Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thursday Night Somewhere in L'Enfant Plaza

My current office space somewhere in L'Enfant Plaza, Washington, D.C., 8:04PM May 26, 2016.

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Well, this week has been rather topsy-turvy schedule-wise owing -- presently because of a major work assignment I need to have wrapped up by June 1st (next week). This involves the BTO peer review project summaries. In addition, next week I have to get ready for the big VTO AMR event the following week, so I need to have this wrapped up by then.

As a result, I'm at work late again tonight instead of going to the gym, as I had planned. My new plan is to telework tomorrow -- that is, work from home -- but also go to the gym early afternoon. (The office is probably going to empty tomorrow anyway.)

I'm here now because I have three monitors -- see lead image to this entry -- that makes it far easier to work. I'm presently (for the time being) sitting where an office administrative assistant would sit. Remember that I'm not "embedded" with the client (I'm not onsite at Forrestal but next door in the L'Enfant complex).

I'm listening to the AccuRadio smooth jazz station (in between annoying commercial breaks that I mute), have set up a lamp, and have a fan. I haven't had such a good office set up since I was at UMCP in the public policy school back in 2006 working as a sort of graduate research assistant.

Anyway, I don't have much to say now, especially as I want to do another two hours of work. I still have 20 summaries to do and each one takes at least an hour since I have to cull through pages of reviewer notes and summarize them in a "summary" way rather than "chronologically" as the reviewer comments were entered.

The weather was too damn hot today, and there is a general air quality alert in effect for moderate ozone levels. Highs today were as follows: 88F at KDCA, 90F at KBWI, and 89F at KBWI. National Airport was the lowest probably because it is on the tidal Potomac, although I should note that the Maryland Science Center (KDMH) at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore reached 91F.

I suppose the CWG and its D.C. area suburban bourgeoisie are ecstatic, thrilled, scintillated, titillated with the weather. I've not checked over there in a few days since I don't want to be annoyed.

Speaking of National Airport, I can see it from my office, or rather, I can see the Potomac River and Washington Channel and part of East Potomac Park and the more distant Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The airport itself is blocked by the 950 L'Enfant Building hulking structure. From that building, especially its upper floors, there is a spectacular down-river view including the airport. Even from my office vantage point, it is a lovely view -- day or night.

OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will be Saturday evening. I'm not going to update the blog tomorrow unless some circumstance warrants.

In the meantime, here are yesterday's and today's "Pearls Before Swine," respectively ... Both are somehow relevant ...

Ha ha

Hippo-campus -- hilarious!

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--Regulus

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Happy MH B'Day with Train of Thought Tribute; What a Relief: Now GASY-Free; the Washington Weather Consensus Suns Itself; that Insufferable Idealism of Susan Sarandon Trumps Sanity Again

A lovely panorama of the Italian countryside in Montepulciano, May 24, 2016.

My co-worker and occasional supervisor is on vacation in Italy and sent me this picture on Tuesday. Seen in its 2MB original size on a large monitor, it was really stunning.

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Here is a late night blog entry that in my previous entry I said I wouldn't / couldn't post. However, it turns out I have a bit of leeway in finishing a particular project at work by COB Friday, so I have time to do what I normally do after a gym workout night.

First things first ...


Let me note it is MH's 39th birthday! It seems like it was just his 35th birthday and then, three years later (and one year ago) his 38th birthday, but there you have it.

While last year we celebrated his birthday "Mattie Wade"-style with a rousing rending of Frankie Laine's "Mule Train," I think this year -- while keeping the train theme -- we'll have a bit more of a pensive one -- seein' as the big "4-0" is a mere year away. I can say that when I crossed that threshold with much vitriol, it really was for me the end of being truly young.

(Yes, I'm showing pictures of him from five and more years ago. I don't have any more recent ones -- but he still looks the same.)

So our tribute this year is from the Pat Metheny Group, a jazz-fusion band founded in the very year he was born.


