Saturday, June 28, 2008

La Da Dee, La Da Da (D.C.'s My Home)


A wilting yellow chrysanthemum, Jean's Donuts and Deli, Bethesda, Md., lunch time, June 25,2008.

I had lunch in the Elm Street Park located right outside the deli with J/X. That park, by the way, is technically in Chevy Chase, Md., as the boundary is formed by 47th St. and the Georgetown Branch Trail. (J/X works near where I do.)

My week was exhausting because I'm just not getting enough sleep. I need 8 hours of sleep and 6 hours just doesn't cut it. Any going out as in a Cobalt "happy hour" that extends to about 1030PM ends up leaving me wiped out.

Here is yours truly, Regulus, in a pew at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Bethesda, Md., Fri., June 27, 2008. It is very peaceful in there at lunchtime around 1PM (after the noon mass).

Yes, this is the same "OLOL" with the private, lockable bathroom I wrote about a few weeks ago.

I continue to plan to return to school and work 4 days a week at my job starting in early Sept. for a variety of reasons, including a perverse financial incentive one. I'm not sure if my boss will go along with it.

The main altar of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Bethesda, Md., June 26,2008 (Thursday).

The forward view as seen from the rear of the sanctuary.

The literature in the foyer is often times as goofy - nutty Catholic as you'd imagine. The "sex education" pamphlet is, oh, never mind. And the fixation on abortion is total and all-consuming. And did you know we're at the start of a jubilee year dedicated to St. Paul that began TODAY??

Yet I go there because I feel some sort of peacefulness and weird connection. I dunno.

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Before going on to talk about a weather update, which I should probably should post on my Arcturus blog, except no one really reads that one anymore.

The photo below -- looking south across Chevy Chase into D.C.'s Friendship Heights area, as seen from the top floor of the building in the office where I work -- shows the leading edge of a thunderstorm heading to the south southeast (away from the photo).

The leading edge is a "shelf cloud" and is one of two variations of an "arcus" cloud, the other being a "roll cloud," neither of which should be confused with a "wall cloud." There was a cluster of thunderstorm moving over Bethesda/Chevy Chase, Md., yesterday (Friday) around 6PM, June 27, 2008.

Another view of the shelf cloud, which marks the leading edge of the t-storm.

As for the view, when sufficiently clear, it is possible to see the 8 mile distant Washington Monument poking up above the tree line of residential Chevy Chase, and about 4 miles away, to the SSE, is the Hughes Memorial "Eiffel" Tower in the Brightwood section of D.C., a.k.a. the Mr. Sirius Tower.

The main deluge occurred just east of here over Silver Spring in a wet microburst.

This picture is not that good but it captures the general idea. The view to the east was obscured by a gray "wall" of rain water. The downward momentum from all those millions of gallons of falling rain water creates an outward air flow that hits the ground and fans out, in yesterday's case, in the form of gusty winds from the east northeast.

It was quite fascinating really as seen from such a God's Eye view.

In the end, DCA only got 0.09" of rain yesterday, IAD received nothing, while BWI received a 0.85" drenching. This image of a puffy cumulus congestus cloud was taken by me on Thursday around 630PM in Bethesda, Md.

We continue to have a relatively wet summer and are above normal on precip., esp. at DCA, and way above last year's drought - plagued agony.

The rain is good for many reasons ... the water supply, the trees and vegetation, cleaning the air, and in D.C. proper, getting rid of that f**king nasty smell that comes up from the sewers and hangs in the air on oppressively humid and thick nights like Thursday night (air temp. 83F, dew point 75F at 11PM). I HATE that, and that's ALL it was last summer.

How people can love those kinds of oppressive night beyond me -- that is, the mind set that loves heat and drought. F**k that. And please spare me the crap about the goodness of "dry heat" being preferable. That sucks too. Indeed, I couldn't live in D.C. in my dusty, teeny efficiency without my window a/c.

There was a brief deluge over parts of the District proper around 230PM today, but DCA officially got zilch. Boo. As soon as it ended, the Sun came out and it was all steamy and the natural world lush green.

