Tuesday, November 24, 2015

An Uncharacteristically Upbeat Update Entry Also Featuring Topically Totally Unrelated Yet Very Lovely South Island, New Zealand Pics Taken by My Friend DG in March 2011

A waterfall in Wilmot Pass on New Zealand's South Island as seen in the mist and rain, March 2011.

For an explanation of the pictures in this blog entry, please see below. This is the only one with a specific caption.


This is just a brief late night update of my doings the past few days. It is an entry that is UNCHARACTERISTICALLY upbeat and optimistic with a HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS high frequency use of the word "good" other positive words. (By contract, "fear" and "detest" each only appears once.)

For that, I truly apologize.

For this update, I am very low on images -- as in, I have none to post except from my Pittsburgh work trip last week, but I'm going to feature those in a dedicated entry that I intend to post late Wednesday or early Thursday (yes, on Thanksgiving and also my birthday).

In lieu of available pictures, I am going to take the liberty of posting some images from my friend DG's blog, namely, a handful of the photographs he took back in March 2011 during a visit to New Zealand's South Island including the Lake Wakatipu region around Queenstown and Doubtful Sound in Fiordland National Park.

You may recall that DG was living for a time in Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia with his wife, and he visited New Zealand, I believe, twice, including the March 2011 trip.

DG spent additional time in this part of New Zealand because of the earthquake that occurred a few weeks earlier on Feb. 22, 2011 that devastated Christchurch -- including the destruction of the hotel where he was going to stay. You can read about that visit in the three entries he posted: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. (The images are all from Parts 2 and 3.)

I'm not posting any captions to the pictures, so if you want to know what the pictures are, either click on / download the JPEGs or see his blog entries.

Of note, Queenstown now has additional meaning to me now that it did not back in March 2011 because it is one of the six stages on the South Island course on the treadmills at the YMCA Anthony Bowen that I regularly do (one of seven different courses, three of which are in New Zealand including South Island, North Island, and Auckland and Wellington). (Each stage is about 5-1/2 minutes long.)

I fear that's about as close to New Zealand as I'll ever get.

Of note, I now know four people who have been to Queenstown, New Zealand -- DG, bartender Aaron, Mike G's son, and this guy at Larry's Lounge who went with his partner and he showed me the pictures one night.

OK, now with the update ...

On Saturday night, as planned, I met DG -- the same one referenced above -- at Bistro Bistro on Connecticut Avenue. We had a very nice dinner -- and he even bought. No one has bought me dinner in well over a year (it just never happens; by contrast, I have paid for (too many) people in my life).

My reciprocation was buying (too many) drinks thereafter.

Thereafter, we wandered around Dupont Circle, detouring to a curious restaurant called the Iron Gate located on N Street. We sat at the bar there. We then went to Larry's Lounge which, I must say, is almost always a bad idea.

Gary was already there and we all had just too many drinks.

However, all ended well and it was actually quite a fun night. As for DG, I don't see him very often as his life situation simply doesn't allow it.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, yes, he and I talked about his blog and he reminded me of his New Zealand trip in March 2011. I had forgotten he had been to Queenstown.

The next day, I got up and got ready and headed up to Bethesda on the Metro to meet Quill. We were going to go to American Tap Room, but the place was frickin' mobbed and a noisy football game was on. It is hard to overstate how much I detest professional American football for many reasons, and I literally recoil at having to be in a place where it is on (usually at blaring volume levels).

Instead, we ventured to try Mon Ami Gabi. Not only was this my second French bistro in less than 24 hours but it turned out to be an excellent choice. (Alas, last night, I deleted the pictures I took while there before sending them to my email account for posting.)

Quill and I sat at the bar in a good spot and had a really nice meal and a very pleasant time. Again, as with all of this, I just wasn't expecting that. It also helped that I am not flat broke this pay period.

Oh, yes, I should point out that I was wrong in what I said in this entry: The woman whose funeral she attended earlier on Sunday was her apartment neighbor and casual friend, not someone on her parents' block in Silver Spring.

I headed back into D.C. again on the Metro. I should note here that both my Metro Redline train ride to and from Bethesda were shockingly fast given the current, seemingly endless era in which we are living of eternal weekend massive delays due to "capital improvement" construction work on the entire Metrorail system.