"Last Train Home" by the Pat Metheny Group from its Still Life (Talking) album (1987)

Let me just add a few cents' worth of philosophy:

Just being in your 40s doesn't mean your life is over. Far from it -- although as a gay man, life loses the (admittedly vapid) purposes it (probably) had when you were in your 20s and 30s.

Those purposes are often some combo of "clothes," "looking hot / buff" "gym," "bar," "relationship," "job/money," and "gym" (oh, I mentioned that already). (Of course, I never was much like that, but I'm a weird little gay man of an outlier.)

What's more, because you're (probably) not married with children (your wife, or in this case, your spouse/husband), having turned you into a buccal-pumping frog on a suburban lily pad, you are forced to try to find meaning elsewhere.

Above: Anyone of a number of my straight male "married, with children" erstwhile friends from the 1990s as they now appear in 2016.

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That's not always easy. Indeed, it is something some gay men never resolve to the detriment of the duration of their lives.

In my case, I'm significantly better off than I was in November 2009 when my life really was in a bad place career and money-wise. In addition, during the intervening years, I've gotten in much better shape, losing a substantial amount of weight (approx. 40 pounds of fat that I've kept off for a few years) and putting on muscle mass in place of doughy flab, although truth to tell, I'm an "in shape" 46 year old man, not a 26 year old man.


Indeed, I'm chagrined that I basically look like a ashen-gray leprechaun now with aging skin. You that "fear no mirror" CoolSculpting ad campaign? Well, my version is "veer away from mirror."

But this isn't about me, so back to the birthday wishes and notes ...

May 25th, 1977 also featured the debut of the original Star Wars movie, and it was the day that the great Russian author Yevgenia Ginzburg -- who wrote the powerful book Journey Into the Whirlwind about her 18 years spent in the gulag of Stalinist Russia -- passed away.

And with all that in mind: Happy Birthday, MH!

Those birthdays just keep comin', don't they??

Now please don't confuse the gorilla image with the Chipmungorilla named "GASY" that physically attacked me this past April, presumably because I "took food" from him.

This is the "Oscar Jonesey" (yes, "OJ"), one of the male silverback gorillas at the San Francisco Zoo. Such obvious intelligence and incredible strength -- but unrestrained by any human morality.

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GASY is a chipmunk with the strength of a gorilla, hence he's a Chipmungorilla.

GASY eating. Are those Giant tangerines??

GASY and I are through and done for good, which is delightful and wonderful by me.

The last thing I need to "make up" with GASY with some fake apology (words are meaningless to him) and end up waiting for him to show up at my apartment 2 hours late and running out the door to another, better engagement (all while pretending, of course, that he's doing me some big favor, lies and nonsense pouring out like water over Niagara Falls), but not before going into my bathroom and, among other things, checking the toilet for any poop stains that your brush and Pine-Sol may have missed ...

You're just all jealous 'cuz I got GASY and you don't ... Oh, wait ...

Changing topics ...

So the flippin' Sun came out today and everybody was flapdoodling around as if they hadn't seen the damn thing in a century or more. I'm sure everyone was in a bourgeois frenzy over at the CWG. I didn't bother checking the site today.

It's the "Washington Weather Consensus" run amok, all neoliberal and "professional centrist" like in a way that scintillates Fred Hiatt and the Gang of 500.

There's nothing that bothers me more than a gloating "winner" -- especially when they've done nothing to "win" anything. It's all the more annoying after the endless moaning and groaning and bellyaching and howling and yowling that was done on that site over the "WORST MAY EVER FOR D.C. WEATHER" because of some cool, wet conditions.

Maybe Jason & Co. at the CWG can give out "Weather Purple Hearts" for all the good D.C. suburban bourgeoisie who had the "courage" to "endure" a couple weeks of cooler and wetter than normal conditions.

For me, the Sun was too bright and glaring today, and I felt, as ever, vampire-ish. It's not that I hate the Sun, but rather it is so bright, and invariably it is the start of a D.C. summertime -- characterized by being too damn hot and too damn humid yet too damn rainless and too damn long.

All while I'm trapped in D.C., seemingly serving a life sentence.

