Monday, January 16, 2017

T Minus 5 Days to The Twilight Zone -OR- "Hi, I'm James Comey. Fly Me to Trump World!"

My stepfather Ray's snow-covered SUV at sunset, Millersville, Md., 4:44PM January 7, 2017. This was two days after he passed away.

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Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal holiday. I'm going to try to go into the office today despite the fact it is a holiday, but I'm in a bind with that (see below for explanation).

Martin Luther King Jr. and (next to him to the right) a young Congressman John Lewis.

Donald J. Trump, OBE-E (Orange Buffoon Emperor-Elect) was recently in another one of his foul twitter brawls with Rep. John Lewis, a man who is so vastly his moral and ethical superior that they occupy literally different realities.

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I'm back home in D.C. in my tiny dust trap of an apartment. I took a MARC train back yesterday afternoon from Odenton and then went to the gym last night. I'm planning on going back up to Millersville on Thursday night to visit my mom and stepsister Debbie for another few days. (I'll telework there on Friday and, if necessary, Saturday to get in a full 8 hours.)


I have found it very pleasant and therapeutic to be there during this time so soon after my stepfather Ray's death and his funeral. It's just nice to be there with my mom (see above image).

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The reason I am going up Thursday night is because the next day, Friday, January 20th, 2016 the United States of America formally enters The Twilight Zone -- or perhaps a Philip K. Dick dystopian alternate reality -- when an epochal historical mistake begins in the form of the installation of Donald J. Trump as 45th President of the United States following his win on a technicality involving that vestigial slave state-appeasing institution of the Electoral College ...


.. not to mention facilitated by the mainstream corporate-whore email that fixated on the bullshit email pseudo-scandal to the near total exclusion of anything else (and here I'm talking about CNN, not the rightwing media/entertainment complex) ...

From the Sunday Herald in Scotland, a TV listing announcing the Trump inauguration coverage as an episode of The Twilight Zone; story here; this was tweeted by George Takei of "Star Trek: TOS" fame.

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...and, related to the bullshit email scandal, what amounted to an internal coup by a rightwing cabal of agents within the FBI tacitly headed by the disgraceful James Comey.

James Comey: Leader of the rightwing FBI cabal that launched a successful coup just days before the 2016 presidential election and helped through the outcome to Donald Trump.

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But here we are at the start of this nightmare of Donald Trump ...

... and wall-to-wall rightwing Republican government under (to quote Charles Pierce) the "zombie-eyed granny starver" Paul Ryan and the reptilian Mitch McConnell that is set to blow up everything good and decent in the world starting with the act of yanking away health insurance for 20 to 30 million Americans -- many of whom were Trump voters.

Of note, the latest GOP death-for-everybody-not-a-multimillionaire scheme is to hold hostage CHIP reauthorization to force Dems to go along with whatever Ayn Rand-pleasing "plan" that Paul Ryan and his ilk concoct to kill people in the name of "free markets."


However, just to show that it might not be as easy as the GOP hopes, here is a story of some shitty GOP Congressman in Colorado fleeing from a meeting with his constituents -- including a cancer patient whose life depends on Obamacare (sorry, "ObamaCare" in GOP Newspeak) (link embedded): GOP Congressman, Overwhelmed by Constituents Concerned About ACA Repeal, Sneaks Out of Event Early.

Rep. Mike Coffman (inset), tail between his legs, sneaks out the backdoor from an event in Aurora, Colo., that he organized when he realized his constituents weren't at all happy with his Obamacare repeal.

Let's hope this is the start of something big -- like the 2009 "town hall" travesties but in reverse. As for Mike Coffman, he's just your garden-variety teabagger, not to mention a coward.

Here are a few of the top comments from last night from that Slate article:

Finneus

At least when dems were getting screamed at when the aca was being voted on, they stood there and took the abuse. This guy can't stand there and take it from an old lady cancer survivor? Profiles in courage.

Stumps McGubbin (Achieving total consciousness) Member

100,000k medical bill? Here's your 2k voucher *and* another 500 whole dollars you can deduct on your taxes! You are a winner! This is winning!

Left: The GOP's dream America.

Primecut @Stumps McGubbin (Achieving total consciousness)

Every citizen gets one bottle of tylenol that they can use however they want

Rep. Mike Coffman's upset constituents at that Aurora "town hall" meeting.

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Lastly, on politics, please do watch Alec Baldwin's brilliant SNL opening from this past Saturday parodying the Talking Yam-in-Chief'-Elect's opening "press conference" at Trump Tower:



The pee jokes are in reference, of course, to that unsubstantiated dossier of material put together on Trump.

