Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dog Is My Co-pilot ( Part II)

Yours Truly, Regulus, in Oliver's crate earlier tonight, just testing it out ...

Tonight, Phil and Stephanie and I went to the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL) here in D.C. to pick up their newly adopted dog, now named Oliver. "Doowop" was his name at WARL, at least temporarily. It went very well.

Thereafter, I went back to Phil and Stephanie's place with Kristof, Chris T., and Eric M. Later, Kristof and I went to Cobalt.


Oliver in his that same new crate.

As an aside, I was thinking of linking to my Mr. Sirius Blog since the only reason I started the second one is to avoid alienating folks who do not want to read it rather than 'hiding' it ... besides, it's not like it can't be found.

Oh, yes, my FIRST gym work out in nearly FIVE years went well -- the first in nearly NINE years at the Eppley Rec. Center at the UMCP campus -- even if I went at the most crowded time. I did 20 minutes of weight lifting (on the machines), 30 minutes on one of the elliptical trainer machines, and then I went swimming, or rather, splashing around in one of the two giant pools out of the "circle swim." Yay, I win.

The gym was MOBBED but that's OK.

I'm going to try to go to UMCP to the gym tomorrow again except I've been battling a mild cold and I'm rather sore, too.

--Regulus

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

D.C. Midwinter Night's Dreams -OR- On the 3rd Rock from the Sun

No, this is not in Washington, D.C. ...

A random picture off the internet of a lovely turquoise tropical ocean seen through a curtain of palm trees. I once posted this image on my old Arcturus blog (which I shouldn't have deleted).

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The following image is from my world ...

The 1500 block of Swann St., NW, Washington, D.C., around 145AM, Jan. 28, 2009 after some snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

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So our official D.C. area snowfall totals -- before it turned to sleet and freezing rain -- were 1.7" at DCA, 1.2" at BWI, and 1.0" at IAD.

Pres. Obama's impromptu morning commentary of Washington, D.C. winter weather pussiness versus Chicago winter weather "flinty toughness" is here:



Of course, I'd like to point out that D.C.'s average snowfall continues to fall over the past few decades. Our winters are just getting less snowy. As it is, I told both LP and my mom to leave work early yesterday and I told my mom to go in late today.

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There is the potential of a significant coastal storm for the East Coast that would -- according to the 0Z 29-01-09 GFS model run -- give the D.C. area a rain-to-snowstorm (which basically never happens here).

Shown here is a segment of the 1000-500mb "thickness" and precip., valid for hour 126, 0600Z (1AM EST), Feb. 3, 2009. The higher numbers (e.g. 1004) represent the surface pressure.

Thickness is a measurement of the height difference between the 1000mb and 500 mb pressure surfaces. The colder the temp, the closer those two layers and thus the lower the thickness. For snow, you need a thickness of 540 or less. That refers to 540 dekameters or 5400 meters (about 19,000 feet). The 1000mb pressure surface corresponds about to sea level.

The next increment (six hours later) has the 540 thickness line well to our east. In reality, such a scenario would likely mean the precip would instantly cut off as soon as the low was past our latitude, so rain to windy, blustery, and partly cloudy in the D.C. area. Boston would get a blizzard again.

This is all subject to endless iterations -- four a day with the GFS -- not to mention all the other models.

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The intersection of T St., NW, and New Hampshire Ave., NW, Jan. 27, 2009

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Yours Truly, Regulus, in the lobby of my building last night around 145AM, Jan. 28, 2009

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Republican Depression-Inviting Economics...

So the House passed the $819 billion stimulus plan (HR1 in the 111th Congress) 244-188 with ZERO Rethug votes, even after Pres. Obama agreed to water it down with a bunch of worthless supply side tax cut bullshit, since the GOP far prefers to let the country go into a deflationary economic depression.

The Republican Party really has no business as a governing party anymore. It does not believe in any serious policy to bring about improved national welfare and a common good. It doesn't even believe such concepts exist. It's perverted low Protestant fundamentalism, corporate fascism, and hate-based politics preclude that. It answers to the wackiest of the wacky -- to the Rush Limbaughs and Ann Coulters -- and that strangest creature of all, the GOP "base."