Again, this was an unexpected good thing.

As arranged, I met Dave J. at Commissary -- yes, another restaurant -- where we had a few drinks and a great conversation. We then ended up, despite our better judgment, at Larry's Lounge, except on this Sunday night, it was genuinely very enjoyable pleasurable with a great 1970s classic disco music mix playing and more good conversation. Nevertheless, I still stayed too late and walked home, drunk again.

I managed to get to bed by about 1230AM and had full night sleep, although punctuated by very odd dreams that I just don't have the time or wherewithal to go into now.

As for my first day back in the office following both my onsite client work and 2-1/2 day work trip to Pittsburgh, everything was fine and by afternoon I was back into the groove of things.

I made a doctor's appointment for Dec. 3rd, however, in order to check out what I am fairly certain now is a high blood pressure problem. I'm probably going to have to start taking something for it -- provided it doesn't cause me to double in size.

Earlier tonight, I went to the gym and had a good multi-part workout including a core routine that I've not been doing well with lately and ending with a brief swim. The only bad thing is I lost another pair of goggles. There are a bunch in the lost-and-found bin by the pool that you can use, but I'm not crazy about using unknown goggles.

I'm going to try to go to the gym again tomorrow (Tuesday) night since I won't be there again until Saturday. I'm heading over to Anne Arundel County (to Millersville) to see my mom on Wednesday after work (via a MARC train from Union Station) for Thanksgiving and to go into Annapolis on Friday during the day. My plan is to return Friday evening rather than Saturday afternoon. (Union Station on Wednesday will be a madhouse.)

Turning to the weather ...

It was a chilly, blustery day -- it actually felt outright wintry cold due to the sudden onslaught -- with highs only about 42F (hardly frigid but it felt cold). It bottomed out on the 23rd at 32F at KDCA, so Washington, D.C. proper has now had its first "official" freeze of the season. (KBWI and KIAD were 28F and 27F, respectively, and reached freezing weeks ago, specifically, Oct. 19th and Oct. 18th, respectively.)

Tonight is a variably cloudy, moonlit one with a waxing gibbous Moon riding high overhead and (at least earlier) lightly veiled by a mid-to-high level cloud deck.

It is forecasted to warm up to somewhat above normal, but more to the point, there really is no "weather" of note in terms of meaningful weather systems.

OK, that's all for now. I'm probably not updating the blog tomorrow night (if only because I might be meeting Gary and Dave J. tomorrow after the gym). My next planned update will likely be late Wednesday / early Thursday.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Extended Excerpts of an Andrew O'Hehir Salon Column Interspersed With Lovely Hawaiian and Other Seashore and Ocean Images

Below are extended excerpts from a piece by Andrew O'Hehir, whose writings I often quite enjoy, that appeared in Salon (a publication I typically find very annoying in its hyper-political correctness and cartoonish levels of social liberalism).

I really don't have many pictures for this entry, so I've taken a few frame-grab snippets from this YouTube video of relaxing seashore scenes from Hawaii (supposedly, all from Oahu, but some of those images look to me more like the coastline of Kauai and/or Molokai).

Where I ran out of those images, I posted some others that I've featured on this blog over the years including a magical one of the Na Pali coastline and a few others not from the Hawaiian Islands.


The GOP-ISIS nightmare coalition: Islamic extremists and the anti-immigrant right have the same goal -- the death of democracy

Sat. Nov. 21, 2015
Source here.
By Andrew O'Hehir

Amid all the terror and panic and xenophobic hysteria of the Paris aftermath -- which seems to have set the dial on the political Way-Back Machine to about 2002, at least for now -- Republicans actually have a point. Maybe it's half a point, because when Donald Trump or Ted Cruz (or Marine Le Pen) raise the contested question of whether Islam is compatible with democracy, they don’t really understand the basic terms of the question, let alone where it leads.