**There is a thunderstorm crossing over the District's southern half as I write this (920PM). There is thunder and lightning but not much rain here around Dupont Circle. There is a severe thunderstorm watch in effect until 1AM.**UPDATED: DCA actually got a deluge to the tune of 0.50" in that storm. DCA is now +9.62" or 50 percent above normal year-to-date at this point, less at IAD and BWI.**

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Today has been a strange sort of Saturday. The photos accompanying this part of the entry were taken by me during a walk from my place down to near the White House, where Gerry picked me up and we took a short drive into Arlington.

A cumulus congestus cloud mass as seen in the sky behind the house at the corner of 16th St., NW, and Swann St., NW, Washington, D.C., June 28, 2008.

I was supposed to visit a friend in Rockville today. I lived in her (very nice) house along W. Montgomery Ave. during the summer of 1992 for a few months. She treks around the country and/or globe for at least six months of the year, but is currently home and I'd like to see her. I'm rescheduled for next Sunday.

The view from Logan Circle here in D.C., as seen around 4PM today. I believe that large house is called informally the Grant Mansion, so named because it was built by a son of Pres. Ulysses S. Grant.

I've not written too much about it, but 1992 was during my FIRST annus horribilis, the one involving a pre-Mr. Sirius situation ... I've not written much about that one. His name was Mason and he was straight, although weirdly enough, there are some interesting similarities that maybe someday I'll relate.

The statue of John Alexander Logan, Civil War Brigadier General and later U.S. Senator from Illinois at the traffic circle named for him -- Logan Circle -- here in D.C. earlier today. The circle was originally called Iowa Circle (and Dupont Circle was originally Pacific Circle).

Hydrangeas growing in a yard of one of the row houses in the 1300 block of Vermont Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., earlier today.

The Mason situation was shorter but more severe for me in that I ended up in a psych hospital for 10 days in July 1992 -- the old Psychiatric Institute of Montgomery County (PIMC) that used to be next to the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Gaithersburg.

This is the main spire of the Luther Place Memorial Church at Thomas Circle (at the corner of 14th St., M St., and Vermont Ave., NW). It is named for Martin Luther, not Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately, even in this time of rapid DC gentrification, the outside of the church is home to an assortment of fighting, urinating homeless bums, drug addicts, prostitutes, residual "gangbangers" looking to put their "tag" somewhere, and other segments of former Mayor Marion "Mobutu" Barry's dream urban constituency.

That was also the situation that resulted in my forced departure ("a voluntary mandatory medical withdrawal") from St. Mary's College of Maryland (GOD, I hated that place, though through it I met Phil and Amie, and for those reasons alone it was worth it) and my arrival at the Univ. of Maryland, College Park (and thus the D.C. area) in Sept. 1992. In one sense, I've yet to leave UMCP. I didn't actually move into the District proper until early 2001.

Here a band of blue shirted do-gooders -- probably hardcore Obamacons even though Sen. Obama sold them out in the FISA travesty, but that is a topic for my Arcturus blog -- were giving out clothing and other stuff to the bums in McPherson Square. There was a massive truck parked there that advertised it had mobile showers, too.

I did not take a picture of what was going on the sidewalk: one of those rage-a-holic urban black homeless men who was urinating in a corner and an overweight white woman I've seen before who has a particularly bad combination of mental illnesses, including Tourette Syndrome as she spews out the most vile profanity at everyone she passes by.

I estimate she's about 50 years old and perhaps is homeless. She is a hideous creature to behold and hear her profanity. It baffles me how she has managed to survive this long without coming to real harm in her urban setting. She spewed some stuff at me and for a moment I wanted to yell back, but much like virtually everyone else she encounters, I just ignored her.

Her life is a sort of a demented version of Crystal Waters' Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless) -- the famous "la da dee, la da da" song.
Sometimes I worry I have my own barely muted version of what she has.

