Friday, February 27, 2015

A Stunning New Zealand Photo; Recapping a Day of Recovery; and Some Noteworthy Quotes

This is a picture that bartender Aaron at No. 9 sent to me -- after I asked him multiple times last night to do so -- that he took earlier this month while on a trek across New Zealand by van with a friend. This picture was taken somewhere in Fiordland National Park on the South Island.

Aaron let me look at his New Zealand trip pics on this phone. I've seen on that phone his pictures from Malaysia, rural Vietnam, Cape Town, remote tropical islands in the Philippines, Jordan's Petra, and Zion in Utah.

I just marvel at his globe-spanning travels.

As for me, I really and truly need to go to New Zealand. My best bet is to go with Gary, and we are talking about doing it in the 2017 or 2018 time frame.

Interestingly, one of Aaron's pictures was along Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, and it was taken on the same kind of cloudlessly sunny summer day as is featured in the Queenstown segment of the South Island run on the treadmill at the gym.

*******

Today was a day spent recovering from last night's excessive drinking. I made it into work quite late, although OPM had a two-hour delay because of wee hours and early morning light snowfall.

About that snow ...

Amazingly, KDCA had 2.2 inches; even more amazingly, that surpassed both the KBWI and KIAD totals of 1.5 inches and 2.1 inches, respectively. Another shocker is that KDCA is only 0.4 inches below its problematic current 30-year "normal" season-to-date at 13.4 inches. KDCA's complete season total for the current 30-year base period (1981 - 2010) is 15.4 inches.

I suspect we are unlikely to get a large enough area-wide snow that would accumulate the necessary 2.0 inches on the KDCA snowboard. That would have to be an area-wide snow event in the 4 to 6 inch range given KDCA's chronic and systematic low numbers.

Both KBWI and KIAD are already above their full seasonal 30-year normal of 20.1 inches and 22.0 inches, respectively, with 21.0 inches and 26.4 inches, respectively, having fallen though Feb. 26th.

Of note, KBOS had another 0.2 inches of snow today, pushing its seasonal total to 102.0 inches or just 5.6 inches shy of the all-time record of 107.6 inches. Unlike in D.C. with its epically snow-lousy National Airport climate station, getting another 5.6 inches officially at the airport is nothing up there. See my previous entry for a discussion of just how phenomenal has been the Boston area's snow total this winter, in particular, the last 30 days.

A sad little snowman in the yard of 1715 P Street NW, Washington, D.C., 8:1PM February 22, 2015.

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Back to me ...

Anyway, I felt so terrible around 2PM that I very nearly went home. However, I plodded through the day, and earlier tonight, I went to the gym for what is the third time since Monday (skipping only last night). I got in my 6 mile / 60 minute jog plus 5 to 6 minute cool-down but the weightlifting was mediocre. On Tuesday, it was reverse -- limited jogging and a quite good, even borderline strenuous weightlifting (which I actually did before the jog). I also again went into the swimming pool for about 15 minutes.

The gym (Anthony Bowen YMCA) was crowded on Monday and packed on Tuesday, less so tonight.

As for the horrible music issue from December into last month, it abruptly went away early this month and mostly it has not been a problem at all (on a number of occasions, there simply has been no music at all) although tonight there was some loud and semi-annoying songs (again, likely due to the same personal trainer). Nevertheless, that garbage "SHREDZ work out mix" of house industrial sound torture appears at least for now to have disappeared.

My next planned gym visit is on Saturday afternoon.

An empty glass of wine and a pink rose at the table at Darlington House, Washington, D.C., 7:49PM February 22, 2015.

Wendy and I had dinner there on Sunday night. The place was pricier than I anticipated (I was thinking of the downstairs bar), but the atmosphere and experience were enough that it was worth going, and I would go again.

*******

Of note, I spent NO MONEY today, and because I counted an extra 4 pennies at the end of the day that I must have missed this morning, I actually had a 4 cent "negative" expenditure -- i.e., a gain. I haven't had a zero money day, notionally, since the trip to New Jersey in January 2013 for my late great aunt Babe's 100th birthday party, and in that case, it was because my crazy dad gave me a bunch of cash at the restaurant in the Atlantic Highlands. (Yes, I accepted it.)

Today, I simply spent no money.