Oh, yes, I forgot to the whole reason I started on this political detour: I need to go up on Thursday night to avoid the throngs of people there for the inauguration including all the protesters that will be in D.C. on Friday and over the weekend. The big protest event is the Million Woman March on Saturday. I want -- need -- to get out of D.C. before all that big mess, and since I have to go through Union Station (which is damn near Ground Zero of the whole affair), it's much better than I leave Thursday night.

As it is, we are required to telework on Friday. I intend to return on Sunday.

This is a second picture of the brilliant mid-winter Sun a cirrus-fleeced blue sky that I took from inside of the funeral limousine en route to Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Crownsville while passing through Millersville, Md., 1:04PM January 13, 2017.

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As a brief update, I absolutely need to finish a series of reports (each 4 to 6 pages) by Wednesday night. These reports should have been written a couple months ago but were repeatedly delayed.

I would like to go into the office today -- since I have multiple monitors -- to work on them but I'm unsure if I can get into the office since today is a holiday and I don't know if my keycard works for the elevator.

If I can't get enough of these done today and tomorrow during the day, I'll have to stay up all night tomorrow night to do it. I had planned on going to the gym tomorrow after work, though.

A bright winter's day passing through Millersville, Md., 1:05PM January 13, 2017.

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Weather-wise, today is a mostly cloudy, seasonably mid-winter chilly day with temps of 42F at KDCA and 39F at KBWI at the noon hour. Rain showers are forecasted for tonight into Wednesday.

Lastly, as I mentioned, this past weekend while at my mom's place, I watched multiple episodes of "Sanford & Son" as part of a marathon of the show on the TV One network. Here some screenshot scenes from episode "Superflyer" (the first one of which I took last year when watching this episode):


Fred is looking for "Jackie" (a name Lamont cited earlier in the episode to get him to go) to fly her to St. Louis. While he finds many beautiful young stewardesses, he can't find "Jackie" until the return flight ...

"Hi, I'm Jackie."

This is a period reference to the long-defunct National Airlines "Fly Me" ad campaign circa 1971 in which then-pretty female-only flight attendants ("stewardesses" in the parlance of the time) gave their first name and declared "Fly Me!" -- something that angered whatever women's groups at the time.

Fred's reaction.

It's frickin' hilarious.

Redd Foxx was a riot. (Sorry for the blurry image. You get the idea.)

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OK, that's all for now. OK, that's all for now. My next planned entry will be on Wednesday or Thursday.

--Regulus

Sunday, January 15, 2017

On a Bright, Clear Winter's Day, a Final Farewell to My Stepfather SSG Raymond William Titus (b. May 8, 1947 - d. January 5, 2017)

Brilliant mid-winter sunshine as seen from the inside of the funeral limousine en route to Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Crownsville while passing through Millersville, Md., 12:57PM January 13, 2017.

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This is a somewhat shorter entry than I intended. I'm at my mom's place in Millersville with my stepsister Debbie -- two days after Ray's funeral -- just spending a quiet familial weekend in the wake of Ray's funeral and during such a sad time.


The wreath of flowers from the "Truckin4Troops" organization that Ray was so happy to help.

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Having said that, we are having a pleasant enough time here, especially given the circumstances. We went to the cemetery earlier this Saturday and then stopped at a coffee shop in Millersville (the Bean Rush Cafe). Actually, it's kind of nice to just be here in this little, comfortable place (although my mom doesn't want to remain here for the long-term).

Flowers from Ray's funeral on the table this morning, Millersville, Md., 1:38PM January 14, 2017.

Of note, my employer sent some flowers to the funeral as well.

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The funeral was difficult -- but made much easier by all the people who showed up (at least 50) and paid their respects. Also, the folks at the church including Pastor Larry Smith -- Grace of God Fellowship here n Millersville -- really were tremendous, and I really appreciate that.

video
This is the first of five videos that were taken by long-time family friend Lola at the military funeral service at Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Crownsville, Md., January 13, 2017.

Lola is an awesome person.

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It's not a church I go to or would go to (well, being a fallen Catholic, I don't really "do" any non-Catholic churches or, for that matter, Catholic churches). However, what this church and its pastor did for my mom was wonderful in such a difficult time (especially Pastor Larry on the night Ray died).

video
Video 2 of 5.

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Chester came to the funeral and I really appreciated that. Later, he and I took a walk on the B&A trail in Severna Park and then went to Adam's Grille. Chester came back here later for almost two hours. I am really happy that he was there yesterday. Also, my dad down in Florida called and I called him back and we talked for a bit.

video
Video 3 of 5.

