskeletons left lying on the sidewalks after the cicada invasion was over: and it's catchy!

4. "The Hijack." On May 30, J.B. posted on the thread about international travel, which gave him the occasion to talk about the podcast series 'The Hijack,'(Amazon/Audible), a 10-episode investigation of the 1981 hijacking of Flight PK326 from Karachi and the 13 day hostage drama that followed. . J.B. writes: "I was one of those passengers/hostages and I was on a work trip to Pakistan at the time. In Google browser see the Washington Post story of September 23,1994 by Frank Van Riper titled: 'Amateur Chronicles Crisis.'.: Not your everyday CP Listserv post! See Message #174731 

5. ISO Ride to Pennsylvania for Immigrant Family. On December 9th, S.R. was seeking a "Spanish speaking Samaritan in Search of Good Deed." Here's the main part of the message: "I am putting a long shot request to see if there are any Spanish speakers who would be willing to drive a family of three from Beltsville to Philadelphia to meet with immigration on Wednesday. This family cannot go on pubic transportation due to the unvaccinated status of their two year old son who has contracted Covid and now suffers from asthma and has lung issues. Without going into too much detail, I can say that they are political refugees from their country of origin." The amazing -- and gratifying -- update came on December 15, Message  : Dear Cleveland Park Community, Thank you so much for all those who reached out to offer support and direction in helping me get a new immigrant family the support and help they need to find safe harbor and healthcare for their child. Your efforts have gotten this family in touch with people they need who will be able to guide them through the morass of forms and procedures we are all so familiar and overwhelmed by. They made it to Philadelphia! And are on their way to get health insurance coverage for their child, who needs ongoing care for his lungs and asthma.....Thank you all. I am so appreciative to be surrounded by so many generous, caring, service-minded folks. You give me hope!"


Tune in next week (next year, January 1, 2022!) when we present the winners!

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

No comments:

Post a Comment