However, and I didn't mention this in my previous entry, I lost a significant amount of money last night (not sure where). I lost anywhere from $60 to $80 in cash. Today, though, I didn't buy lunch but instead brought some food (a cooked, cold pork chop, some cheese, some Campbell's Chunky chicken noodle soup, a banana, and lightly flavored Vintage Seltzer water), and I had enough food at home to skip shopping. As for my Metro fare to and from work (via L'Enfant Plaza and U Street / Cardozo), I just used my SmarTrip card, and there was no need to add money.

OK, I think that's all for now. There are so many links I want to post -- Paul Krugman, and Jonathan Chait, plus others including this awesome Andrew O'Hehir one -- but, again, it'll just have to wait. I really need to get to sleep now.

I do have to quote this line from Chait's funny piece on Lawrence Kudlow: "The interesting thing about Kudlow’s continuing influence over conservative thought is that he has elevated flamboyant wrongness to a kind of performance art."

Ha ha

Oh, yes, while I'm quoting things, let me just post the following that I overheard while walking home tonight from the gym:

Young grungy Millennial couple walking past W Street at the New Hampshire Ave. to Florida Ave. transition point:

Guy: "You really wanted to start a fight just because I called you a BITCH??"

Girl: "YES!"

Guy throws his arms up in disbelief.

Ha ha

My next update likely will not be until Saturday.

--Regulus

Thursday, February 26, 2015

This Thursday Morning and a Statistical Analysis of Boston's Phenomenal 30-Day Snow Total

The tower of the Fort Reno Pumping Station atop Fort Reno Park, Washington, D.C., Feb. 22, 2015.

This picture was taken by Erin Kelly and posted in this CWG entry. I wrote about Fort Reno including the adjacent "secret" PEF atop it in this entry.

*******

Sorry for the lack of an update last night or more regular entries. I was quite busy yesterday helping out at an all-day conference at the agency, and then went out to No. 9, where I stayed much too long and now I'm suffering this morning. Actually, I also have a sore throat that might be a harbinger of a cold. As it is, there is a 2 hour delay for the Federal Gov't owing to a light snowfall of 1 to 2 inches in the D.C. area, more to the south.

As for snow and speaking of CWG, here is a fascinating entry about just how statistically rare is the phenomenal amount of snow that the Boston area has endured this winter, the bulk of which fell in a six to seven week period. It focuses on the likelihood of 94.4 inches of snow in a 30-day period.

Univ. of Oklahoma meteorologist Sam Lillo concludes that it is a once-in-a-26,315 year event.

Statistical probability analysis of Boston snow totals for a 30-day period.

This is a distribution of a maximum 30-day snowfall for 1 million resampled winters at Boston Logan Airport (KBOS). The number of winters is on the vertical axis and the snow total is on the horizontal axis.

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To be clear, there has been a warm water anomaly off New England that is probably enhancing Boston's winter snowfall, so it is not a statistically random event.

A woman shovels snow on Joy Street in Boston during a blizzard on Feb. 15, 2015.

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For the winter season through yesterday, Logan Int'l Airport (KBOS) is at 101.8 inches -- nearing the 107.6 inch record set in the winter of 1995-96.

Chart snowing Boston's snowiest winters and how quickly the snow fell. It compares the current winter -- through February 23, 2015 -- with the all-time snowiest.

Two points: Boston is now at 101.8 inches and the all-time snowiest should be shown as 107.6 inches. Oh, this, this picture appeared in this CWG entry.

*******

OK, that's all for now. I'll try to update the blog tonight.

--Regulus

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Researchers Prove Evolutionary Link Between Hippos and Cetaceans; MWT Emails Thank You Note to Ancestry.Com

One of the hippos at the San Diego Zoo, Jan. 13, 2015. Photo my Mark Ralston.

*******

Here is a very interesting article from AFP by way of Yahoo News (link embedded): Who's your daddy? Hippo ancestry unveiled.

It discusses the findings of researchers in France and Ethiopia led by including Fabrice Lihoreau, a palaeontologist at France's Université Montpellier 2, that the hippopotamus is related to anthracotheres, an extinct group of plant-eating, semi-aquatic mammals with even-toed hooves from which modern-day cetaceans such as whales, dolphins, and porpoises also descend.