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I had intended to post more but it's already 10:20PM as I start this and we are just watching TV -- reruns of "Sanford & Son" (there is a weekend marathon on "TV One") and HGTV, including an episode of "Property Brothers." Earlier, we had a nice dinner at home. As I said, it has just been pleasant -- or maybe therapeutic -- staying here. I've also had a fair amount to eat and drink (courtesy Northway Liquors)

video
Video 4 of 5.

Of note, while at the cemetery, I saw two eagles circling high overhead (maybe 200 feet up) in the deep blue sky fleeced with cirrus mares' tails. And I could have sworn they had white heads -- that is, were bald eagles.

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Also, I nixed going to my company's post-holiday annual awards banquet tonight (in Tysons) and stayed here. Instead, I'm heading back to D.C. tomorrow but I've decided to come here again next week -- ideally, on Friday, except that is the day of the inauguration and at the start of a protest-filled weekend, so I may come here on Thursday night. I really don't feel like being in D.C. next weekend. As for the upcoming workweek, I have some things I need to do including for work.

video
Video 5 of 5.

This includes where my mom is presented with the folded up American flag.

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Given everything, my blogging is going to be uncertain and likely a bit thin this upcoming week. Indeed, things aren't likely to get back to normal until the week of Jan. 23rd.

Debbie and my mom at Maryland Veterans Cemetery, Crownsville, Md., 3:31PM January 14, 2017.

I'm really glad the weather was decent for the funeral on Friday. As for today (Saturday), was cold and wet and muddy out there today.

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Today was a cold, showery day with temps just above freezing. The three of us went to the Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Crownsville and found where Ray is being buried. We went there for the formal military honors yesterday but we were not at the gravesite.

Debbie saying goodbye to her father, January 13, 2017.

(Yes, I asked both Debbie and my mom if it was OK to post this picture.)

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I do want to repost this from the prayer card for Ray's funeral:

In Loving Memory of Raymond W. Titus

Thursday, May 8, 1947
Thursday, January 5, 2017

God saw you getting tired,
and a cure was not to be.
So He put his arms around you
and whispered, "Come with Me."
With tearful eyes we watched you suffer,
and saw you fade away.

Although we loved you dearly,
we could not make you stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
hard working hands at rest.

God broke our hearts to prove to us,
He only takes the best.

--Author Unknown

Of note, I should mention that the prayer card had as its front picture a stylized picture of two bald eagles see above for relevant connection) flying over a jagged snowcapped mountain whose rocky striations and crowning snow field are suggestive of an American flag’s stripes and stars, respectively.

Ray watching an old Western TV show ("Wagon Train"?, "Laramie"?, "Bonanza"? No idea), January 4, 2017.

This is the last picture of Ray before he passed away the next day.

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At ease, soldier. You made it home.

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--Regulus

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Late Night Blog Wash -OR- Fluff-and-Fold at Donald Trump's Kompromat Laundromat

Idyllic autumnal Vermont scene.

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Just a super-duper short update ... OK, as usual, it ended up being a not-so-super-duper short update.

It's 1AM as I start this entry, but I have a few hours of work to do making some final edits to a peer review report. Actually, I may just go to bed as soon as I'm done this entry and get up earlier than usual and work on it. I'm not actually taking the train (see below) until 220PM from Union Station.

Yours truly at Stoney's the other night having a late dinner, Washington, D.C., 11:27PM January 9, 2017.

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Presently, I'm cooking a (very) late dinner (steak, steamed broccoli, and jasmine rice) and waiting for four loads of laundry to be done. I suspect two of the loads won't fully dry -- which, if I have to spend another $2 each will mean that this little laundry episode cost $20 rather than the usual $16.

As an update before I post this entry, I didn't have to re-dry anything so it was just $16.

Nighttime office view overlooking 395 and part of Southwest Washington, D.C., 6:59PM January 10, 2017.

This is a very melancholy view, especially in the winter time, that I kept looking upon last Thursday night when my mom told me that Ray was dying, when I first called Debbie to let her know that something very bad was happening, and when my mom texted me to say that Ray had died.

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Earlier, I was at the gym and got in the bulk of my usual multi-part workout ending with a swim. Tomorrow, I'm not going into the office but instead on the MARC train to Odenton to meet my mom and Debbie. Ray's funeral is this Friday. It is going to be a terribly sad event. As I have mentioned, I am so glad that Debbie (Ray's daughter and my stepsister) is with my mom this month.