I'm particularly vexed at the thought of it being at the start of a frickin' presidential election year when the country -- its political structures badly fraying -- runs the real risk of electing a dangerously unqualified, clownish buffoon who is equal parts fascist and megalomaniacal -- and with one of our two main political parties has lost its mind, having become a cult defined by fear and loathing and fed by a rightwing media - entertainment complex.

Yet as David Roberts wrote, the American "political ecosystem" treats the whole goddamn thing as a choice of "Coca Cola versus Pepsi" instead of what it really is, namely, a choice of "Coca Cola versus sewer water."

Back to the weather ...

I want to be clear: I don't hate sunny, warm weather. Quite the contrary, I enjoy it when at the beach or in the country in the summertime. But as I am almost never in either setting, but instead I am serving a frickin' life sentence in Washington, D.C., and because summers here are so hot and horrible, I simply dread going into this time of year.

OK, I think I'm going to wrap up this entry. But read these three pieces (links embedded):


Prof. Krugman deconstructs the five general archetypes in the Sanders movement. The "Purists" are the Susan Sarandon worst. As Prof. Krugman writes:

"Quite a few Sanders surrogates were Naderites in 2000; the results of that venture don't bother them, because it was never really about results, only about affirming personal identity."



Darby makes very good points, but it won't make any difference to the "purist" faction -- see Krugman's piece above. Maybe a few of the idealists will change their minds, though.

And to end on a more optimistic and humorous note, this piece by Richard North Patterson on Huffington Post:



Short answer: Hillary will easily win the electoral college. The piece is actually kind of hilarious, too.

Excerpt (with paragraph breaks added):

"In three weeks as the GOP's presumptive nominee, Trumps behavior suggests a man who is driven, not by strategy or consistent beliefs, but by a profound personality disorder which limits his day-to-day ability to be tactical or "presidential." And it is a mortal lock that, when it comes to exposing Trump as an imbecile, the Democrats will be as merciless as Republicans were spineless.

"Armed with money and ferocity, from June to November the Clinton campaign will assault persuadable voters with evidence of Trump's narcissism, vulgarity, ignorance and instability -- not to mention his callousness and failures as a businessman."

"Their biggest challenge is winnowing print, video and tweets for the most repellent moments in an infinity of repulsiveness. This requires a constant state of readiness -- when it comes to providing fresh examples of odiousness and vapidity Trump, like rust, never sleeps..."

Left: A very "carboniferous" image of ferns galore that Andrea took on Sunday in Bear, Delaware where she was on a half marathon.

Alright, that really is all for now. I'm headin' to bed now.  It's only nearly 3AM. Next planned update will be late Thursday or Friday.

--Regulus

Monday, May 23, 2016

In the Mist of this May -OR- A Wet Washington Weekend Walkabout: Sunday (and Late Saturday Night) Photo Recap

The Potomac River with some rose bushes along it and the Rosslyn skyline in the near distance as seen from the Georgetown Waterfront Park on a rainy spring day, 5:09PM May 22, 2016.

This entry contains a series of pictures that I took yesterday (Sunday) as I walked about in the light rain including a trek from Rosslyn back to Dupont Circle via the Georgetown Harbour waterfront and Georgetown itself.

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The C&O Canal as seen from Thomas Jefferson St NW in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., on a rainy day, 6:25PM May 22, 2016.

I couldn't decide between the image directly above and the first one which one to make the lead. I've opted to make it the "co-lead" picture. The remainder that follow are in chronological order.

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Because it was in fact a light rain, I was able to walk around without an umbrella -- but wearing a sweater over my shirt and an oversized hooded windbreaker over that with the hood up -- without getting soaked, just lightly wet. I also had on good walking shoes and corduroys, so I was OK.

1800 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 3:29PM May 22, 2016.

This is right by the S Street dog park, which is where they two earnest dogs were being taken.

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So I have decided to switch up my gym nights this week from Monday / Wednesday to Tuesday / Thursday. This is partly because of the weather with a final bout of widespread showers and thunderstorms this evening -- and my desire both to enjoy that (likely to be the last hurrah of the current wet spell) and to avoid getting my laptop wet (recall that I take it home with me).

