Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Another January 23rd: My Dad Turns 77; Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, and Other Late Night MeTV Viewing; and Brief Weather Update


It's January 23rd -- and that means it is my dad's birthday.

He turns 77 years old today.

Wow.

As for my dad, he's fine -- more or less. He's still living down there in (or near) Flagler Beach in that trashy "Southern" part of north-central Florida in a seaside trailer park. I need to call him after work tomorrow (or rather, later today). And I am going down to visit him (with my mom) in April.

My dad and I and our bullmastiff "Borky" taken in our house on Kirby Avenue in Long Branch, N.J., circa 1977.

Yes, I know I've posted this picture multiple times. It is probably my favorite picture of him and me together. It was taken now 41 years ago. Back when he was 36 years old (and I was 7). (He had injured his hand, as I recall, in a karate tournament.)

I miss Borky. God, I loved that dog.

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As for my mom, she turned 69 last month. That was how old Ray (my stepfather) was when he passed away just over a year ago. Ray's birthday was May 8th, so he was four months from his 70th birthday.

77 years old.

So strange. Life just passes.

My parents at Henry's House pub in Charleston, S.C., August 20, 2017.

This was taken the day before the eclipse. I was with them and Chris having dinner. (He was happier to see my mom - -his ex-wife from nearly half a century earlier -- than to see me. (Yes, I need to post my solar eclipse trip pictures. Five months after the fact, the entry is about half complete and in draft form.)

*******

My dad was 29 when I was born, and I clearly remember when he was 35 years old (that was back in the mid-1970s in Long Branch, New Jersey). Even stranger is the thought that when he was 48, I was already 19 years old. He hadn't quite left New Jersey yet (that would come in early 1993) but grandma had already died.

I'm home now watching the usual late weeknight Me-TV lineup to include Carol Burnett and Friends, Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. (Oh, and if stay up late enough -- which I don't want to do tonight -- Mannix.)

I mention this not just because I typically mention it in these late night entries but because The Twilight Zone episode -- "The Hunt" -- that just concluded was sort of relevant, at least indirectly, to my above ponderings. This episode featured the actor Arthur Hunnicutt, who was so perfect for the role.

Prior to this was an excellent episode of Perry Mason, namely, "The Case of the Malicious Mariner."

This is an episode that one must watch carefully (and the commercials are few, short, and surprisingly far between). I love Perry Mason and Raymond Burr was so good in -- and so perfect for -- the series.

This is also one of the few black-and-white episodes that would actually have been better in color -- at least the parts featuring scuba diving on a tropical reef in the South Pacific (to recover sunken ship cargo).

Screenshot of the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Malicious Mariner."

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Turning -- ever so briefly -- to the weather, a cold front is forecasted to move across the region tomorrow with showers and perhaps some low-topped (wintertime) thunderstorms and gusty winds.

It's a mild and muggy night with air temp around 52F. I just put on my window air conditioner.

Some weather maps:

NWS Great Lakes sector composite radar mosaic looped 0438-0548UTC January 23, 2018.

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NWS high-resolution surface weather map for a portion of the eastern U.S. valid 3Z January 23, 2018.

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WPC/NDGD surface U.S. weather map forecast for 12Z (7AM EST) January 23, 2018.

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The frontal passage will end the recent bout of warm January weather. On Monday, temps climbed to 65F at KDCA, 62F at KBWI, and 66F at KIAD. Temps later today might get that high again but on Wednesday, it should be back in the 45F range. No winter weather is forthcoming for at least 7 to 10 days.

U.S. Drought Monitor map valid January 16, 2018.

This map doesn't include the D0 - D4 severity level legend but the D.C. and Baltimore areas are in D1 (moderate drought) with the "S" signifying "short term" impacts (less than six months).

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We really, really need the rain as the region is in a moderate drought (see map above).

Oh, yes, I should mention that the federal government shutdown is over -- at least for now -- and I'd like to post a link to this Ezra Klein piece: Democrats didn't cave on the shutdown. It's a nice analytical summary of what transpired -- and one that I think is quite correct.

The crazies that occupy the White House thought this a good photograph to send out featuring a MAGA baseball cap-wearing Donald Trump seated in the Oval Office and pretending to "do work" during the shutdown (it was taken this past Saturday).