Crystal Waters - Gypsy Woman


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Anyway, I continued walking in my catatonic torpor to near the White House, where my friend Gerry driving his car rescued me from myself. We took about an hour and a half ride into Arlington that included my first ever visit to Theodore Roosevelt Island in the Potomac River near Rosslyn (more on that below). The photos below are all from the drive.

The Washington Monument, as seen earlier today.

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The Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin, as seen earlier today.

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The footbridge crossing over to Theodore Roosevelt Island, a forested island park in the Potomac River -- known previously and variously as Mason's Island, Analostan Island, and even My Lord's Island and "Barbadoes," source here -- where in all my years in D.C.,I never before had visited. You have to park and walk onto the island. Not even bicycles are allowed.

We went to the memorial to Theodore Roosevelt himself. The sprawling plaza, the towering stone slabs emblazoned with "topics" and his related quotes on "Nature," "Man," "Virtue," "The State," etc., the weirdly nearly encircling fountain, and the towering statue of "T.R." himself are all -- like the man himself -- vaguely fascist in appearance. As for the quotes, boy, could Teddy lay it on thick.

Grass is growing through most of the spaces in the plaza stone pavers and the trees encircling it are pressing in. Eventually, if left unchecked, this once broad and expansive space would just revert to forest. There's a metaphor in there.

Clouds over the skyscrapers of Rosslyn, a sort of Potemkin Village "city" in Arlington, Va.

Well, that's all for now. I am planning on going to Larry's Lounge or Cobalt (which has been so empty lately), possibly to meet Gary and Gerry. Kristof is in for the night. I am supposed to meet my mom and Ray in College Park tomorrow for lunch.

I plan to have a political-themed entry on my Arcturus blog posted by tomorrow night, although nobody really reads that one anymore judging by my lack of any comments. Oh, well.

--Regulus

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Into A Summer Place


Georgetown Branch Trail / "future" Capital Crescent Trail, Bethesda, Md., June 24, 2008

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I've updated my Arcturus blog with an entry about the proposed buyout by the State of Florida of a large swath of former Everglades territory now in (unnecessary) use as sugar cane fields for U.S. Sugar Corp. in order to restore it to a more pristine ecological state.

I've also responded to Fifi's request that I should have it so that my comments appear in a pop-up box. Her current entry with reflections on the winter solstice down in Australia is worth a read.

My next planned entry for this blog will be in a few days.

--Regulus

Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer Solstice 2008: A Three-Day Photo - Montage


Stormy sky, ascending out of the Dupont Circle Metro, June 23, 2008

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There are SO many pictures I need to post. I am just going to post them in a sort of chaotic fashion.

Two items:

First, I took half a day off from work today because I wasn't feeling well this morning. I don't know if that is going to cause any problems tomorrow (my boss was out today). I am still planning on returning to school -- rather than totally and fully committing to this job -- come late August. But I don't have to decide anything until then, i.e. for the next two months.

Stormy sky, outside Cobalt, R and 17th St., NW, Wash. D.C., June 22, 2008.

Secondly, the weather has featured t-storms in the area the past several days, but the airports have mostly missed big drenching downpours. Dulles has had the most (0.39") the past three days while DCA has gotten 0.20" and 0.01" at BWI (boo).

However, this gets into weather, which is more appropriate for my Arcturus blog, which I need to update. It has been a wet past few months, and that's a GOOD THING.

Anyway, without further ado, here are some pictures I've been meaning to post ...

The Cheshire Cat Grin light projection on the wall of the tunnel at the Bethesda Metro, June 20, 2008.

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The Pet Pride contest at Dupont Circle this past Saturday, June 21, 2008. I thought I might see Mr. Sirius with his boyfriend and dog in their gay bliss, but I did not. Not that I was thinking about that.

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This was from the "least obedient" contest. There were only TWO entries. This fellow came in second. He should've came in first.

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Screen shot from the 1954 remake of A Star Is Born with the late, forever great Judy Garland ...

OH, GOD, there is SO MUCH I could say about this film ... this remake with Judy Garland ... One random thought: if she had won the Oscar for Best Actress in this film -- she lost to Grace Kelly* -- she might not have spiraled in to the death spiral that ended in her death in June 1969, AND! the Stonewall Riots might not have occurred on that sultry night 5 days later (although it has been said this is an urban myth, but whatever).