The fountain at Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., in the drizzle and light rain, 3:37PM May 22, 2016.

I walked to the Dupont Metro but there was no sign of a train coming so I went back up the escalator and walked to Farragut West in order to get a train to Rosslyn.

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As for the weather, it features a cold-core closed upper level low centered near Norfolk continues to spiral about with abundant moisture and steep lapse rates. The low will slowly lift out late tonight into tomorrow, replaced by high pressure and the arrival of a more summer-like regime by the end of the week.

The Turnberry, Rosslyn, Va., 4:41PM May 22, 2016.

This skyscraper condominium is right next to where I worked for just under two months at my previous employer before it spectacularly collapsed and most of us ended up at another company. I didn't realize this wall was a fountain (since in February and March it was turned off).

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The "Welcome to Washington, D.C." sign on the Virginia side of the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Potomac, 4:50PM May 22, 2016.

Yesterday, I went to Rosslyn (Arlington) with the intention of walking back through Georgetown. I also went to the (small) Target on Wilson Blvd to buy a new pot to replace the one that I recently ruined because something burned in it. (Later at Floriana, D. asked incredulously, "You only have ONE pot??" That is correct.)

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Francis Scott Key Memorial Park, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 4:58PM May 22, 2016.

The moaning and groaning on the Capital Weather Gang site continues to reach new heights of aggravation for those of us who actually like cool, damp weather -- or at least not hot and horrible weather as is our D.C. custom from early May through late September, in particular because of the silly, self-entitled bourgeois sensibility it embodies that this has been the "WORST MAY EVER" for D.C. weather simply because it has been cool and wet.

A lady with an umbrella walking down Grace Street to K Street below the Whitehurst Freeway, Washington, D.C., 5:04PM May 22, 2016.

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For the record, below are the precipitation totals for yesterday (May 22nd) and the monthly, climatological seasonal, and yearly totals and departures through the end of yesterday for the main regional climate stations. "Normal" is based on the period 1981 - 2010.

KDCA

May 22nd: 0.37"
Month-to-date: 5.04" +2.24" (normal: 2.80")
Since March 1st: 8.25" -1.09" (normal: 9.34")
Year-to-date: 14.72" -0.05" (normal: 14.77")

Interestingly, last year KDCA was exactly on its climatological mark for May 22nd at 14.77".

The Rosslyn skyline rising above Theodore Roosevelt Island as seen from Georgetown Waterfront Park, Washington, D.C., 5:05PM May 22, 2016.

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KBWI

May 22nd: 0.18"
Month-to-date: 4.48" +1.71" (normal: 2.77")
Since March 1st: 7.89" -1.97" (normal: 9.86")
Year-to-date: 17.09" +1.28" (normal: 15.81")

Washington Harbour on a rainy day, Washington, D.C., 5:14PM May 22, 2016.

Yes, it is spelled "Harbour" there.

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KIAD

May 22nd: 0.69"
Month-to-date: 5.55" +2.37" (normal: 3.18")
Since March 1st: 8.88" -1.15" (normal: 10.03")
Year-to-date: 17.14" +1.69" (normal: 15.45")

Upstairs bar at Sequoia restaurant, Washington, D.C., 5:18PM May 22, 2016.

I stopped at Sequoia restaurant and had a couple drinks and a shrimp cocktail at the bar. The place is nice but it ain't cheap. I could have gone to Tony & Joe's next door, but it was too loud and with Rhianna music blaring.

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KDMH (Maryland Science Center)

May 22nd: 0.22"
Month-to-date: 3.26" +0.93" (normal: 2.33")
Since March 1st: 7.03" -2.38" (normal: 9.41")
Year-to-date: 15.63" +0.70" (normal: 14.93")

Upstairs view from Sequoia, Washington, D.C., 5:18PM May 22, 2016.

The place was empty when I got there but started to fill up quickly.

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Note: The normal and departure values for KDMH are based upon its partial climate record period -- which is still not quite 30 years (my best guess is that KDMH started in the late 1980s, so we're still several years away from the first 30-year normal, which would then be the 1991 - 2020 base period.