Note the completely empty desk, the expression, the total lack of connection to any reality. And speaking of this reality -- Trump occupying the Oval Office. Oh, the humanity, or in this case ... 


OK, that is all for now. Let me just note that I didn't post this entry until 330AM. My next planned update will be late Wednesday or early Thursday.

--Regulus

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Jukebox Saturday Night for January 20th, 2018: The Grover, Brian, and Queen Edition -OR- Radio Ga Ga, Radio Goo Goo

First up, a really nice piece from the late, prolific Grover Washington Jr ...


"Protect the Dream" by Grover Washington Jr. from his album Time Out of Mind (1989)

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Next up, something new and nice from Brian Culbertson ...


"Colors of Love" by Brian Culbertson released as a single in 2017 but slated to be the lead song on his soon-to-be-released album of same name (2018)

According to Mr. Culbertson's website, the album Colors of Love is due out on Valentines Day. By the way, I really like the picture of him on his homepage.

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And we'll end with one of the great songs ...


"Radio Ga Ga" by Queen from the group's album The Works (1984)

I love this song -- and the lyrics are quite poignant.

The video features clips of the legendary 1927 German expressionist sci-fi film Metropolis and, yes, that is the late, great Freddie Mercury as lead vocalist.

"You gave them all those old time stars / Through wars of worlds - invaded by Mars / You made 'em laugh - you made 'em cry / You made us feel like we could fly / So don't become some background noise / A backdrop for the girls and boys / Who just don't know, or just don't care / And just complain when you're not there / You have the time, you have the power / You've yet to have your finest hour / Radio (Radio)"

Sigh.

OK, that's all for now. My next planned entry will be late Monday (or early Tuesday).

--Regulus

Reposted in Full: Jonathan Chait's "Rereading Trump’s Inaugural Address, One Year Later" OR Trumpzilla Versus DEMothra

**This entry was posted January 20th, 2018.**


In lieu of a Saturday Evening Post -- since I don't really have much to say -- this entry contains a full reposting of an excellent Jonathan Chait piece on the one-year anniversary of the start of the historical tragi-farce of the Trump presidency.

Except for the lead image and the very last one, it is interspersed with pictures (mostly screenshots I found online) from the 1964 movie Godzilla vs. The Thing -- later rebranded as Godzilla vs. Mothra or, alternatively, Mothra vs. Godzilla.

That film is tonight's Svengoolie-hosted monster movie on Me-TV, and it seems appropriate for the entry.

Following this entry will be a Jukebox Saturday Night entry.

--Regulus

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Rereading Trump's Inaugural Address, One Year Later
By Jonathan Chait
January 19, 2018
Source here.

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump took the oath of office and delivered an inaugural speech that is remembered mostly for being "dark," as an instant media consensus proclaimed, or "some weird shit," as George W. Bush remarked. The passage of a year's time reveals that the speech was something else, too: impossibly grandiose.

While those who oppose the president have debated whether he is criminally complicit in a foreign adversary’s election tampering, or whether he is mentally deranged, the country has lost sight of the standard of success Trump set for himself, which rests quite a bit higher than non-treasonous and dementia-free. Trump presented himself as a populist revolutionary who would reverse decades of decline. His speech reads now as a comic litany of failure.


Trump made a series of promises, some resting on vague or imaginary premises, none coming close to being fulfilled. "America will start winning again, winning like never before," he declared. "We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams."


It is true that, since the 1970s, working-class wages have stagnated and manufacturing jobs in particular have disappeared. Trump blamed this development partly on nefarious foreigners. "One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind," he thundered. "The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world."


Yet Trump has produced no policy response even remotely proportional to the crisis he promised to solve. There has been no renegotiation of global trade agreements, no strategy to restore American manufacturing to its postwar role. In the meantime, manufacturing employment has continued the slow recovery it has followed since the 2008 crash.


Trump decried "an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential." He has proposed no significant changes to K-12 education and has none on the horizon -- unlike his two immediate predecessors, both of whom enacted sweeping education reforms.


Faced with a true drug epidemic -- the explosion of opioid abuse -- he appointed as "opioid czar" Kellyanne Conway, a former political strategist and talking head on cable news, who has produced no policy response. His office of National Drug Control Policy was being run in part by a 24-year-old former campaign aide.