Now it is true the House will have a second vote after the Senate passes its version (S.1) that, hopefully, will get at least a few Republican Senators, and then bill goes to conference committee.

Oh, yes, Dick Armey's behavior on Hardball tonight toward Salon's Joan Walsh was disgusting. Armey, the former House Republican Majority Leader who looks like an elephant and may have been intoxicated on the air, is your typical GOP s-hole whose idea of "policy" debate is to cackle, mock, and ignore basic facts. They're just rotten people.

(Matthews himself was a jackass, too, tonight and it took New York Times op-ed writer Bob Herbert, who was the next guest, to call Armey out on that, but only to Matthews.)

Kissing GOP ass doesn't work. I hope Pres. Obama soon realizes that fact.

As for Republicans in Congress, they are apparently obligated to kiss the big OxyContinated ass of the thrice married, hate radio maestro Rush "hanging with his boys in the Dominican Republic / bend over and grab your ankles" Limbaugh.

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R - Ga.) had to beg Rush for forgiveness for some criticism of him. How sad. And what a pathetic, increasingly irrelevant party is the Grand Old Party.

A much better, more positive example of a debate -- even though I think this thinking was wrong -- was Rachel Maddow's debate with Republican Congressman Don Manzullo (R-Ill.)

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Switching gears: Midday TV ...

I've been watching the British TV series "Ballykissangel" aired on MPT in the late afternoon on my days home. It caps the end of the "Britcoms" aired on MPT during the weekday.

This show isn't a comedy per se. The opening theme is very nice. The fictitious town's name "Ballykissangel" is supposedly (but not really) an Anglicized version of the Gaelic name "Baile Coisc Aingil", which means "The town of the fallen angel." The show is set in Ireland.

The series creator grew up in the actual nearby townland of Ballykissanne in the village of Killorglin. It's the site of the annual 400+ year old Puck Fair. The highlight involves crowning a goat, "King Puck." The fair dates back at least to the 1600s, but possibly much longer than that into the pre-Christian era.

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Movin' On Up? Down? Or just South.

On an unrelated note, my dad wanted me to look up trailer/mobile home parks in Key West in preparation of a possible move there within the next year. I found this site.

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More late night TV stuff ...

Two screen shots from one of the Wednesday night episodes of "3rd Rock from the Sun" when Dick and Nina do a seriously well-choreographed Jitterbug routine.

The YouTube clip is here:

It starts at 4:08. The whole clip is actually quite good and funny. The last two minutes are also sweet with Dick and Mary doing a ballroom dance outside.

I want to learn how to dance like that (the Jitterbug thing, which actually includes a series of Swing era dances). And I don't want to be a lazy fat blob like I have become of late. Tomorrow, I start my gym work outs, 3 or 4 times per week. As I noted in my previous entry, I will do this.

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Blogger Buddy Good Reads ...

Please read my dear blogger friend Fifi's Jan. 29, 2009 and Jan. 20, 2009 entries. Lyrical. And, once again, I'm borrowing an image from her blog.

This is of a beach somewhere in Australia, I think one the coast of New South Wales near where she lives, but I'm not sure. The picture image was just "headland."

It all seems so profoundly far away from Washington, D.C., on a cold night in late January.

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Well, anyway, that's about all for now. My next entry will be in a few days.

--Regulus

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First Measurable D.C. Snowfall of the Winter -OR- Spring Semester Gym Workout Advisory

Updated lead picture ...

An increasingly rare Washington, D.C. sight: a snowy day, as seen along the 1800 bl of S St., NW, earlier this afternoon, Jan. 27, 2009.

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Continued from before ...

*Sigh* I should update this blog ...

... at least to note that it is snowing here in Washington, D.C., this day. Above is the view earlier this morning from my unpleasant little apartment.

We had our first measurable snowfall officially at DCA and our first inch of snow at DCA today. That's how pathetic our winter has been even as this month has averaged several degrees F below normal.