I will jump ahead here and suggest that you don't get to ask that leading question about Islam and democracy, which has been the subject of considerable scholarly debate, without asking a number of corollary questions. What do we mean by Islam, and what do we mean by democracy? Is "democracy," as we currently understand it and experience it, actually compatible with the idea of democracy as it was handed down from antiquity and reconceived by the Enlightenment? But it does no good for people on the left who claim to stand for democracy, and for its associated values of human rights and civil liberties, to pretend that the questions about Islam and democracy do not exist or do not matter, or that they have been settled. The killings in the 11th arrondissement, and the reaction throughout the West, should be enough to tell us that isn't so.

It gives me absolutely no pleasure to insist that on this question, as on others, the Islamist militants of ISIS and the anti-Islamic Western right have reached the same conclusion. To put it more bluntly, every major Republican presidential candidate (excepting one or two of Jeb Bush’s multiple personalities) largely subscribes to the political and philosophical worldview of ISIS, except when it comes to final eschatological questions about who ends up in Paradise.

Indeed, in both cases the idea that Islam and democracy are incompatible is more like an essential premise than a conclusion, and the kinship goes much deeper than that. Both sides begin with the same diagnosis, which is that Western civilization faces a fundamental, existential crisis, and arrive at closely allied prescriptions aimed at producing closely related outcomes. In one case, Western democracy is seen as a corrupt and decadent sham that will simply be destroyed (and perhaps, in some fantasy future, subjugated to Islamic rule). In the other, Western democracy is corrupt and decadent and so on, and it must be destroyed in order to save it...

For at least the last 20 years and arguably closer to the last 50, the Republican Party has bet its future on appealing to a constantly shrinking electoral quadrant of exurban whites, largely in the South and Southwest. Throughout that period, the basis of that appeal has been the idea that America and Americanism (as core Republican voters understood those things) were in critical danger and under constant attack from within, from feminism and multiculturalism and the P.C. thought police, from Adam-and-Steve wedding cakes and the "war on Christmas" and white people who drove Volvos and wore funny glasses and drank chai lattes. Drive through any rural region of the United States -- in my case, the impoverished hinterlands of central New York State, barely three hours from Manhattan -- and you'll encounter those "Take Back Our Country" lawn signs. No one on any side of the question needs to ask from whom.

It's glaringly obvious, or at least it should be, that those are exactly the same tendencies that the leaders of ISIS and Osama bin Laden and the Taliban perceive and despise in the West. Much of that derives from Sayyid Qutb, the intellectual godfather of modern Islamic extremism, who published his influential critique "The America That I Have Seen" after spending two years in various parts of the U.S. in the late 1940s. Qutb excoriated America for its "deviant chaos" and its focus on "animalistic desires, pleasures, and awful sins." He probably never imagined the prospect of same-sex weddings, gender-neutral bathrooms or Kardashian-centric reality TV, but would have perceived such outrageous developments as logical results of America's fundamental depravity.

Some of Qutb's complaints about materialism, consumerism and economic inequality, in fairness, are more redolent of left-wing moralizing, and those elements too can be found in contemporary Islamist rhetoric. But he was especially obsessed with the widespread secularism of American life, with the growing cultural influence of black people (whom he described as "bestial" and "noisy") and with the sexual and intellectual freedom of women. Remember, this was 1949! He sounds like a horndog Baptist preacher out of some overcooked satirical novel when he inveighs against the "seductive capacity" of the American female, found in her "expressive eyes, and thirsty lips … in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs." Whatever research Qutb may have undertaken on that subject during his time in Colorado and California was for the benefit of Islam, to be sure.

The magical Na Pali coastline.


My point is not merely that puritanism of all stripes has common roots and common goals, and always calls for a return to some bygone era of virtue that almost certainly never existed. That's a point worth making, but here's the real secret sauce that binds the insane doctrines of ISIS to the Republican Party madhouse of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz: They both perceive all this decadence and moral relativism and loss of faith as the consequence of 200-odd years of democratic malpractice. One side has the decency to say openly that the legacy of 1776 and 1789 was complete bullshit from the get-go, nothing more than a high-minded pretext for imperial conquest and endless self-indulgence. The other side -- and I think you know the one I mean -- must pretend that democracy is or was a good idea, at least until it was distorted by Communist mind control or the Black Panthers or the 14th Amendment, while doing everything possible to undermine it.