The view of the Potomac (and Rosslyn skyline) as seen from Sequoia, Washington, D.C., 5:24PM May 22, 2016.

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Also, the reason KIAD and KBWI are above normal year-to-date this year while KDCA is not has to do with the shitty way that snow is tallied at the latter -- both its notorious undercounting of snowfall totals and the liquid equivalents for any given event.

Wine and shrimp, Sequoia upstairs bar, Washington, D.C., 5:56PM May 22, 2016.

It looked nice when I got this $18 shrimp cocktail and $11 glass of Riesling, but looking at it now, I guess shrimp sort of resemble giant aquatic insects.

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As an update for this evening, I have finished the first part of a major work assignment but I really need to make good progress on the second part tomorrow. My plan is to work on it all day tomorrow and also after the gym tomorrow night.

The start of the towpath along the C&O Canal as seen from the 1000 block of Thomas Jefferson St NW in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 6:25PM May 22, 2016.

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Oh, yes, I would like to note that I was successful in my annual ritual of deferring my student loans -- this time using the general forbearance option rather than the forbearance due to excessive debt load. My sense is that I will finally have to settle up next year (June 2017), and I will try to get into the REPAYE option.

A very interesting series of signs on the door to something called the C&O Canal National Historical Park Visitor Center, Washington, D.C., 6:26PM May 22, 2016.

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Of course, if Donald Trump is president then, anything will be possible including actual debtors prisons and concentration camps. Getting that forbearance ensures my finances for the next 12 months, or rather, it removes having to start paying off a crushing debt burden.

Of note, I applied for the forbearance on Friday -- it took all of 5 minutes -- and I had it by Sunday morning.

Brick sidewalk along 30th Street NW in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., on a wet evening, 6:29PM May 22, 2016.

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OK, my next update won't be until later this week (possibly Thursday) although I'd be remiss if I didn't note a certain someone's birthday -- although the big 4 "Official End of Youth" 0 is still a year away.

A young couple walking under a umbrella at Olive and 28th Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 6:33PM May 22, 2016.

Believe it or not, a century ago, this part of Georgetown was a poor African-American neighborhood.

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Of the reasons I'm looking forward to 2017, that is one of the minor reasons. The major reason, of course, is the total solar eclipse of August 21st that I intend to see on the South Carolina coast (Chester -- what say you?)

Below are the remainder of the pictures from Sunday ...

27th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:34PM May 22, 2016.

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The Rock Creek Trail in Rose Park, Washington, D.C., 6:38PM May 22, 2016.

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Wet and verdant shrubbery outside Foundry United Church, Washington, D.C., 8:20PM May 22, 2016.

The church is where Bill & Hillary Clinton attended when Bill was president. Assuming she wins, perhaps she will go there again. Otherwise, Foundry serves mostly as an outdoor homeless shelter even while the church is so embracing -- ALL ARE WELCOME -- that few people actually go.

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Oh, and here are few that I took late Saturday and in the wee hours of Sunday before and after my trek to Old Ebbitt Grill to the Old Bar, where I ended up in quite the enjoyable conversation with a 22-year old guy named Kyle from Tennessee visiting D.C. with his dad and uncles -- the latter corporate lawyers visiting here to win some award at the National Library of Congress.

I can't do the conversation justice and I'm not even going to try.

1600 block of Pennsylvania Ave NW -- in front of the White House -- Washington, D.C., on a drizzly and cool night, 11:26PM May 21, 2016.

I was walking to Old Ebbitt Grill.

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I also took this picture at just about the same time except the traffic light at turned green. I wasn't sure which image to post so I'm posting both of them.

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The equestrian statue of Gen. Winfield Scott at Scott Circle, Washington, D.C., in the wee hours of a drizzly, overcast, cool night, 3:00AM May 22, 2016.

I was walking home from OEG back up 16th Street. It's about a mile walk. I had stayed at the restaurant/bar until closing time in quite the conversation with Kyle. I was hoping he would keep in touch with me but that was probably a one-off meeting.