I updated my other blog -- that would be the Mr. Sirius one -- and sort of don't feel like writing a second one, or rather just repeating what I wrote there, which would defeat the whole purpose of having that one.

UMCP campus night view, Jan. 26, 2009.

I'm relieved to not have to go to that damn job anymore as a regular employee. I'm a contractor and can work when and wherever, including from campus. So far, it seems to be working out, but it's still early.

I have class twice a week now and plan to be on campus Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and either Tuesday or Friday.

As for today, I don't have to go to campus today and I'm not doing anything for work today, so I think I'll take a walk later, perhaps with Gary

Mad Dog Me.

I was quite pleased when I discovered that my activities fee as a graduate student INCLUDED a UMCP campus gym membership.

I also will start going to the gym on campus tomorrow or Thursday and I plan to do so regularly.By May, I hope to actually be in shape and not the blob of listless nothing that I am now. At least that's the goal. It may not happen. As of now, I looking and feel like hell and have never been fatter and felt physically worse and I cannot stand it anymore.


Returning to the weather, we may get more snow tonight.


The 1708UTC (1208PM EST), Jan. 29, 2009 radar composite for part of the United States.

The radar right now shows evidence of an elongated west-west zonal baroclinic zone with minor waves of low pressure rippling along it stretching from the Delmarva westward back to Missouri.

We are at the northern periphery of it at the present time, which means a turnover to rain is not likely, at least not now. The air temp. is in the upper 20s F and the overall atmosphere is cold enough to support snow here. DC is under a winter weather advisory with a winter storm warning in effect for the northern and western suburbs and beyond, but if anything, right now all the snow is from DC southward. The pattern may get more "wavy" tonight with mixed precip. as warmer air is advected northward.

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I think that's all for now. Oh, yes, here is a picture from a lost world for me.

It is from a lost world for me. It is a picture of me taken next to a hydrangea bush that grew so lovely beside the house at 368 Kirby Ave., Long Branch, N.J., where I grew up in the 1970s. This was taken in July 1974 when I was 4 years old.

I took it from my dad's photo album when I visited him in Florida and scanned it yesterday on campus.

--Regulus

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Puppy Dogs and Wintertime Sunshine ...


Time for a new entry.

The highlight of today was going with Phil and Stephanie earlier this afternoon to the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL), pictured above, located in the strange far-and-away section of D.C. in the "unit block" of Oglethorpe St., NW, at the edge of the Brightwood section of the city, off Blair Rd., NW.

It was a sort of "open house" day where you could start the adoption process of a dog or cat without the usual $100+ charge. Phil and Stephanie settled on a mixed breed, good-natured, year-old dog named "Doowop" that they're thinking of renaming Oliver if in fact they are able to adopt him.

Here is a picture of Doowap/Oliver. He is probably a mixed English Setter and Labrador, but it's hard to tell.

Here is another picture of Doowap/Oliver.

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I've been really today and haven't really felt well, although I've perked up a bit in the past few hours as the day has given way to early winter darkness. Hmmm.

Next week promises to be busy with the spring semester starting -- I have two classes -- and an all-day workshop at NRC on nuclear power plant safety culture that I need to attend as part of my job. Yes, I still technically work, albeit as a contractor. (By the way, I have now actually made it into the NRC "ADAMS" electronic docket. I attended a monthly meeting on the Reactor Oversight Process in December 2008 at NRC headquarters in Rockville and I'm listed as an attendee, but the name of my company is wrong.)

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Historic Rock Creek Park Cemetery (not to be confused with Rock Creek Park) in Washington, D.C., as seen from New Hampshire Ave., NW, earlier today in the boom-boxed Brightwood 'hood of the District. We passed this while driving to WARL.

I am so glad I'm not working in that awful office anymore but still have a contractual, project-based relationship withe company. As for money, and the lack of earning much of it now (not that I was earning all that much at that job), I am temporarily flush with money, thanks to my student loan refunds for the fall and spring semesters (the latter arrived earlier this week) that I did not spend because I was working.