The elegant simplicities of campaign rhetoric -- or, in Trump's case, the brutal simplicities -- never align with the ugly and complex reality of governing. But Trump's presidency has presented an especially jarring contrast, since the rhetoric has borne no relation whatsoever to what followed. It's not that he overpromised but that his promises were fundamentally a con.


He and his loyalists possessed not the faintest idea how to address the crises he identified, not even a theory that could lead to a detailed response. Trump's program has instead defaulted to the preexisting desires of his party’s ideological and funding base, resulting in a regulatory and tax agenda virtually -- and in some cases literally -- dictated by the business lobby.


For instance: The federal government will no longer withhold subsidies from for-profit colleges that fail to give their students meaningful skills or educations and saddle their graduates with overwhelming debt. Restaurant owners stand to legally take for themselves tips intended for their servers. Financial advisers will be able to knowingly steer their clients toward investments that benefit the adviser's firm but not the client.


Environmental Protection Agency investigators must now obtain permission (from their fanatically anti-regulation administrator's office) before even asking companies to track the pollutants they emit. Nursing homes and banks will be allowed to force their customers to sign mandatory arbitration clauses that leave them unable to sue if they are abused or cheated. And on and on. The party's political messaging has increasingly consisted of ignoring the costs of these measures (higher deficits, lax regulation of risky or antisocial business activity) while highlighting whatever fractional benefits trickle down to the non-business-owning public.


Employment has grown no faster under Trump than it did at the end of his predecessor's term. The economy produced slightly fewer new jobs in Trump’s first year than it did in Barack Obama’s last. The primary evidence of the "success" of Trump's pro-business policies has been to rebrand the essentially continuous conditions of the recovery he inherited as dazzling prosperity rather than bleak misery.


The most telling passage in Trump's address came in his populist attacks on the political class. "Washington flourished -- but the people did not share in its wealth," he said. "Politicians prospered -- but the jobs left and the factories closed. The Establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country."


This cynical view of the possibilities of government as a tool for self-enrichment is at best a simplistic description of the Obama years. At worst, it is a false one, given the absence of scandal during that administration. More than anything, we all now know, it was a psychological projection of Trump's own ambitions.


The complete scope of Trump-era corruption is not yet fully known. (In part, this is because House Republicans have quashed votes to compel the release of his tax returns, which would reveal the president’s income sources.) But one year of Trump's Executive branch has already vastly exceeded the sum total of malfeasance in the previous eight.


Trump has used his office to win business and favors for the Trump Organization worldwide. His coterie has followed suit. His former national-security adviser secretly collected payment from Turkey while advising him during the transition. His son-in-law pursued a lucrative deal with a state-linked Chinese firm while simultaneously serving as an influential adviser.

This is a wonderful picture of Haruo Nakajima -- the Japanese actor who played Godzilla in 12 consecutive Godzilla films -- taking a break during filming of Godzilla vs. Mothra to enjoy some tea.

Mr. Nakajima passed away last August at the age of 88.

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His Treasury secretary, Interior secretary, EPA administrator, and Health and Human Services secretary have all helped themselves to lavish private-plane travel at taxpayer expense. His inaugural committee raised twice as much as Obama's had in 2009 and has refused to disclose what it has done with the lot. Whatever crimes the Russia investigation ultimately exposes, Trump has made perfectly plain his gut-level admiration for Vladimir Putin's oligarchy as a political and economic model.


Trump's electoral success depended on decades of built-up dislike for Hillary Clinton, as well as the demagogic possibilities of presenting himself as an outsider possessed of magical deal-making skills. Today, he faces historically low approval ratings and a wave of revulsion that is putting once-safe Republican districts into play.


None of this is a surprise: He had no chance to survive the absence of Clinton as a foil, or the necessity of following through with his grand boasts. The con was doomed the day Trump won the election.


In this sense, Trump’s brief political career is a culmination of his business methods. There is an old saying that you can shear a sheep many times, but you can skin it only once. Trump proved that, in fact, you can make a livelihood skinning sheep, as long as you keep courting new sheep. He stiffed subcontractors and lenders only to find new ones, ripped off some investors but then successfully courted less-scrupulous ones, and exploited his biggest fans with scams like Trump University and Trump vitamins.


But since winning the presidency, he has nowhere left to go. He is doing the same things he did as a tabloid tycoon -- spraying wild lies, obsessing about his media coverage, threatening to ruin his enemies -- but has run out of sheep. Now what?