I don't suspect I need to lay out here all the ways that the American right, faced with an evident demographic disadvantage, has sought to disenfranchise its opponents, poison the political and legislative process and transfer power to the super-rich. As I and others have repeatedly observed, the great victory of the Koch brothers and the Republican brain trust in the 2014 midterm election lay not just in the GOP's huge congressional majority but in the shocking 36.6 percent turnout, the lowest in any national election since World War II. The American right cannot return to a system where only property-owning white men are allowed to vote, at least not without visibly ripping up the Constitution. But it has gone a long way toward creating an environment that discourages and disheartens everyone else, and where the Angry White Male vote is coddled and inflamed and privileged in numerous ways.

This was taken some years ago at Point Reyes National Seashore in California. I've always loved this image.


As strange as this may sound, I do not doubt the faith that lies behind the right-wing distaste for democracy, or at least no more than I doubt the conflicted zealotry that lies behind militant Islam. Both sides correctly observe that the various strains of post-Jeffersonian democracy in the Western world have been plagued with problems from the beginning, and now face a dire crisis. Both the Western right and fundamentalist Islam yearn to pull their societies back toward a purer distillation of faith and a collective sense of purpose, and what could serve that purpose better than an apocalyptic "clash of civilizations"? They see the salvation of their respective societies in the rejection of the flabby ideal of democracy, explicitly or otherwise, and its replacement with a more virile, more godly and more effective system.

It took me forever to figure out what was this particular "mega" yacht, but I eventually did.


Is Islam compatible with democracy? Scholars have batted that one around for decades without arriving at a clear yes-or-no answer. Roughly 40 percent of the world's Muslims live in nominal democracies now, for whatever that's worth, and the popular appetite for democracy demonstrated by the Arab Spring was unmistakable, if also unfulfillable. But it strikes me as the wrong question. We might as well ask whether capitalism is compatible with democracy, or whether human nature is. As Justice Louis Brandeis may have said (like so many famous quotations, this one is tough to pin down), we can have democracy or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. By that standard we have never had democracy, and quite likely never will.

Very interesting indeed.

And let's end with another image -- one that is presently my computer wall paper ...

This is somewhere on the Florida Atlantic seashore, ironically, possibly not all that far from where my father lives in Dumpwater, I mean, frickin' Flagler By the Sea, Florida.

OK, one more entry to follow tonight.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Jukebox Saturday Night Entry for Nov. 21st, 2015: The Love Craving and Fooling Edition

"Crave You" by Flight Facilities ft. Giselle from the duo's "Down to Earth" release (2010)

I quite like the song with its melodic dance beat, but I can't make heads or tails out of the video. It's just odd all around with no identifiable theme, at least that I can tell (maybe I'm missing something.) Also, the woman in the video is not Giselle Rosselli, the woman singing the lyrics.


As noted in my previous entry, I'm low on both available songs for this week and on time, although I've managed to come up with a second one that is "topically" related. So without further ado ...

"Lovefool" by The Cardigans from the group's First Band on the Moon release (1996)

Great song lyrics and interesting video.

"Love me love me / Pretend that you love me / Leave me leave me / Just say that you need me / Love me love me / Say that you love me / Leave me leave me / Just say that you need me/ I can't care 'bout anything but you..."

Nothing like singing about obsessive love from a Zen-like state of indifference to being in that state.


OK, that's all for now.


Saturday Evening Post for Nov. 21st, 2015: The Palka-Cabra's Winter Snowcast Plus Brief Update

**This entry was posted November 21, 2015.**

A rainbow appears in the departing rain showers on the evening of Nov. 19, 2015, Washington, D.C., as seen from somewhere at the edge of the Foggy Bottom - GWU district.

This picture was taken by Instagram user "paradeinpink" and posted in this CWG entry. I was away in Pittsburgh for this weather event.


Tonight is a chilly, clear, moonlit night with just a very gauzy high cloud deck. Temps are falling into the 40s Fahrenheit. A cold front is approaching that might bring a few light rain showers and then much colder weather with highs only around 49F tomorrow and lows of 32F or lower even at KDCA proper, which would be the first freeze of the season "officially" in D.C.

As the lead image suggests, and while I was in Pittsburgh, it rained back here on Thursday. Specifically, it rained to the tune of 0.63" at KDCA and 0.62" at KBWI. Meanwhile, KIAD had 0.39".