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This is Boscoe, a rather large mixed breed with lots of bull dog in him. Poor Boscoe was recovering from surgery -- he had to have one of his eyes removed (yikes) and it was just sewn over. I liked Boscoe.

I really need a fundamental and radical overhaul to the way I live my life, but it may not be possible right now given how my life is. I realize that is a hopelessly circular and self-defeating explanation. At minimum, I have decided to take advantage of the excellent gym facilities on the UMCP campus and start working out. I have become so unpleasantly out of shape as I careen toward my 40th birthday later this year (appropriately, it falls right on Thanksgiving this year).

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Sunshine in an empty space (to borrow a line from Corona's song "Rhythm of the Night") ...

Light from the setting winter Sun filters into my wee little Washington, D.C., efficiency through the slotted blinds a short while ago, Jan. 24, 2009.

Speaking of empty places, I have been feeling so empty, even sort of dead, inside the past couple of years, and it has only gotten worse -- more dead? -- in the past month or so. Part of this is the simple life draining quality of the whole, dumb, enervating Mr. Sirius fixation, but I'm not going to write about that here on this blog (I have another one for that). More generally, it's just from a sense of overall failure in my life to date.

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This was Ashlee the cat at WARL earlier today. I think my mom would have liked this cat if she were there today. But she lives in Millersville, Md., and adopting a pet from D.C. would be difficult logistically for her.

This past week -- excluding Inauguration Day -- has been kinda crummy. I found out that I am woefully "unprofessional" (it had to do with a bit of unpleasantness working on a project for another person at my now-contracting job), an outright liar (because I often show up for group Friday happy hours and other social events involving some of my friends), and incapable of any physical intimacy (since the only people I attract are those I find old and/or unattractive).

About the latter, I had a "date" on Wednesday night that ended rather unpleasantly and awkwardly as the guy who came over stormed out -- why does that always happen?? -- after he realized I wasn't interested in instantly have a sexual encounter with him.

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Yet another blurry image with my cellphone camera, this one of Otello's restaurant here in D.C. last night after dinner with Phil, Stephanie, Gary, and Aimee that Phil kindly paid for.

Back to my date on Wed. night ... This guy (an enviro-activist a decade and a half my junior) and I had gone to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and eventually he came over to my place. I should not have invited him up -- I really wasn't interested -- but I didn't think he'd be so, well, aggressive in wanting an instant sexual encounter.

I SAID at the outset just to come up for a little bit and I was going to watch the series of episodes of "3rd Rock From The Sun" on TV Land that night. Do words actually mean anything anymore? Anyway, he just got up and left without saying anything, although I had to open the door lock for him. I was actually glad when he left.

That was my first date in, oh, 5 years. I don't really care.

At least I didn't have what happened the last time a guy stormed out in March 2005: the Catholic school gym teacher who, turning into a scary SOB, stole $80 in cash from me from a coffee mug on my table. I was able to file charges and I actually had him arrested the next day as I saw him at Windows. The charge was "null processed" but at least I had him arrested. During my "active" years in the 1990s in my 20s, I almost never had any kinds of problems such as that.

Part of the reason is that I'm feeling so unattractive these days, overweight in a sort of penguin-like shape. And my hair is so bushy that I can't effectively use pomade. It just comes out looking stupid.

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Just a quick political commentary update ... (caution: it's a little bitter)

I REALLY hope that Pres. Obama doesn't cave in to economic depression - craving rightwing Republicans -- I'm thinking of Rep. John Boehner and Sen. Mitch "the Bitch" McConnell -- on the $825 billion stimulus bill.

I fear the whole thing will devolve into a farrago of "tax credits" and tax cuts for the usuaal corporate malfeasants and billionaires and an effort to restart the whole out-of-control financial industry Bush - thieving Ponzi scheme over again, not to mention any other trickle down, supply side, voodoo economics bullshit they can think of.

We need an old-fashioned Keynesian stimulus of a New Deal sort.

Today's GOP, with its toxic combo of fundamentalist religio-insanity and corporate fascism, WANTS a deflationary economic depression with liquidity trap conditions and inverted supply and demand curves that "punishes" the working poor (and the laboring class in general) and the overlapping debtor class(es) BECAUSE they are working poor and indebted.