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Outside Bar Rouge, 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:02AM May 22, 2016

I've never really understood that place. Perhaps because I went there once when the place first opened -- with a crazy guy, back when I was living in College Park -- and the prices were high and the (smelled up) men's room walls were covered (intentionally) in graffiti, except the guy I was with was convinced it was vandalism and proceeded to report it to the staff.

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Final picture (back to Sunday night) ...

Yours truly at the Safeway at 17th and Corcoran Streets, 10:43PM May 22, 2016.

I stopped there after Floriana.

OK, that's all for now. As I said, my next planned update probably won't be until the Wednesday or even Thursday time frame.

--Regulus

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Jukebox Saturday Night for May 21st, 2016: Jazz and Jazzed Up Impressions for a Rainy and Cool Night in the City Edition


John Coltrane and his quartet performing "Impressions," a jazz standard that appears on his album of same name (1963)

This is a live TV performance from a show called "Jazz Casual" from the National Educational Television (NET) network, the predecessor to the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). This particular episode "John Coltrane Quartet" aired December 7, 1963 and if features Coltrane on saxophone, Jimmy Garrison on bass, Elvin Jones on drums, and McCoy Tyner playing the piano. (There was also Art Davis on double bass but he isn't featured here.)

Only McCoy Tyner is still alive (he's 77).

According to the Wikipedia article for "Jazz Casual" -- yes, there actually is one -- the quartet performed this song and two others (Alabama and Afro Blue).

This is the kind of music I'd love to hear live late at night in a restaurant / bar. Trouble is, the places that feature this nowadays tend to have outlandish cover charges and very expensive menus. There is JoJo restaurant and bar literally across U Street from my building that I would like to try. It frequently has live jazz, but it is also very crowded.

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Next up, a really nice smooth jazz piece ...


"Dreamin" by Cabo Frio from the group's album of same name (2015)

This is the title track on that album. This video doesn't feature any of the nice tropical still images that you would seem to go along with it. I think this video was provided to YouTube by the band itself.

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And let's end with something suitably upbeat for a Saturday night ...


"Blame It On the Girls" by Mika from his album The Boy Who Knew Too Much (2009)

Some of the lyrics are great, and the video is fun to watch, too, with the female dancers dressed "half and half" to give the impression of a man and a woman.

Now it turns out that I posted this song in a sort of "Sunday supplemental musical interlude" back in October 2012 (when I was doing my predecessor Friday Night Musical Interlude series). I discovered in that entry, though, that there was some MH bullshit which I have now removed. There was also a picture of me from July 2011 taken in Daytona Beach when I was a lot heavier than I am now.

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OK, that's all for now. I'm not posting any update tonight, nor am I posting one tomorrow as I need to devote several hours to a work-related task that I mentioned in my previous entry.

My next planned update will be late Monday. I did make it to the gym today, and I did my laundry tonight. I think I'm going to go to the Old Bar at Old Ebbitt Grill again this Saturday night and then Trade.

It is a drizzly, damp, low-overcast, cool night -- very un-May-like for Washington, D.C., but I love it.

Also please see my previous entry for a weather update.

--Regulus

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Night Creature Feature for May 20th, 2016: The Weather Bellyaching and Strange Political Bedfellowing Edition

Entrance to the Thomas Law House, a historic residence in the oft-forgotten Southwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., 1:35PM May 19, 2016.

I was walking from my office at L'Enfant Plaza to Fort McNair for the annual DOE/EERE annual picnic. The other Southwest D.C. pictures were also taken on that walk.

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Friday night.

I really shouldn't be posting a blog entry as I have to complete something -- a series of cutting-and-pasting and formatting of peer review comments for a peer review report for one of DOE/EERE's technology offices corresponding to 18 projects -- by Monday morning as I am behind on that.

However, my compulsion to update this damn blog always gets the better of me.

Grassy expanse approaching the Thomas Law House, Washington, D.C., 1:34PM May 19, 2016.