Nevertheless, there continues to be a paucity of "weather" in the eastern third of the U.S. this autumn.

Oh, yes, the Palka-Cabra Creature is "predicting" below normal snowfall for the winter because she's, well, the Palka-Cabra creature.

"And you know what, Morris? I'm happy to say that I now think it will be warm with no snow for the entire winter!"

These local TV "news" channel winter season snow amount forecasts - even given as ranges -- are bullshit. The NWS certainly doesn't issue these kinds of products because it knows better. (I'm kind of baffled why CWG issues them, including for this season.)

However, the general public hasn't a clue what the actual snow averages are for any given locale in our region.

Furthermore, any "forecast" sails across the event horizon of this media memory black hole. Rather, it all just exists for immediate, commodified entertainment value from the local infotainment channels.

The Palka-Cabra's dream climate ...

There she is ...


As the briefest of updates ...

I had a good, multi-part gym workout of 3-1/2 hours duration this afternoon ending with a swim. Last night, I had dinner with Dave J. at Dupont Italian Kitchen and then we walked around a bit, ending up at Larry's Lounge. I was quite exhausted by the time I got home at 145AM, having gotten up at 615AM and been out.

Tonight, I am meeting Damon at Bistro Bistro at 8PM. I wanted to go to Maxime, but he did not want to walk to Georgetown. For tomorrow, I'm going to Bethesda to meet Quill for a late lunch, at least that's the plan for now. A funeral for a dead woman on her parents' block might interrupt that, though.

A jukebox Saturday night entry is to follow, although it will likely feature just one song rather than the usual three. This is because I inadvertently erased the draft text message that I keep on my old flip open cellphone that contains song titles and/or performers' names (or sometimes just lyrics excerpts) that I hear during the course of the week just for the purpose of posting jukebox Saturday night entries. Secondly, I am pressed for time (dinner plans).


Friday, November 20, 2015

Back from a Short and Kinda Stressful Pittsburgh Trip: Interim Update (Plus Adorable Brady Pic)

Downtown Pittsburgh, Pa., as seen from the 8th floor of the Westin Hotel and Convention Center, 7:57AM November 20, 2015.

Weather Note: It was sunny both days that I was there. As with my Buffalo trip last December, I pick a traditionally cloudy and inclement-weather city with significant wintertime snowfall and visit it when it is totally clear. Most people would love that. I'm not like most people in that respect.


I've just returned from Pittsburgh (my first time there).

It was a hurried and ultimately frustrating work-related trip that included two major traffic snarls in the immediate D.C. area -- as we left on Wednesday afternoon and as we arrived back earlier this evening.

The whole trip was very rushed and included basically 10 hours in the car going and coming. Returning tonight was especially frustrating as we were in a hurry to get back to the car rental place at L'Enfant Plaza by 6PM (which we did on the button).

I would have gone a different way back but I was not the driver. However, my co-worker got us there and back safe-and-sound and was not an aggressive driver, and was doing the best he could, so I should keep that in mind.

The K&L Gates skyscraper, downtown Pittsburgh, Pa., 10:56AM November 19, 2015.

All the skyscrapers in Pittsburgh have names atop them. They are also located on a warren of crisscrossing streets in an old city that make Pittsburgh appear like a jacked-up, hillier version of Buffalo. At night, all their colorful lights make them look like some futuristic city -- above a very American urban present.


I'm really not in the best mood right now, and I'm not going to try to update this blog tonight in any meaningful way. I have about 40 pictures from Pittsburgh that I'll try to post but, of course, my record on posting pictures is crappy (including my last two Wildwood Jersey shore summer visits).

Pittsburgh was an interesting city -- especially the skyline as seen from the "central business district" where I was holed up the whole time -- but I'll safe that for a subsequent entry.

I just have to post this picture of Brady ...

Chris sent it to me this morning with the caption "He's hoarding toys now." God, I love that dog.


I'm going to try to get my haircut tonight, although I might wait until Sunday. It's getting on my nerves its so bushy and the frickin' styling gel (yes, gel) I use feels awful. Maybe I'll revert to the pomade -- except it hardly works.