Here is the scene where James Mason's character Normal Maine, the sad alcoholic, walks off into the ocean to drown himself rather than have Judy Garland's character (Vicki Lester) give up her life for him.

This film, though, in a bizarre way was really an allegory of her life -- and how it would play out in the next 15 years until she died.

*Grace Kelly's death on Sept. 14, 1982, by the way, was featured in the FIRST EDITION of USA Today on Sept. 15, 1982. See front page image here.

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The Pan American Health Organization Building -- which looks like a carburetor air filter.

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Yours Truly at the Lincoln Memorial, around 330AM, June 22, 2008.

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Still another picture of me (Regulus) at the Lincoln Memorial, June 22, 2008.

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Kristof silhouetted among the stately columns of the Lincoln Memorial, in the wee hours of June 22, 2008.

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Yours Truly, Regulus, and LP at the Lincoln Memorial, around 345AM, June 22, 2008.

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Regulus and Kristof at the Albert Einstein Memorial at 21st St., NW, and Constitution Ave., NW. Link to Web site here.

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Yours Truly, Regulus, at the Albert Einstein Memorial, Wash., D.C., June 22, 2008.

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Kristof at the Albert Einstein Memorial, Washington, D.C., June 22, 2008

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Yours Truly, Regulus, and the Geo. Washington Univ. "unofficial" mascot hippo at 21st and H St., NW. This hippo has NOTHIN' on my Flippo.

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The following pictures were taken on Sunday, June 22, 2008 on a ride with Gerry.

The big water tower at Andrews AFB, as seen from the Capital Beltway, June 22, 2008.

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The still-under-construction National Harbor, June 22, 2008. Of note, "The Awakening" has been reassembled along the Potomac River at the National Harbor.

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The new Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, June 22, 2008.

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A trellis covered in wisteria in Crystal City - Arlington, Va., near where Gerry works, June 22, 2008.

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Freddie's very gay restaurant and bar in Arlington, Va., June 22, 2008. Gary, Gerry, and I went there yesterday evening.

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Freddie's bar

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The Washington Monument at sunset, June 22, 2008.

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Again -- the Washington Monument, early evening, June 22, 2008

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A hydrangea bush in a yard along 1800 block, T St. NW, Washington, D.C., June 23, 2008

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A rainbow ...

... as seen from Larry's Lounge, 18th and T St., NW, Washington, D.C., June 23, 2008, after a brief, heavy rain shower.

That's all for now. Good night, Gentle Reader,

--Regulus

Sunday, June 22, 2008

In the middle of the night ...


Updated with video -- see below

Yours Truly, Regulus at the Lincoln Memorial at the 4AM hour here in Washington, D.C., June 22, 2008.

I apologize to my readers for my previous entry, since I know it did not make a lot of sense. Long story short, I was upset about a few things.

Anyway, I plan to have a new entry up later today with stuff about my 3AM -430AM walk with Kristof and LP after the bars closed [we were at Omega, where Kristof and I had gone after Cobalt] from the Dupont area here in D.C. to the Lincoln Memorial and part-way back before taking a cab the rest of the way, as we were pretty tired at that point. I live about 2 miles from the Lincoln Memorial. I used to go down there a lot in the wee hours like that ... not just before my 2004 annus horribilis, but before 9/11 attacks that turned the area in to a frickin' police state war-zone.


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Updated ...

Just because it was stuck in my head this afternoon ...John Paul Young's song "Love is in the Air".

I first saw the video at JRs (yes, that JRs) some years ago, (long before he was there). The part of the video near the ending involving the love arrows being shot into the couple before they ascend to heaven is actually slightly jarring. As for Young himself, he looks like he's sort of frozen through the whole song. The very ending where you hear The Muppet Show characters Statler and Waldorf is actually kind of funny.

The original 1978 version sung by a much younger Young is
here.

--Regulus