A picture I got off the internet of sunset last New Years Eve, Dec. 31, 2007, from Key West, Fla.
Actually, 2008 wasn't nearly as bad a year for me as 2004 or 2007. That means I'm doomed in 2009, the year I turn 40. Boo. And related to the top picture -- why it just might be appropriate for me -- if everything goes really badly, I could end up in Key West by next New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, 2009, as I've before related.
As it is, 2008 is ending with a bit of a dramatic weather flare this morning here in the Washington, D.C. and suburban Maryland as a powerful cold front blasts across the area.
Turbulent skies over Bethesda, Md., this VERY windy, blustery, bracing day, Dec. 31, 2008, as seen from the building where I work along East-West Highway.
More about the weather shortly, but first, concerning the arrival of 2009 ...
The above picture and the two that follow were from the as-always stunning fireworks display off the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia for New Year's Eve 2009. I got these pictures from a series of images from the online Sydney Morning Herald, link here.
This is very near where my dear blogger friend Fifi lives. It's next year where she is now!
How come Sydney and other places in the world always put on such great shows while D.C. manages to do nothing of the sort??
I won't even mention the travesty that was the New Year's Eve 2000 "millennial" celebration in D.C., when -- speaking of small pee-pee's -- the fireworks launched from the then-scaffolding encased Washington Monument went "pop ... pop ... pop ... "
And that's what rang in the 3rd Millennium in the Capital of the Empire.
As for 2008, I'm not going to do any general retrospective. We all know what happened.
But it is worth stating that the GOP era in many ways ended with the final Bush economic and financial catastrophe that marked an appropriate and predictable coda on Dear Leader's Reign of T/Error.
Now I've no doubt that the Repug minority will continue to make mischief and block needed progressive reforms in 2009 and beyond under Pres. Obama. Think Mitch McConnell and James Inhofe in the Senate and that loathsome crook Boehner in the House as they try to stop any macro-economic Keynesian stimulus ...
... including needed infrastructure repair and improvement, not to mention major changes in our energy and transportation sectors to make them far more "green" and less dirty fossil fuel dependent.
About that GOP power, is it me or do the Repugs have an endless and infinite capacity, no matter how small their numbers, to block EVERYTHING while Dems NEVER have a corresponding power to slap them down and push through desperately needed changes?
When/where can we draw up the papers to let the South, Texas, and the near-empty Great Plains states FINALLY leave the Union?? It can be an amicable split.
I'm not sure if the U.S. stock market will rally a few percentage points today, thus trimming slightly the year's huge losses -- and allowing parts of the American religio - booboisie and mainstream whoremedia to "credit Bush" with this "powerful gain" so that they can both affirm, "Bush really wasn't so bad after all ..."
Still, it was a staggering year of losses as bubble after bubble imploded and corporate Ponzi scheme after corporate Ponzi scheme collapsed.
(Updated after 12/31 close): The S&P 500 ends down 39.5 percent or the biggest percent fall since 1937 and the Dow Industrials down 33.8 percent, the steepest decline since 1931.
Something called the World Federation of Exchanges of 55 stock exchanges* around the world estimates a loss of $30 trillion through late November, representing a loss of 50 percent from the $61 trillion value in Dec. 2007. The source for this is here -- see second to last bullet point in letter on p.7.
*That's how many are listed in this report (p. 2). NASDAQ and Chicago Board Options Exchange are included but not the NYSE directly, only NYSE Euronext, although NYSE Euronext apparently includes NYSE. I'm not really sure.
Here is a news article about it. This article lists 53 developed and emerging economies rather than by number of stock exchanges. In the US, the loss in market value is put at $7 trillion.
As it is, world capital markets were far, far too inflated with all these worthless financial instruments that were, again, little more than exotic Ponzi schemes -- and the billionaire bandits who ran them all did just fine, thank you, and are still living in the style to which they are fully accustomed.
These schemes were ALL designed to move still MORE money to the top and help the corporate thugs who run the world, which, by the way, is where Bush and his gang enter the picture.
Anyway, back to today's weather in Washington, D.C., suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia ...
As I said above, a powerful cold front has blasted across the region with winds in excess of 50MPH, short-lived, fast moving rain and snow squalls, and turbulent skies with rapidly moving clouds, not to mention sharply colder temps. that ended the recent warm spell.
Above: another blurry image from my cellphone camera trying to capture an image of an approaching snow squall that more ore less marked the actual cold frontal passage. This is the view from my 11th floor office looking to the southwest toward the western edge of D.C. and (on the horizon) Arlington.