In this way, the study conclusively proves the suspected evolutionary link between hippos and these cetaceans (except in the American South, where God and Jesus made all four at that Kentucky Creationist theme park).

The researchers studied the fossil remains of a a 28-million-year-old animal discovered in Kenya has provided an important piece of the puzzle. The species is named Epirigenys lokonensis meaning "hippo" in the Turkana language and "Lokone" after the discovery site in Kenya.

Uh, oh ... This bad-ass hippo means bid'ness.

******

The creature weighed about 110 kilograms (220 pounds). Dental analysis showed that E. lokonensis and the modern day sub-Saharan common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) both came from an anthracothere that migrated by swimming from Asia to Africa about 35 million years go.


The findings are being published in the journal Nature Communications. Here is the actual article (or at least the abstract): Hippos stem from the longest sequence of terrestrial cetartiodactyl evolution in Africa.

Citation: Nature Communications 6, Article number 6264, published Feb. 24, 2015.

To be clear, the lead picture in the Yahoo News version and reposted as the lead image to this entry is of a hippo from the San Diego Zoo -- either Funani or Otis, or their love child, Adhama. I suspect it is "Mama" Funani.

More importantly, do you know what these findings mean?

It means that You-Know-Who "MWT", is actually an exotic mocha blend of Afro-Saxon with a soupçon of Far East Asian!

This customer clearly failed to tip the D.C. gay bar customary 500%.

*******

These findings nix my long-running believe that his Virginia ancestry stretched back to American Colonial-era English and "Black Irish" with some very distant relationship to this guy.

As Mr. Spock would say, "Fascinating."

Now about that Ancestry.com subscription ...

--Regulus

Monday, February 23, 2015

Toward a Gnostic Theology and Existential Teleology of Metrorail Fare Machines and Their Constant Failures -OR- The Moral Value of $36

Updated 8:26AM 2/24/2015: See bottom of entry.


All the pictures in this entry were taken from this Yahoo News picture gallery of images of the long-since-abandoned Forest Haven mental asylum for children located somewhere in Laurel, Md. All were taken at an unspecified date by Darryl Moran of Caters News Agency.

It reminds me a bit of what Chester and I saw at the old Henryton State Hospital sanitarium in the Patapsco State Park (not far from there) that I posted in this nearly three-year old entry. Of note, the ruins have been razed and that site is to be reincorporated into the park. As for me, I'm 45 pounds lighter than when I did that trip and in far better physical shape.

*******

This Monday was a good day at work and would have been a good one all around -- even with the frickin' very cold, gusty, sunny, totally dry day that made for the kind of late winter day I find depressing* -- except I had the goddamn fare machine at Elephant L'Enfant Plaza once again crash on me at the precise moment I am putting approximately $40 (in this case, $36) on my SmarTrip card.


*Re. the weather, the highs occurred shortly after midnight with 41F at KDCA and 38F at both KBWI and KIAD but during the day, temperatures fell through the 30s and into the 20s Fahrenheit by nighttime. All in all, too frickin' cold and I'm over winter. Even the snow was annoying, and not just because of the incredibly low KDCA official number that turned the whole thing into a farce. Oh, and BTW, Boston Logan is at 99.9 inches of snow for the season.


As for the fare machine transaction, I only do it once every two weeks or so, and this is the second goddamn time this had happened. The worthless machine was "processing" the transaction, then it approved it, the money came out of the checking account courtesy my debit card, and then -- CRASH.

The foul machine crashes and goes dark and the whole transaction is voided.

Except, of course, the $36 is gone from my checking account.


After checking that my checking account had in fact been debited twice, I called the frickin' SmarTrip card number (888-SMARTRIP or, for the uninitiated, 888-762-7874).

The last time this happened, I was able to get the charge reversed immediately. This time, the upbeat, vaguely Hispanic sounding young man to whom I was speaking happily told me that nothing can be rescinded until the charge actually "posts" to the account -- which can take, like, years. Well, days.

So goddamn annoying.


Now, I realize Wall-P wouldn't even notice $36. That robot only deals in a minimum of two (and usually more) $20 increments, so anything under $40 doesn't even register in those binary circuits.


At both the exact moment this stupid machine crapped out and subsequently, including tonight a the gym, I lamented not having the Unctuousness Amongst Us to mewl and sigh about how wonderful and wondrous is the Universe and how Awesome is God.