Tomorrow, I am planning to go to the gym and then I'm having dinner with Damon (if only because his wife and children are out of town -- that's how these meeting-up-with-straight-male-friends usually work).

Speaking of the gym, I managed to go to the hotel gym last night and even jogged a bit over 5 miles, weightlifted (a bit), and swam (in the small but pleasant 4th floor pool.

Tonight, probably just the usual Friday night stuff. I'll try to post a jukebox Saturday night entry tomorrow. The Pittsburgh update would not be until next week.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Late Night Update Ahead of My Work Trip to Pittsburgh -OR- Falling Through This November: The Ongoing Series

Colorful fall leaves on a lovely autumn day somewhere off Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C., Nov. 13, 2015.

This picture taken by Flickr user "Erin" and reposted in this CWG entry.


Just a brief midnight hour update with a paucity of images. To be clear, I wasn't even going to update the blog but I'm home now and just about ready for bed.

I had a very hectic day at work -- uncharacteristically, onsite with the client, as I mentioned in my previous entry. I need to go again onsite tomorrow, but I need to leave my apt. even earlier with my duffel bag (I think I can get one more trip out of the old green one before it totally rips apart, though its jet-flying days are over) and computer to drop off in the office before heading over to Forrestal for three hours until noon.

My two co-workers and I are planning on leaving around 2PM to drive to Pittsburgh.

About that, I've mostly packed ahead of time for my 2-1/2 day work trip to Pittsburgh that should last no more than 70 hours, start to finish, maybe even 65 hours. While I'm not thrilled that we are driving there and back, in one way it is good: I don't have to worry about all the stupid, arbitrary, blandly fascistic TSA rules about what you can and can't bring onto a jet married to the pure venality of pretty much anyone of the airlines nickel and diming you to death.

Hahaha ...


I went to the gym tonight, and while I got in a full jog (6.69 miles in 64 minutes), I had a very mediocre, abbreviated weightlifting effort. I was still a bit sore from last night's workout, and I just didn't have the energy. I did go in the steam room for a few minutes and then had a short but pleasant swim.

Besides, even if I didn't get in a good weightlifting routine, it's better than drinking in a frickin' bar.

I'll try to go to the gym once while away. I think the Westin where I'm staying in downtown Pittsburgh has a gym plus a pool. (I'm not going to do a full 3-hour routine, that's for sure.)

As for travelling, I'm just going to say it: I really don't like to do it anymore. I guess I'm becoming an old man. I find it very stressful and worrying, even for something as short as this sort of trip.

My friend Andrew just left for two weeks to go to a friend's wedding celebration in Cartagena. I told him -- repeatedly -- to be careful and cautious. I don't think I could do something like that. The one big exception for my travels is if I went to New Zealand. Having said all that, I do like the actual experience of flying in a passenger jet looking out the window.

The Weather ...

The weather is variably cloud (low clouds) and coolish tonight with temps here in D.C. around 49F. The big weather system bringing such a hodge-podge of stormy weather -- from blizzards to hail storms to flooding rains to tornadic thunderstorms -- across a wide swath of the middle U.S. is chugging eastward.

NWS composite radar national mosaic loop from 0318 to 0428UTC November 18, 2015.

That's 1018PM EST to 1128PM EST on November 17, 2015.


It's still forecasted to bring some heavy rainfall to the Baltimore/Washington area late Wed. into Thursday followed by much chillier weather (even a touch below normal by next week).

Before I sign off, below are three links of pieces I quite like -- two from the CWG's Jason Samenow and one from Jonathan Chait. All links are embedded. The image is from Flickr user "Erin" and was taken off Massachusetts Ave. in NW D.C. on Friday, Nov. 13th, 2015. It is on the CWG photo pool, although unlike the lead image to this entry -- also taken by Erin -- it did not appear in a specific CWG entry. The direct Flickr link is here.

Record-crushing October keeps Earth on track for hottest year in 2015

Why climate change shouldn't be named the top 'threat' to national security

OK, that's all for now. Off to Pittsburgh ...

... actually, off to bed right now.

I'll try to update the blog while I'm away since I shall being bringing the computer.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Late Night Update and with Sunday Photos Along the Avenue (New Hampshire Avenue, that is ...)