The power flashed a few times earlier in the gusty winds.
Here is the surface weather map for the mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions of the eastern U.S. for 12Z (7AM EST) today, Dec. 31, 2008.
There is a low over north central Pennsylvania and a complex frontal system that includes an occlusion and a triple point near Winchester, Va., as well as another low over southern New Jersey with the main cold front extending across the Blue Ridge toward the southwest into western North Carolina.
Below was the NE CONUS composite radar image at 1528UTC (1028AM EST) 31 Dec. 2008 when the 5-minute snow squall was blowing across the area. It looked impressive from 11 stories up but my cellphone camera couldn't get a good picture.
Here you can see the snow squalls across Pennsylvania and New York State wrapping around the low. One small band probably associated with the front itself was moving through parts of the District of Columbia and the northern D.C. suburbs itself, as noted by the arrow on the map.
The forecast calls for a cold and blustery night with lows between 20F and 25F for area New Year's Eve revelers. Beyond that, the cold air will again be "wasted" with no snow forthcoming -- and it warming up, as ever, in time for the next system so that it will be mostly, if not entirely, rain here.
As shown above in a screen capture image of the Sterling (Baltimore / Washington) National Weather Service Office's Web site graphical display of the morning advisories in its county warning area (CFA), you can see there is an actual storm warning on the upper Chesapeake Bay.
A storm warning is a notch above gale warnings when winds of 55 to 73MPH are expected and not associated with a tropical cyclone.
I don't recall seeing storm warnings on the upper bay except in tropical storm situations, and in that case the NWS posts a more broadly defined tropical storm warning on the upper bay a hurricane warning on the lower bay.
Wait, she's not the weather lady, is she??
The CFA display map above also shows there is a high wind warning in effect for the Baltimore area (that's winds of 40+MPH for an hour or more or winds of 58+ MPH for any duration). The immediate D.C. area is under a wind advisory.
As for the Chesapeake Bay itself, there is rarely any "weather" on it. Usually, the Chesapeake Bay just sits there and quietly fester in its own pollution thanks to all the crap that pours into it unchecked.
I'm actually surprised the bay -- with its lack of ANY wave action, its turgid waters overloaded with runoff and agricultural nutrients, its mucky bottom, its long and slow ecological decline with diseased rockfish and crashing blue crab populations -- doesn't just die outright, or maybe even catch on fire around the Baltimore area.
The 25 years of blather about saving the bay stretching back (as I personally recall) to 1984 has all been pure bullshit. Nothing has changed, and in even gotten worse.
I'm from the Jersey Atlantic seashore, and to me the heavily polluted, vapid, ecologically slowly collapsing Chesapeake Bay is a sad excuse for a body of water, even if it did ultimately form for a spectacular reason long ago, and as a drowned river valley of the Susquehanna River is today the largest estuary in the United States.
If the Delmarva did not exist, Maryland would have a proper seashore and D.C. would be nearer to the ocean.
Returning to New Year's Eve, I really don't have any set plans. I thought that Chris T. and David were having people over tonight to their place and then I'd go with Gary to Cobalt, but it's uncertain.
Speaking of Cobalt, this past Sunday there was the usual
Unfortunately, Gary and I were joking around and now I have this parody version, "You give me dengue fever ... dengue fever all through the night..."
Maybe that will be my parody version for you know who.
Speaking of dengue fever, while I'm pretty sure I don't have it, I must say that I have NOT been feeling well lately. I've been extremely fatigued and worn out with a headache. I hope nothing is amiss with my health. I will soon -- in proud American style -- be losing my health insurance because my regular job ends on Friday.
However, this is something that I wanted ahead of next semester, and if it goes as I hope (and so far, it seems to be on track), I will be working part time on a project basis as a contractor with far more flexibility. I can work from home or campus and not sit for 40 to 45 hours a week under these headache inducing fluorescent lights in my cubicle "station" area.
Oh, yes, I'm posting this entry from work, but my boss is out again today and I'm mostly caught up with stuff with one exception. In case you're wondering, computer activity is simply not monitored at this office, which is unusual in the paranoid, money-obsessed, surveillance-crazed work world of America these days.
Well, time for lunch. The firm bought lunch today. It's Chinese -- but it's light, none of that drowning heavy sauce that lingers around for days.
Anyway, Happy New Year 2009 to my, like, three readers!
Bonne et heureuse année 2009!