Of note, my dad sent me $300 -- unprompted -- as a gift for the $300 that I gave to Debbie (or rather, gave to her housemate down in Laredo (Texas) as per portion of the January rent).

Chinatown, downtown Washington, D.C., 8:59PM January 10, 2017.

There is always a nighttime touch of Blade Runner -- as in Los Angeles, November 2019 -- to this intersection of 7th and H Streets NW. I was there because I met up with Kevin last night after work at Fado.

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There's a lot I'd like to write about tonight -- including what amounts to the first bona fide political crisis for Donald Trump -- but I can't do that right now. So no discussion right now of KGB's "kompromat" on Donald Trump to include business dealings with Russian oligarchs, his nebulous finances, his possible indirect interactions with Vladimir Putin's people on the hacked DNC/Podesta emails to undermine Hillary Clinton and, of course, the salacious sex rumors involving Russian prostitutes.


Regarding that last point, this blog is strictly a no golden shower zone. (To be clear, I don't actually believe this allegation BUT neither would it shock me if it were true.)

Jackpot bar, Washington, D.C., 9:16PM January 10, 2017.

Kevin took me to this subterranean bar called Jackpot in Chinatown after we left Fado. It was somewhere between D.C. millennial and hipster. Not really my kind of place but after years of showing people places in D.C. that they had never seen, it's nice to have someone who is showing me so many places I had never seen (or would be likely to see).

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If you want to read the BuzzFeed story that sent Trump into a manic twitter meltdown with accusations that we are living in "Nazi Germany," see here, and if you want to read the actual 35-page unsubstantiated dossier, see here.

The New York Times has a good overview and analysis piece on the whole story.

CityCenterDC, Palmer Alley, Washington, D.C., 9:44PM January 10, 2017.

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Trump's angry, combative, and generally unhinged press conference (his first as president-elect) held at Trump Tower in New York this Wednesday was nothing short of unprecedented in a highly abnormal and more than a little scary way.

Donald Trump gestures at his press conference on January 11, 2017.

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Of course, today's radicalized rightwing GOP doesn't care since Trump is their vehicle to get their corporate fascist-theocratic "libertarian" dystopia in place. The GOP will turn on Trump only when he no longer has political support from the working class white proletariat whose votes the party needs to win elections in gerrymandered districts and through the that vestigial slave state construct of the Electoral College.

The Washington Post building as seen from Franklin Square, Washington, D.C., 9:59PM January 10, 2017.

The old Post building was torn down last year and is now a giant construction site for some new ginormous office building or maybe a set of buildings. Also, it was rather cold last night -- especially early on before it got milder -- and Franklin Square was actually devoid of homeless people. I don't think I've ever actually previously seen that.

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The part that so galls me is how James Comey tipped the outcome of the election just enough to allow Trump the appalling Electoral College win by reopening the bullshit Hillary email story 11 days before the actual election -- but refused to budge on anything involving a foreign adversary meddling in the American national election through cyber-espionage and leaking with the purpose of putting (as a TPM commenter said), a "compromised asset" -- and a deeply unbalanced one at that -- as into the Office of the Presidency.

And it worked.

Trade, Washington, D.C., 10:33PM January 10, 2017.

I had a nice chat with Bishop Charlie before I headed home.

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OK, that's all for now. My intention is to post an entry tomorrow night from my mom's place. As for the weather, briefly, it's a damp, mild night following some light rain earlier. Temps are around 50F (and a dew point nearly to match) at the 2AM hour.

"Newhart" opening title card

Right now, I'm watching the late night line up of 1980s / early 1990s sitcoms on Antenna TV. (I don't have cable but I get the local affiliate of Antenna TV.) At present, Newhart is on (not to be confused with the Bob Newhart Show of the 1970s).

"Newhart" cast

The show is pretty damn funny (especially with Bob Newhart as the deadpanning straight man foil to all the oddballs always around him), and I love the Vermont setting and the Henry Mancini-themed opening featuring idyllic Vermont countryside setting. (Of note, Bob Newhart is still alive -- he's 87. He even has a website.)

OK, signing off for now. G'night.

--Regulus

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

General Update Interspersed with Photos by CWG's Kevin Ambrose of Saturday's Memorable Williamsburg Snowstorm; California Gets Hosed


The pictures in this entry are taken primarily (it should be obvious which) from this CWG entry (link embedded): Photos: A snowstorm to remember in Williamsburg.