The sidewalk in the 1200 block of New Hampshire Ave next to the Hamilton House, Washington, D.C., 3:15PM November 15, 2015.

The New Hampshire Avenue images in this entry were taken on Sunday by myself as I walked to the Foggy Bottom Metro (see below).


Late Monday night, although it will be early Tuesday by the time I post this entry.

I'm back from the gym, where I had a good workout -- jogging, weightlifting, and a swim, although I skipped the for-me-seemingly-ineffectual core routine. This followed a hectic day at work that started late because of last night's Larry's Lounge corner pub-turned-speakeasy-turned-sideshow excesses. I had to get a press release out and actually learned how to do the whole Business Wire uploading process.

1800 block of New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 2:58PM November 15, 2015.


Now for the rest of the week, it is all client work including both having to be at Forrestal all day tomorrow starting by 9AM (!) and Wednesday morning and then a road trip with two co-workers to Pittsburgh for a two-day conference. Because of all of this, I need to get to bed by 1230AM 1120AM -- so I only have an hour to post this blog entry.

No 230AM posting of entries and 245AM bedtime tonight.

Fall day in the 1700 block of New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 3:02PM November 15, 2015.


I also may try to go to the gym again tomorrow (YMCA Anthony Bowen) since I'm unsure if I'll be able to go again before Saturday, although the hotel where I'm staying on Thursday night is quite a nice one and had a gym and pool.

Alas, I am not going to get much of a chance to see Pittsburgh itself. I've never actually been there. We return on Friday.

1600 block of New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 3:04PM November 15, 2015.

There were three young people toting an orange sofa across the avenue and down Corcoran Street. (As an aside, that stretch of Corcoran Street is lined with the female ginkgo trees and it reeks for a few months of the year when that nasty "fruit" they drop fall and are squashed open. It's disgusting.)


As an update since my multiple Saturday evening entries, on Saturday night, I walked over to Connecticut Avenue to get dinner at Bistro Bistro but the place was already closed. On the walk there, I happened to meet Craig M., who was parking his old pick up truck on S Street.

I hadn't seen him in a while -- and, honestly, the last few times I had sort of tried to ignore him but I don't really want to go into that. In this instance, it was nice to see him and we ended up going to dinner at that place Sette Osteria at R and Connecticut.

A large, gnarled, ancient elm tree (one of two) in the 1600 block of New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 3:04PM November 15, 2015.

The two trees made it another season.


Sette Osteria is a bit overpriced but the experience was nice (with a very attentive and friendly waitress), and it was genuinely pleasant seeing and talking to Craig, catching up, even with the one harrowing story he told me but I won't go into that now. I will say that Craig is tremendously intelligent and it's always enjoyable talking to him. (I've known him for almost 20 years.)

Craig still has an "IMPEACH BUSH" bumper sticker on the rear window of his pickup truck. I told him he might as well have a Nixon-Agnew one at this point.

The intersection of New Hampshire Ave, 18th Street, and Corcoran St NW, Washington, D.C., 3:05PM Nov. 15, 2015.


Later, I went to Larry's Lounge, where I met Gary and Howie, and then LP and his friend Rob showed up. That was actually a fun night.

It was on Sunday that things were, well, odd. For starters, my trek to the Ballston Macy's was actually very successful -- I got three pairs of button-down shirts, a new pair of Dockers pants and a pair of dress slacks, new shoes, and a six-pack of socks all for just under $214.

Looking in the boughs of a tree just past fall colorful peak at New Hampshire Ave and Corcoran Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:06PM November 15, 2015.


As an aside (and as I alluded to above), the pictures in this entry along New Hampshire Avenue were mostly taken while I was walking from home to the Foggy Bottom Metro to get a Metrorail to Arlington).

I hurried back home to unload all my stuff and then went back out, first to Commissary, which has a wonderful bar-only happy hour menu of food and drink that also applies on Sunday. I then went to No. 9, where I met Roger and, subsequently, Andrew joined us.

The Heurich House Museum just south of Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., 3:13PM November 17, 2015.

At one time at least, it housed the Historical Society of Washington, or as a long-ago friend and local historian Paul used to call it, the Washington Hysterical Society.