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Last night, I went to Trade, where I met Mark D. and then we had dinner at Logan Tavern. We had a nice time, but (of course) I spent too much money. Tomorrow afternoon is my regular Saturday gym multi-part routine (one of three per week). For tonight, I dunno. I guess the same stuff.

Another view of the grassy grounds approaching the Thomas Law House in Southwest Washington, D.C., 1:35PM May 19, 2016.

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Weather Update: Endless, Annoying Complaints About This Cool, Damp May

NWS surface map forecast valid 12Z (8AM EST) Saturday, May 21, 2016.

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The weather is forecasted to be rainy tomorrow into early Sunday as a somewhat out-of-season coastal low pressure system develops off the North Carolina coast and tracks across the mid-Atlantic to New England. The low should have abundant moisture to work with and upper level support in the form of a trough axis moving across the Great Lakes / Ohio River valley that transfers its energy to the coastal low.

NWS/NWCP day 1 and 2 QPF for the Lower 48 U.S., valid 0Z May 21 - 0Z May 23, 2016.

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The amount of moaning, groaning, and bellyaching across the D.C. area because of this cool, gray, damp May has been off-the-charts.

The Capital Weather Gang has been leading the charge with the incessant complaining about this WORST MAY EVER FOR D.C. WEATHER!with entry after entry, after entry, after entry, after entry, after entry, after entry, after entry bitching about the weather (and these have just been in the past three days).

To be clear, it hasn't even been that unusually wet, just cool and cloudy a lot.

Month-to-date precipitation totals at KDCA, KBWI, and KIAD through May 20th are as follows:

KDCA: 4.02" (+1.49")
KBWI: 3.86" (+1.36")
KIAD: 4.31" (+1.44")

Year-to-date totals are +/-1" of normal.

Well, I for one can't stand the hot, humid, blazing sunshine, lack of rainfall, and sewage-y smell that characterizes a typical D.C. summer.

A lovely peony growing beside a church in a picture posted in this CWG entry; photo taken May 10, 2016 by Erin Kelly.

I'm assuming this was taken in or near Washington, D.C.

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On a more serious note -- and I do give kudos to Jason Samenow, the lead meteorologist for the CWG for touting this issue -- here is an article on the ongoing spike in global surface temperatures (link embedded): We are living in the planet's most unusually warm period in modern history.

Global land-ocean surface air temperature anomalies for Jan-April period for the period 1880 - 2016 versus the 20th Century average; source: NOAA.

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Top 8 warmest months globally versus the 20th Century (1901 - 2000) average.

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Sorry, Teabaggers. James Inhofe's snowball is still missing. It "went missing" outside a Walmart in Tulsa.

Oh, and George Will's thesaurus can't change any of this.

Sen. James Inhofe: Oklahoma's finest.

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Tree-lined walkway along the Waterfront in SW Washington, D.C., 1:36PM May 19, 2016.

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Political Commentary...

Turning (briefly) to some political commentary, I would like to note these two Jonathan Chait pieces (links embedded):

Donald Trump Hasn't Killed the Tea Party. He Is the Tea Party.

Bernie's Revolution Stops for No One
.

In the first one, Chait easily dispatches with the fantasy -- subscribed to by the inverted Marxist "Movement Conservative" Trotskyites -- that the enraged teabaggers of 2009 and 2010 were all about "constitutional conservatism" and supporting the Paul Ryan budget when in fact (to excerpt the piece):

The backlash against Obamacare did not rest upon any abstract theory about the role of the state. It drew its power from the fear that subsidized (private) insurance would come at the expense of the (single-payer) health care that old people love.

Activists flooding health-care town halls in 2009, the core of the right-wing populist revolt, denounced mythical "death panels," and Republican messaging focused on the (actual) Medicare cuts to finance a program that's "not for you."

Citing the work of researchers Vanessa Williamson, Theda Skocpol, and John Coggin, Chait concludes (with paragraph break inserted):

The white racial identity, the fear of social change — all of these things perfectly predicted Trump's rise. But conservatives ignored these findings because they implied that the tea party was not a movement of amateur enthusiasts for the Lochner Constitution, and that the fierce conservative antipathy toward Obama did not arise out of Obamacare's particular design features or the legislative tactics by which it passed. The tea party was an ethno-nationalist revolt against Obama rooted in fear of social change.