The alleged Awesomeness to which this specifically refers to that brutal and savage mainline "Judeo-Christian God" Who variously takes the form of a silly Catholic operatic character, a High Protestant bunch of nothingness, or, worst of all, the American Low Protestant side show character Who shops -- and saves -- at Walmart in between all that ignorant bellowing about how Great is Freedom and America (or at least the Right Red portions of it).


Also, how sweet it would have been to be told by the same mewling Unctuous Class of persons why losing $36 -- or for that matter, having anything go wrong in any time, place, or manner -- is really a "blessing," in particular, one that is "in disguise."


You see, everything -- and I do mean EVERYTHING -- in this view is actually just such "blessing" -- presumably up to and including landing in a Nazi gas chamber or a Khmer Rouge "Year Zero" killing field.

Oh, and of course, any and all diseases, disfigurements, and maladies that end fatally. It's all one, big "BLESSING" by the Judeo Christian God, whether Old World dark and creepy or American "can-do" upbeat including Wall Street Journal bottom-line, contract law-is-sacrosanct, always-and-only "up-by-your-bootstraps" libertarian-minded.


Of course, the opposite "theology" is the Wall-P sort: Narcissistic, zero-dimensional, unthinking and unserious, ultimately buffoonish atheism that worships only money and power and takes Washington Consensus / Beltway conventional wisdom for a sort of Received Wisdom of the Ages.


As for me, all of this just informs and reinforces my general Gnosticism (perhaps mixed with a bit of Christian existentialism). Everything that is wrong in the Universe is NECESSARILY and OF COURSE God's Fault, as in God Demiurge.

God Monad is, of course, simply Unknowable and therefore kind of useless, at least in this life.


Suffice it to say, I was quite annoyed. Right now, I just want to get back the $36.

UPDATED 8:26AM 2/24/2015: The extra $36.00 charge was reversed by this morning.

End of Update and of entry.

--Regulus

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Note to My New Zealand Reader -OR- On Time and Tide

Rakaia George on the Rakaia River, Canterbury Region, South Island, New Zealand.

*******

Dear Judith,

Thank you so much for stopping by and posting a thoughtful and interesting comment in this entry. I would like to repost part of it:

I "met" you first via some great photos of Meridian Hill Park (which was a daily excursion for me in my pre-school years) you posted a while ago. I was setting up one of my Pinterest boards and wanted a good shot of the steps and fountain and Google led me to your's. I was born in Washington and lived there the first 13 years of my life - in the area of Columbia Road between 16th and 18th streets - and wherever the trolleys and busses took me from there :-)

Time and tide have carried me far from DC, so I am now living and working online from a seaside community in New Zealand -- literally, the other side of the world.

*******

Oparara Arch and the Oparara River, West Coast Region, South Island, New Zealand.

*******

First, I posted the entry about the Greek / German euro tragedy simply as a summary of Paul Krugman's writings on the subject that I thought were important to note.

Secondly, I think you are referring to this entry. I posted a subsequent entry about Meridian Hill Park roughly six months later here, and it included a picture of the refurbished Joan of Arc equestrian statue.

Mount Taranaki (also Mount Egmont), Taranaki region, North Island, New Zealand.

*******

I actually submitted the picture to Wikipedia for consideration, and months later, it was posted on the page for Meridian Hill Park. Amazingly, that picture is still there. The main photo page is here. I sent it with a request that I note be credited.

Snowy day view of Meridian Hill Park, Washington, D.C., 3:05PM February 21, 2015.

*******

Thirdly, above is another picture I took of Meridian Hill Park, or rather, the southeastern edge of Meridian Hill Park as seen from New Hampshire Avenue at 15th Street NW in yesterday's snow. My apologies for the low-quality image. I took the image with my flip-open cellphone.

*******

Lake MacKenzie, Fiordland National Park, South Island, New Zealand.

*******

Fourth, I really appreciate your comment because I don't get many actual comments, and I've long since shut down the open comment option (so that all comments have to be approved) since so many of them are commercial spam (if I can paraphrase Paul Krugman once again, a robot selling Viagra), phishing attempts, or just some weird and sad combo from some actual human poster in Nigeria, Pakistan, or wherever who, I suspect, earns a penny for each time some link is accessed).