*This article appears in the January 22, 2018, issue of New York Magazine.

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Friday, January 19, 2018

A Couple Pics of My Betrothed BIG Y'EYEMAH and Me In Time for Friday Night Trump Shithole Shutdown -OR- Welcome to GOP Junction


So I've been wanting to post some pictures of my dainty beloved betrothed -- BIG Y'EYEMAH, also known by some as the BIG MYE'MAH -- that capture the essence of our union. This entry features two such pictures (but with no storyline).

This particular BIG Y'EYEMAH entry doesn't feature a storyline but just a couple lovely pics of my betrothed and me ...


Here we are -- BIG Y'EYEMAH and yours truly, LOSETURD Q. McNEBBISH -- on our WEDDIN' DAY. With Grace abounding, we had so many dreams that were yet to be realized. And get flushed. Down the shitter.

And here we are about a decade into the marriage (about 15 years ago) ...


This picture features a collage of terms that describe the essence of our union.

This was after our Annabelle-Mae, was born and we were living in Pleasant Vista and Aroma Trailer Homes on the east side of Trump "Believe Me" Village, itself on the south side of New GOP'rusalem City. She had yet to drop out of school, get knocked up, and run off with a biker gang.

Oh, yes, speaking of Trump, the GOP, and shit ...

Haha

If you want to read the depressing spectacle of it all -- what happens when the Greatest Nation In The History of Humanity is governed, ultimately, by oligarchy on top and Fox News-addled rubes in carefully gerrymandered districts on the bottom, here you go.

While I work as a federal contractor -- and thus I am quite susceptible to a shutdown -- the client I support is intending to operate on Monday and for an unspecified number of days during a shutdown (as it did during the last one).

OK, that's all for now. I'm meeting a friend over at the Post Pub. My plan is to go to the gym tomorrow after and then post a pair of entries while watching the usual Me-TV Saturday night line up tomorrow night.

--Regulus

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thursday Afternoon Posting: A Mid-Winter's Day and Nothing in the Dark

The snow-dusted benches that ring the central fountain of Dupont Circle on a cold and gray mid-winter's day, 1:58PM January 17, 2018.

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Just a brief early afternoon update.

I had intended to post an entry last night but it was more important that I make some progress on a work-related task so I did that instead of posting.

I did that while watching the usual late night Me-TV line up ending with a suitably strange episode of Mannix ("The Mouse that Died").

This followed Carol Burnett and Friends, Perry Mason ("The Case of the Jealous Journalist"), The Twilight Zone, and two episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents ("Martha Mason, Movie Star" and "West Warlock Time Capsule").

The Twilight Zone episode was one of my all-time favorites: "Nothing in the Dark." I never tire of seeing it. A very young Robert Redford co-stars in it with the late Dame Gladys Cooper. Synopsis here.

Speaking of the dark, I had stayed late at the office and then opted to walk home at night rather than take the Metro.

It was quite cold but I was bundled up. Temps were around 24F with an intermittent stingingly cold northwesterly breeze. There was a dusting of snow on the ground from the previous night. I walked from L'Enfant Plaza to my apartment via Trade, where I stopped for a single drink.

I took this (very blurry) pic with my flip-open cellphone camera while crossing the National Mall last night:

These are the snow-dusted grounds outside the Smithsonian castle on a cold mid-winter's night, 9:17PM January 17, 2018.

Yes, the picture sucks but you can still get an idea of the mid-winter's night serenity.

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About my job, let me say that I am very happy with it -- the work I do and my coworkers.

As for the weather, it is now beginning to get warmer -- temps reaching about 40F today -- with continued dry, dry, dry weather this mid-winter. The next chance for rain isn't until goddamn next Tuesday. I really hope we don't go into spring in this sort of a drought condition.

Snow totals the other day were as follows:

KDCA: 0.4 inches
KBWI: 1.3 inches
KIAD: 0.3 inches

The KDCA seasonal today is now a whopping 3.1 inches. The pattern this year -- with the storm track shunted into the southern tier of the United States along with Arctic outbreaks has resulted in numerous Southeastern cities to include Atlanta, Charleston, S.C., Jackson, Miss., Norfolk, and Rayleigh having had more snow than D.C.

The usual Great Lakes snow belt cities have also had tremendous amounts of snowfall. 