Conservative leaders pretended this revolt was a demand for their agenda, but the dissatisfaction of the base implies that the conservative agenda was never the thing that motivated it. Trump hasn't hijacked the tea party. He's un-hijacked it.

Grassy expanse near SW Waterfront, Washington, D.C., 1:38PM May 19, 2016.

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For the second piece, here is an excerpt (with paragraph breaks added). The "procedural quarrel" refers to the growingly hysterical insistence by Sanders and his militant supporters that he is being cheated out of the nomination and embodied in the melee that happened last weekend in Las Vegas and the Nevada state Democratic convention):


Sanders depicts a procedural quarrel -- one in which his campaign has no leg to stand on -- as a fight between "the 1 percent" and "the people of this country."

Sanders has a longstanding habit of attributing any disagreement with his policies as the result of corruption, disregarding the possibility that actual conviction might inspire any of it.

He accordingly believes that only the corrupt power of big money has prevented his ideas from prevailing. Sanders is now applying the same logic to the primary fight, with Clinton in the role of greedy corporate overlord. Sanders does not merely believe he deserves to win, he believes that a Sanders defeat means the people have been thwarted; ergo, such a result is necessarily rigged.

Ha ha

In helping facilitate the possibility of a Trump presidency, Chait concludes:

It's remarkable that the opponents to Donald Trump, who (accurately) depicted him as a con artist, an authoritarian, and an existential threat to their party's character have all stepped aside, even in the face of mathematical odds less daunting than those of Sanders, who continues to fight on.

It's possible that both Sanders and the Republican opposition to Trump care less about stopping Trump than anybody expected.

The actual Waterfront in Southwest Washington, D.C,. 1:38PM May 19, 2016.

To be clear, the Waterfront "fronts" onto the Washington Channel, which separates East Potomac Park (visible across the channel in this image) from the main stem Potomac River. The Anacostia also flows into the Potomac River near here with the confluence of the three -- Potomac, Anacostia, and Washington Channel -- at Hains Point.

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As for Andrew O'Hehir at Salon.com -- man whose writings I have often loved and featured on this blog -- this anti-Hillary screed in wrote in support of Bernie Sanders and his crazed, bug-eyed Sandernistas was really annoying, but I'm not going to deconstruct it now except to say it was an unusually shallow and ill-thought-out piece.

In short, it was a piece clearly written in anger and beneath him.

The Titanic Memorial in Southwest Washington, D.C., 1:39PM May 19, 2016.

Yes, D.C. has a memorial to those who died on the RMS Titanic. It was unveiled in May 1931.

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Were I to deconstruct O'Hehir's piece, I would mention the lack of any mention to Ralph Nader's 2000 spoiler role and the resulting catastrophic reign of George W. Bush. The failure to mention Ross Perot's role in the 1992 election. The gratuitous insult of Paul Krugman. Most of all, I'd mention the breezy excusing of the incendiary and reckless accusations that Hillary is "stealing" the nomination from him when she has simply won a significantly higher fraction of the vote than he has (the low-population, homogenous, democratically problematic caucuses notwithstanding) and instead putting it all down to the corruption of the 1% overclass.

The large field at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., 2:58PM May 19, 2016.

I didn't take any pictures at the picnic. As it is, I couldn't stay that long as I had to get back to the office. (Contractors have to take personal time to go to the event.)

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I will admit that I find it a bit disconcerting that I find myself in agreement with Washington Consensus house organ Fred Hiatt's unsigned editorials, in this case, on the topic of Bernie Sanders' remaining in the Democratic presidential primary race and Ruth "Mother" Marcus most recent op-ed about Donald Trump.

But as is said, politics tends to make strange bedfellows.

One of the buildings at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., 3:02PM May 19, 2016.

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OK, I think I'm going to end this entry now. I may post both a Saturday Evening Post entry and Jukebox Saturday Night Entry tomorrow, or just the latter.

--Regulus