Earlier in my blogging period (2006 - 2008, in particular on my old Arcturus blog, I had a number of blogger buddies, including one fascinating lady from Sydney, Australia, as well one from my home state of New Jersey who passed away, but that all ended.

Auckland, New Zealand skyline

*******

I would love to hear how "time and tide" so carried you so far from Washington, D.C., and to a place where I would absolutely love to visit and where, I suspect, I would strongly like to live. My thrice-weekly 60 minute treadmill routines at the YMCA are made less boring only by the fact that I typically do one of three New Zealand course runs.

Finally, per your comment, I do not have any social media accounts -- no Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or whatnot -- just this blog. However, if you like, you can reach me by e-mail at richard_todaro@yahoo.com.

All the best and kind regards from the other side of Planet Earth!

--Regulus

P.S. For those interested, Judith's Facebook page is here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snowy Saturday in Washington, D.C.: Summary Overview; Excerpt of Boston's "Winter from Hell" - UPDATED With Significant New Content

Snowy steps of the corner house at 15th and W Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 3:05PM February 21, 2015.

*******

Rather than posting a new entry on what is essentially the same topic, I am updating this existing one with significant new content including pictures, some of which I took while walking to and from the gym. This update is posted at 9:20PM the same day (Feb. 21st).

Today's snowstorm -- and that's really what it was in parts of the region even if frickin' the frickin' National Airport climate station (KDCA) came in with the usual underwhelming amounts -- is winding down now as a period sleet and light freezing rain.

Sterling (LWX) NWS weather advisories as of 6:15PM EST February 21, 2015.

*******

The winter weather advisory for the District of Columbia that I mentioned in the original entry was finally upgraded to a winter storm warning around 5:30PM. It was also likewise upgraded in Prince George's and Anne Arundel Counties.

I guess there was a chance of shift among the Sterling meteorologists. Some of them would refuse to upgrade the weather advisory on the basis of some weird appeal to a notion of "continuity" (and maybe even "legacy") along with a pointillistic approach that views the 2.6 inches of snow that fell at KDCA through 5PM EST as "proof positive" that a winter weather advisory was the appropriate advisory even if so much more snow fell in so many places.

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced base reflectivity mode, 6:12PM EST February 21, 2015.

Those bright yellow, orange, and even red returns are sleet pellets, which is to say, little balls of ice.

*******

The composite radar for the northeastern quadrant of the Lower 48 U.S., 2358UTC (6:58PM EST) February 21, 2015.

*******

About that latter point, there were widespread reports of 8 to 12 inches in the outer northern and western suburbs into Loudoun and Fairfax Counties, Va., and Frederick County, Md., and easily 4 to 6 inches across much of the Metro D.C. area -- and conditions certainly met the criteria of a winter storm warning. Naturally, KDCA had among the lowest amounts inside the Beltway.

A figure carrying groceries walking along the snowy sidewalk of the 1400 block of W Street NW, Washington, D.C., at dusk, 5:53PM February 21, 2015.

*******

As for the weather advisories and what to issue and when, this raises another issue: Sometimes the LWX meteorologists -- whose "county warning (forecast) area" is quite extensive and varied -- spend so much time fretting about the air temperature or post-frontal upslope snow shower accumulations for the Allegheny Front ridge tops where, like, 10 people live, that they forget they have 9.3 million people in the combined Baltimore / Washington metropolitan area (whatever you want to it in whatever order of names).

It matters not that most of those 9.3 million people haven't a clue whence comes their daily, not-for-profit / not-for-infotainment purposes weather forecast and weather warnings. That's immaterial.

The snowy corner of 15th and W Streets at New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 5:56PM February 21, 2015.

Actually, it was already sleeting at this point. Also, the building across the street in this image is the Wakefield Hall.

*******

Updated 9:55AM 2/22/2015: The daily and storm snow totals at the three regional airport climate stations were:

KIAD: 8.9 inches (Daily Record)
KBWI: 6.3 inches
KDCA: 2.6 inches

*******

OK, a few non-snowy items ...

Yours truly in the elevator of my building late at night, 11:16PM February 19, 2015. I wasn't really that depressed, just tired.

