Cool Freaks’ Wikipedia Club

Ever find yourself down the Wikipedia rabbit hole of oddities and strange occurrences? The nearly 50,000 members of Cool Freaks’ Wikipedia Club have been there, too. In one of the last good things left on Facebook, self-proclaimed “cool freaks” are sharing the quirky Wiki discoveries that left an impression. The group has already caught on to a few Washington idiosyncrasies, like the demon cat haunting federal government buildings or the Anti-Flirt Club’s “war on auto invitation,” powered by women sick of unwanted male advances in 1920s D.C. But it also celebrates small, unexpected tidbits found on the site, such as discovering an article that claims the Association for the Oldest Inhabitants of the District of Columbia is, ironically, also the oldest civic organization in the District. Become a part of the club to share your own cool or freaky Wikipedia discoveries and, if you’re new to the online encyclopedia, there are a few D.C.-centric places you can start. Consider reading (and cleaning up) the articles on the lost neighborhoods of Murder Bay, replaced by Federal Triangle, and Swampoodle, now mostly NoMa, and see where the hyperlinks take you. Share the story of Lynn Arnold’s 42-day stay on the Big Chair in Anacostia in the summer of 1960. Or pick any anecdote from the controversial history of the McMillan Sand Filtration Site near Howard University to reignite the Save McMillan debate. It’s a welcome break from pandemic-laden social media feeds and a way to gather a few new tales to tell at the next virtual happy hour. Join Cool Freaks’ Wikipedia Club on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/coolfreakswikipediaclub. Free. —Katie Malone

East City Bookshop hotline

There are books about war, and books about love, plenty of books filled with poetry, photos and illustrations, and even a handful of books about pandemics (think Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven or Ling Ma’s Severance). Perhaps you prepared well for social distancing with a carefully curated pile of books on your bedside table. But if you weren’t ready with a doomsday library and now find yourself pacing around your studio apartment, East City Bookshop has an answer. In compliance with government guidelines, you can’t actually browse the community bookstore’s shelves. But you can give book buyer Emilie Sommer a call for personalized book recommendations. Want books that echo the public health crisis caused by COVID-19? Or just general dystopian reads? What about stories that will completely transport you from today’s worries and plop you in fantastical universes? Sommer and ECB have it all. And East City Bookshop’s new hotline is just one of the store’s many responses to make book shopping safe and accessible. After customers place an order (either over the phone or online), ECB offers delivery and discounted shipping. While browsing aisles and picking out books—even judging them by their covers—is a delightful way to pass the time, ECB’s expert hotline is sure to leave you with the perfect solution to quarantine-induced boredom. Text or call the book hotline at (202) 539-2554. You can also purchase books at eastcitybookshop.com. Prices vary. —Sarah Smith

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