As ever, Roger and I had a really good conversation. It was after this that I went to Larry's Lounge where it devolved into the usual chaotic shit-show and, as I've pointed out before, the particulars of how the customers engaged each other there create a situation that is always well-primed for me to have occasional un-pleasantries. The irony is that this occurs precisely because the place is so festive. And to be clear, I seem to be the one with the issue. I need to be honest about that. It doesn't seem to happen with others.

Larry's Lounge, Washington, D.C., 11:10PM Nov. 15, 2015.


Beyond that, though, so much goes on there at those times but, unfortunately, I really cannot relate the particulars of the behaviors of people. It's quite a story including with people I know well.

Anyway, I got home but did not get to work on time this morning. I didn't even think I'd be able to go to the gym tonight, but in the end I did and feel much better.

Row houses in the 1000 block of New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 3:21PM November 15, 2015.


Turning to the weather ...

It was a warm, tranquil day with temps. reaching 70F at KDCA, KBWI, and KDMH and 68F at KIAD. Those weren't daily records but they were well above the Nov. 16th normal highs of 58F (KDCA), 56F (KBWI), and 57F (KIAD). (KDMH doesn't have a full 30-year climate normal base period, although its partial-record normal high for Nov. 16th is 58F.)

Tonight is actually kind of chilly -- at least it felt that way to me walking the short distance home -- but otherwise tranquil.

A strong storm system is moving out of the Rockies into the Great Plains. There are multiple, widespread weather advisories in effect including blizzard warnings in parts of Colorado (including Metro Denver), winter storm warnings, tornado watches (and a few warnings), and a variety of high wind watches and warnings.

NWS advisories for the United States as of 0416UTC November 17, 2015 (11:16PM EST November 16, 2015).

This map image does not include the legend.


At one point today -- although, unfortunately, I didn't do a screen capture of it -- parts of western Kansas around Goodland had BOTH a tornado watch and a blizzard warning in effect (for earlier today and tonight, respectively).

The storm system is progged to move across the U.S. and bring rain to Baltimore/Washington region by Wednesday and into Thursday as a strong cold front associated with it punches across the Eastern Seaboard.

NWS 12-hour surface map forecast for the Lower 48 U.S. valid 12Z (7AM EST) November 17, 2015.


Prior to that, though, a backdoor front that is sagging in from the northeast tonight, courtesy a sprawling high pressure over central Quebec, will be ushering in significantly cooler temps with thickening low clouds and maybe a touch of drizzle as well as some upslope showers along the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Front.

Portion of the NWS high-resolution surface weather map showing the northeastern quadrant of the U.S. and the Canadian Maritimes, valid 03Z Nov. 17, 2015 (10PM EST Nov. 16, 2015).

This shows the backdoor front and the ridging from the high over Quebec.


There is also a potent storm system hitting the Pacific Northwest with copious coastal and low-land rains and multiple feet of snow in the Cascades, although the snow level is forecasted to rise to 6,000' with milder Pacific air. The severe drought that western Washington state was in seems to be over.

NWS composite radar national mosaic loop from 0318 to 0428UTC November 17, 2015.


Updated 7:52AM 11/17/2015

Here is the NWS composite radar national mosaic loop from 1108 to 1218UTC (that is, 6:08AM - 7:18AM EST) November 17, 2015.

This storm system is really crankin' up ...

End of Update.


We're definitely starting to set up a classic major warm ENSO winter pattern -- but with no Eastern U.S. cold air courtesy a negative AO/NAO -- although, I suppose, the "fire hose" of the subtropical jet hasn't really gotten going at this point with a parade of storms hitting California (every one of which Californians should welcome before the next multi-year drought sets up). There is also the issue of whether the current major warm ENSO is a "Modoki" variety.

OK, that's all for now. I'm probably not going to update the blog tomorrow night, which means my next entry will not be until during my Pittsburgh trip. I am bringing my computer, so it will be a function of available time and internet connectivity.

Signing off now.

Peace out. And Peace for Paris. We're with you.

A man wears the "Peace for Paris" symbol on his jacket while looking at the Washington Square Park arch illuminated in the French tricolors of the French flag in New York City on or about Nov. 15, 2015.


OK, that really is all for now. I'm already 50 minutes later signing off than I intended.