*******

So I got in an almost complete gym workout today. Only the weightlifting was somewhat shortened (45 minutes instead of an hour) because the gym closed an hour early and I wanted to get into the swimming pool for a bit. I got in the regular 6.6 miles / 66-minutes on the treadmill.

I also wanted to mention that last night, Gary and I went to Trio for dinner. We sat at the small bar in the restaurant. The interior lighting had been changed to be much more subdued from the weird orange light that reminded me of a terrarium nightlight. I am also now fully used to the redesign. Remember that until a year ago, it looked like something out of the early 1980s, and I kind of liked it.

Trio restaurant interior, Washington, D.C., 9:41PM February 20, 2015.

*******

Trio and Fox & Hound are actually the same establishment, although the two had different entrances (though the staff can get to both through the kitchen). Jamie was actually next door at Fox & Hound and we stopped there for a bit. Thereafter, we went to Larry's Lounge and then returned to go to Dupont Italian Kitchen upstairs bar, where it was the usually karaoke shriek-fest.

As for tomorrow, the Annapolis plans are off, and I'm kind of relieved, except I'm not sure what to do. The only issue for me is that I need to avoid the Shitscars, I mean, Oscars tomorrow night. It is the last of the three frickin' all-devouring, all-smothering meta-events of the American corporate commercial entertainment complex that are bunched up this time of year, the others being the Shitter-Bowl and Grammys.

 The Oscars, or rather, Academy Awards event, is when the good and the great M. WADE Tipamillyun achieves his moral and cultural apotheosis for the year. For him, its Christmas, New Years, his birthday, gay boys night out, a Tysons shopping excursion with a platinum American Express card, and a NEW CAR! all rolled into one big, hyper-annoying ball of narcissistic Hollywood pop cultural Americana effluvia and excreta.

"LIKE, OH MY GAWHD! LIKE, WHATEVAH!"

*******

From the 2:14PM posted entry ...

View from my apartment overlooking the 2000 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 1:27PM February 21, 2015.

*******

It is snowing at a good clip right now even here in the District this afternoon with at least an inch of accumulation, maybe a bit more (as I estimate just looking out of my 5th floor apartment window).  There is also an occasional gusty (southerly) breeze causing the snow to whip around.

The NWS still only has D.C. and points south and east under a winter weather advisory while a winter storm warning is in effect for points north and west as well as for Baltimore. The snow is supposed to change to a wintry mix by this evening and then to rain by tomorrow morning before ending. As of 1PM, it is 23F at KDCA with a dew point of 17F. KBWI is at 21F (air) / 17F (dew point) while KIAD is 18F (air) / 14F (dew point).

Sterling (LWX) NWS weather advisories as of 1:26PM EST February 21, 2015.

*******

The radar is impressive. The colors in it indicate that sleet must be mixing in already. It can't snow that heavily.

The LWX NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity at 1:20PM EST February 21, 2015.

The composite mode shows even more yellows, indicative of bright reflective returns within the clouds -- which is to say, sleet.

*******

This snow is coming at an inconvenient time as I really want to go to the gym this afternoon and then do my laundry this evening. I'm concerning the gym might close early, though. In addition, I have people texting me including Gary about meeting up. As for tomorrow, somehow I have plans to go to Annapolis early afternoon with Quill and then dinner with Wendy in the evening. I'm not sure both plans will happen.

The NWS general forecasted surface map for Feb. 21, 2015.

By contrast, here is the surface high-resolution map for the affected part of the country:

NWS surface analysis at 15Z (10AM EST) February 15, 2015 for a portion of the Lower 48 U.S.

There just aren't that many surface features to show. Yet here is the composite radar mosaic for the same swath of the country:

1838UTC (1:38PM EST) February 21, 2015 composite radar mosaic for a portion of the Lower 48 U.S.

*******

Anyway, here is the Capital Weather Gang blog entry (link embedded): Snow covering roads, moderate to sometimes heavy through afternoon (UPDATES).

Before I sign off, here is a New York Times op-ed piece by E.J. Graff on just how socially and economically terrible have been the consequences for the Boston metro area because of the phenomenal amounts of snow that have fallen this winter (link embedded): Boston's Winter From Hell.

A lone figure walks on the snow-blitzed Massachusetts Avenue Bridge in Boston in a recent blizzard.