The photos are by photographer Kevin Ambrose. The snowstorm in question hit the Tidewater area on Jan. 7th with 12.5 inches of snowfall in Williamsburg -- which (according to Kevin) "almost equaled the great snowstorm of Jan. 5, 1980, which dropped 13.5 inches of snow in 24 hours on Williamsburg, but fell well short of the blizzard of 1966, which dumped 21.8 inches of snow on the city."


Here in D.C. and in the immediate Baltimore / Washington area, there was really only about an inch -- and less at the airports despite one heavy snowsquall that passed through midday.

As context, Williamsburg reportedly averages 5.1 inches of snow in an average year. By contrast, KDCA averages 15.4 inches and KBWI averages 20.1 inches in the current 30-year average.


I am not including the captions -- if you want to picture info, click on / download the images. The file names are based upon the captions Kevin provided in his entry.

The other images in this entry are California weather-related ones from the NWS.


Too bad M. WADE Tipamillyun wasn't back there in the stockade flipping you off in a photograph.

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I thought I was getting better from this head/chest cold but I feel very congested and groggy this mid-to-late morning. I really need to get into the office. I've not been there since last Thursday.

This isn't to say I haven't done any work since Thursday. I stayed up all night Sunday into Monday morning working on edits to a peer review from about 930PM to 730AM, whereupon I went to sleep until 3PM.


While up all night, I had Antenna TV on (I get that with my digital antenna -- remember I don't have cable) and watched a bevy of 1980s and early 1990s sitcoms from 227 to My Two Dads to Dear John to The Bob Newhart Show Newhart.


Anyway, I got up at 3PM and made it to the gym before going out into very cold night (it was about 23F) and went briefly to Trade and then to Stoney's for some dinner. I then walked home and got to bed around 1AM. I got up and had a Theraflu drink around 330AM, which mostly just made me groggy.


Right now, I just want to sleep this morning but I really need to get up and into the office. I'm not going to be there this coming Thursday or Friday for Ray's funeral (which is Friday).


Then it is the Martin Luther King holiday weekend -- followed quickly by the Donald Trump installation as (if I can channel Charles Pierce) talking yam-in-chief. This is bad enough but we also will have wall-to-wall rightwing radical Republican government, so it's really going to be a nightmare.


This situation has been building for quite some time, and our electoral system is so skewed, broken, and outright deranged that it always gives that side much more political power than this side -- and there you have it. I actually think the country is approaching serious political crises and potential civil unrest in the next 5 to 10 years (especially as soon as the next crash hits and the government under Trump and the GOP naturally respond in ways that exacerbates everything).


Regardless, and as I have mentioned, I'm not going to spend a lot of time in the coming months obsessing on whatever immoral act of oligarchy and theocracy comes out of Congress or profane and indecent thing Trump tweets or says.


The weather is still cold with temps this late morning around 28F here in D.C. Indeed, cold weather has encompassed a huge swath of the Lower 48 with something like 93 percent of its geographical territory below freezing on Sunday morning and with snowfall on the ground in at least some part of 49 of the 50 states (only Florida had no ground snow whatsoever).

Snow coverage map for the lower 48 CONUS valid 6Z January 9, 2017.

(OK, including Louisiana is a bit of a stretch but there you have it. Oh, and note the hole over the Baltimore/Washington region.)

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A warmup is forecasted here (and across the Eastern U.S. in general) along with some rain.

Sacramento (STO) NWS CWA weather advisories updated 7:26AM PST January 10, 2017.

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The big weather story is the veritable firehose of Pacific storms hitting the northern half of California (occasionally dropping farther south into Southern California) flooding rains in the coastal and valley areas and many feet of snow in the high Sierras. There is actually a blizzard warning in effect across portions of the Sierra Nevada range this morning.

Sacramento NWS radar (DAX) in standard base mode reflectivity looped 646AM - 726AM PST January 10, 2017.

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Farther north in the Siskiyou and Shasta-Trinity wilderness areas, snow levels with warmer Pacific air and there are widespread flood advisories simultaneously with winter storm warnings.

Eureka (EKA) NWS CWA weather advisories updated 7:53AM PST January 10, 2017.

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This pattern should be a drought-buster following multiple years of severe drought in California. It's the Pacific Ocean unleashed thanks to the upper level pattern.

Eureka NWS radar (BHX) in standard base mode reflectivity looped 649AM - 727AM PST January 10, 2017.

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OK, this entry ended up way longer and more involved than I anticipated -- but I am fully awake and feeling much better now. So I'm going to wrap it up now. My next entry might be Wednesday night or, alternatively, Thursday evening from my mom's place in Millersville, Md.

--Regulus