Consider the squirrel.

Oh, we’ll consider him all right, buster. We’ll consider him for an entire week in April. April 15-22, to be exact: Squirrel Week VIII.

So, consider this a heads-up. Mark your calendars now to cancel the paper that week if you hate squirrels, or to cancel all appointments if you love them. I find there is no middle ground.

As that Roman numeral implies, this will be my eighth annual exploration of all things Sciuridae. And as always, I can use your help. I’m again hosting a Squirrel Week Photography Contest. Send me your photos of squirrels.

We’ve had some wonderful entries in the past, photographs that would make Henri Cartier-Bresson proud. I find that, as with Henri’s photos, the best squirrel shots capture a decisive moment. Train your lens on a squirrel that is doing something.

I will pick some of my favorites to feature in an online gallery and select one grand-prize winner to print in the newspaper. Our top finisher will also receive a $100 gift card. The deadline for entering is April 9.

Ian Richardson’s shot of two squirrel siblings sharing a tree hole took the top prize in our 2015 Squirrel Week Photography Contest. (Photo by Ian Richardson)

For complete rules and instructions on how to enter, visit, but in a nutshell each image should be no larger than 5MB and sent as a jpeg attachment to Please provide whatever caption information you like, as well as your name, email address and phone number. Don’t submit images that have been heavily manipulated with software. Anyone may enter, but only legal U.S. residents over 18 are eligible to win a prize.

Happy hunting! Er, shooting! Um, photographing!

While we’re on the subject, I’m also curious if you have any squirrel-related queries. Over the past few years I have compiled an extensive network of squirrel experts. I’d be happy to approach them with any questions you have, um, squirreled away.

Send your questions — with “Squirrel Query” in the subject line — to me at

Gimme three lines

I’m full of all sorts of requests today. Here’s another: There’s still time to enter my annual Springtime in Washington Haiku Contest.

Of course, springtime in Washington is associated with cherry blossoms. But you needn’t restrict yourself to that trope. The changing of the seasons here comes with all sorts of angles, especially this year. Has there ever been a more eventful time in D.C. than right now?

So, broaden your mind. But also narrow your focus, because the best haiku is like a concentrated dose of umami tinged with epiphany. And remember: I like my haiku the old-fashioned way — arranged in three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third.

Send your entries — with “D.C. Haiku” in the subject line — to me at I’ll print my favorites and pick a winner. The deadline is March 26.

Golden hour

I’m not the only one with haiku on the mind. The Golden Triangle Business Improvement District is displaying the winners of its annual Golden Haiku contest. Some 250 of the poems are on view through March in the 43-square-block district that stretches from Dupont Circle to the White House.

I was worried that after our recent wind storm, the small signs the Golden Triangle poems are printed on would have been whipped dangerously down the street like so many kung fu throwing stars, but the BID tells me the signs were recently redesigned and withstood the tempest.

The BID’s contest drew 1,700 entries from around the world. The first place winner was Debbi Antebi of London:

the twitch

of a cat’s ear

spring drizzle

In second was Canada’s Garry Eaton, from Vancouver, B.C.:

a basketball spins

on the edge of the hoop

spring equinox

Mary Kendall of Chapel Hill, N.C., came third:

cherry blossoms

migrating from there

to here

The D.C. winner was the District’s Elizabeth Steinglass:


one step ahead

sidewalk sparrow

You will have noticed that those Golden Triangle people are unbound by the syllabic straitjacket that I require of my entries. Remember, if you’re entering my contest, keep to the 5-7-5 construction that we all learned in school.

Sister power

Author and economist Julianne Malveaux pointed out that it wasn’t just any Howard sorority that marched in the 1913 women’s suffrage parade, the subject of yesterday’s column. It was Delta Sigma Theta, founded just two months earlier expressly to involve its members in social action.

And Malveaux said an elder soror told her the Deltas refused to keep to the back of the parade, but elbowed their way in with the white marchers.


Here’s one more haiku for your consideration:

The airline seat calls

Like a lover’s proposal:

Let’s be together

In other words, I’m going on vacation. See you back here in April.

Twitter: @johnkelly

For previous columns, visit