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Excerpt:

"You may have seen the funny images as well: the man snowboarding down an all-but-empty major boulevard, pulled by his friend's snowmobile; drunk men diving out of second-floor windows into six-foot snowbanks; windows that merely frame a wall of snow.

But for those of us living here, it’s not a pretty picture. We are being devastated by a slow-motion natural disaster of historic proportions. The disaster is eerily quiet. There are no floating bodies or vistas of destroyed homes. But there’s no denying that this is a catastrophe.

In just three weeks, between Jan. 27 and Feb. 15, we have had four epic blizzards -- seven feet of precipitation over three weeks -- which crushed roofs, burst gutters, destroyed roads and sidewalks, closed schools and businesses, shut down highways, crippled public transit and trapped people in their homes. The infamous Blizzard of 1978 brought around 27 inches of snow and shut down the region for a week. In less than a month, we've seen more than three times as much snow. The temperature has hovered between 5 and 25 degrees, so the snow and ice haven’t melted."

It's ugly. Thankfully, March is quickly approaching and it just starts to get increasingly difficult climatologically to snow, although Boston isn't out of the woods until at least April.

For the record, through yesterday Logan Int'l Airport (KBOS) is at 98.7 inches for the season, of which all but 2.6 inches has fallen since December 1st and the overwhelming bulk of that since January 1st and fully feet of it (61.5 inches) just since Feb. 1st. KBOS is  now within easy striking distance of the 1995-1996 all-time record of 107.6 inches.


OK, let me get my day started, to the extent that I can. I do intend to post a jukebox Saturday night entry.

Updated -- Actually, I've decided to skip the jukebox Saturday night entry for this week.

--Regulus

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Winter Cold Line on the Maryland Old Line and What's in a Shenandoah Name?


A brief Friday night entry .

I'm meeting Gary at Trio for dinner in a little while and then I'll probably go to No. 9. Tomorrow, I plan to go to the gym. The weather is supposed to feature snow, sleet, and then freezing rain before turning to all rain as warmer air moves into the region (the low pressure system is moving up the Appalachians). There is a winter weather advisory in place and a winter storm warning well west of D.C. and Baltimore.

It is still quite cold but I must be getting used to it because this evening's wind-less (calm) 17F doesn't feel that frigid. Last night, it got down to 5F at KDCA, which was still a (rare) daily record low, surpassing a really old pre-airport D.C. record of 8F set in 1896.

KBWI got to 1F, a new daily record low, while KIAD managed to touch the 0F mark (though the daily record low was -2F set in 1979). Also, these lows were not that much greater (lower) than KDCA compared to differences that can happen on really cold nights.

Charlottesville also got to 0F but neither Martinsburg nor Hagerstown did (3F and 1F, respectively). The Maryland Science Center (KDMH) bottomed out at 3F.

We actually had a dusting of snow last night as a narrow snow band moved right over the District of Columbia. I was with Andrea at Tsunami on 14th Street and it was snowing as we left. I headed to No. 9 and then met Jamie briefly at Fox & Hound, where Gary joined us. He left almost immediately and I followed him, catching a ride home even though it's a short walk. On a night like that, the ride was very welcome.

Speaking of cold ...

The nearly frozen American Falls portion of Niagara Falls in a picture taken Feb. 17, 2015 by photographer Lindsay DeDario and picked up by Reuters.

*******

Before I sign off, I just want to note that (whilst at repose ...) I was looking at my 2004 Michelin Road Atlas and noted that there are three little towns on the Maryland - Pennsylvania border with "line" in their name: Maryland Line, Lineboro, and State Line.

 
Given that it is the Mason-Dixon Line with all that this stands for, I suppose that isn't surprising. However, Maryland is also called the Old Line state, and for a different reason. I can't find any info on State Line, Maryland. As for the name Maryland Line, it has a few meanings including that of the unincorporated community.

The tiny place names in West Virginia are interesting and sometimes outright poetic: Rough Run, Kirby, Gormania, Lost River, Mt. Storm, and Forks of Cacapon.


Of course, "Shenandoah" remains my favorite name. There are many ideas of what that name means including the most popular (and probably unlikely), "(Beautiful) Daughter of the Stars." Above is an aerial picture of the Shenandoah River.

OK, that's all for now. I intend to have a jukebox Saturday night entry tomorrow.

--Regulus