Seasonal snowfall accumulation map for the eastern United States for the 2017-2018 winter season through January 17th with selected cities' totals shown.

In the case of Raleigh, N.C., it was snowing while this map was made and the figure now is higher.

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For tonight, I had intended to go to the gym, but I have a bit of an odd problem, namely, I'm so broke until pay day tomorrow. It's partially my own fault that I'm so low on money. I mean, I shouldn't earn the salary that I do and have this happen, but it does.

1900 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 1:47PM January 17, 2018.

This picture and the remainder were taken yesterday afternoon as I walked to Dupont Circle to go to the bank before heading into work. I had to take out an amount not in the usual annoying $20 increment so I had to go to the teller.

I also stopped at Panera for lunch -- using the stupid "Dining Out: The Restaurant Choice" restaurant-specific card I won on Saturday night at the after-the-fact holiday party. While that $50 card worked at The Cheesecake Factory on Monday, it did not work yesterday there, so I cancelled the goddamn order.

There is still SUPPOSED to be $5.50 on the card.

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The central fountain at Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., 1:58PM January 17, 2018.

Yes, it is always spelled "Dupont" -- lowercase "P" -- even though the circle is named for Rear Adm. Samuel Francis Du Pont -- capitalized "P" and a space between the "Du" and "Pont."  

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I say "partially" because we live in fucked up reality -- for instance, look at the Trump malevolent insanity married to brutal, cult-like GOP oligarchy -- and that is STRICTLY God's Fault from a Gnostic point of view. More to the point, living in D.C. is just an expensive proposition no matter what you do.

The snow-dusted trunk base of a large tree in the 1600 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 1:53PM January 17, 2018.

This is one of the two large, spreading, very old and gnarled elm trees that grow in front of the ornate Perry Belmont House that houses the "world headquarters" of the General Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, a Freemasonry organization.

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Anyway, I only have $7 to get through today and I have NO FOOD in the apartment -- except one remaining box of Rice-a-Roni -- and that being the case, I don't think it a great idea to do a full, multi-part three-hour gym visit and then come home with virtually no food. That being the case, I might just come home, take a sleeping pill with some hot tea, and go to bed.

Sleeping -- and the alternate dream-world reality I live during it -- is something I quite enjoy (well, usually).

The other side of that same snow-dusted large tree trunk, 1600 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 1:53PM January 17, 2018.

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For tomorrow (Friday night), I'm supposed to meet Andrea and possibly another coworker (Robert) after work. I think we might go to some place in Chinatown to be determined. Saturday is a gym day and stay-in night while Sunday is my free day (walk and lunch and then go to Trade and/or stop at Fred's place). I also intend to post a few entries over the weekend including the usual Saturday night pair.

OK, that's all for now. Time to head into the office.

--Regulus

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The 3AM Hour Entry: A Light Snow Presents


Late night. Well, actually wee hours early: 3AM.

I had intended a complete entry -- but it was a political-themed one and, dare I say, I do get tired at times of always going on about the TrumpWorld/GOP dystopia in which I find myself.

I'm up at this late hour after a semi-productive day at work and a gym visit with a multi-part workout concluding with a swim. I am watching the late night Me-TV line up including -- as I write this -- the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "A Man Greatly Beloved" starring the then-very precocious 8-year old actress Evelyn Rudie.


A young and dapper Robert Culp is in this episode, not to mention the great British character actor Sir Cedric Hardwicke. Ms. Rudie is still alive.

As I mentioned in recent entries, I'm practically out of money until Friday pay day, although I have enough for a quick stop at Trade tomorrow night (a non-gym night). I was able to go grocery shopping and bought some food that I just finished making -- pork chops, steamed broccoli, and Rice-a-Roni.


There is light snow falling outside now -- but not much is expected. There is a winter weather advisory in effect for the Metro D.C. and Baltimore areas but that's more pro forma than anything since it might snow a bit during the morning rush hour.

Warmer weather is forecasted by the weekend but still no change to a needed wet pattern.

NWS LWX radar in standard composite mode looped 2:02 -2:37AM EST January 17, 2018.

This shows bands of light snow developing over the region as the weather system translates eastward. The main jet dynamics are north of the region while an upper level low is passing to the south -- and is expected to bring 3 to 6 inches of snow across parts of central North Carolina. So the usual split here.

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OK, that's all for now.

--Regulus