The Southernized Republican Party of today is NOT interested in the slightest in any serious public policy that helps the country as a whole. It's a basically a collection of crazies, thugs, corporate thieves, warmongerers, charlatans, and con artists.

Only in America would such a foul and discredited system of thought and behavior be magically repackaged and resurrected in time for the 2010 election. Too much of America is extra dumb.

I also agree with Prof. Paul Krugman's sentiments and worries about what might happen in Obama's first term, which if it came to pass would probably ensure he would not win reelection in 2012.

What really bugs me is that it always seems to be the case that all it takes is 1 Republican Senator from some neo-Confederate state to block EVERYTHING.

Not wanting to end on a negative note, though, here is a link to a Boston Globe online page featuring an array of dazzling large image scenes from Pres. Obama's Inauguration Day this past Tuesday, both here in D.C. and around the world.

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Cultural - Celebrity News:

Off His Rocker. Again.

John "English Only" Rocker escorted from Atlanta hotel bar after anti-Semitic rant at local sportscaster

Story here and John's side of it here (caution: excessive profanity at second link).

Deep Thoughts With John Rocker (from 2000), who really must have been pumped up on steroids in this (undeniably homoerotic hot) image of him:

"[New York City is] the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark ... next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20 year old mom with four kids. It's depressing.

"You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish . . . How the hell did they get in this country?"

Source here

John, you're not even a clever douche bag.

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OK, I'd like to switch gears again from the vulgar and profane to the spiritual and sublime ...

Speaking of GOD, or at least matters of faith and the spirit, I came across Sirach 3: 19-25. I like it. The Book of Sirach, also known as Ecclesiasticus (not to be confused with the Book of Ecclesiastes), is part of the Catholic Bible, but not the Protestant one. I know some Protestant types go into a frenzy of fear at the very thought that there are other books of the Bible that did not make the King James Version.

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A Sunshine Buddy ...

I really wish I had one of these little guys.

Speaking of sunshine ... turning to the weather briefly ... I should mention (although in so doing I will be jinxing it) that the models are suggesting an inclement period next week with waves of low pressure bringing precip to the Middle and Southern Atlantic regions, including the D.C. area, and it looks to be cold enuf for at least some snow.

DCA, which this January has the dubious distinction of running -3.6F below normal so far yet WITHOUT ANY measurable snow this month or season so far, could finally get its first inch of snow.

This is all subject, of course, to repeated and maddening weather model flip-flopping, and in the end, nothing happening here.

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I think that's about all for now. No one has returned any of text messages, phone calls, or emails today (well, actually I didn't send any emails), and that's fine. I'll just be reclusive.

My next entry is when I feel like it.

--Regulus

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama Inauguration Day 2009 -OR- Watching the World Wake Up From History

This entry is an account of my day featuring pictures that I got off news Web sites and that I took with my (crummy) cellphone camera, as well as a few pictures I took last night on a walk with my friend Chris T. down to the National Mall. The ones I took should be obvious and are mostly in the second half of the entry.

Yesterday was a historically powerfully good day for America and, yes, the world.

Here is a 21:50 YouTube clip of the C-SPAN footage of President Barack Obama taking the oath of office and giving his powerful inaugural speech. The oath was actually screwed up a little by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, which caused Pres. Obama to stumble a bit.

**Updated 01/22/2009: Pres. Obama retook the oath Wednesday evening, Jan. 21, 2009, courtesy Chief Justice Roberts just to make sure everything was correct. Already the more fevered rightwing swamps of the blogosphere had been darkly ruminating that "Obama really isn't president."**

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Despite myself and my morning foul and panicked mood notwithstanding over unrelated personal issues, it was a good day for me since living here in Washington D.C. allowed me to be a small part of it with my friends as Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America and the 1st African American to hold that penultimate position of power on this planet.

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Here President Obama takes the oath of office at 12:05PM EST Jan. 20, 2009 as administered by Chief Justice Roberts while his wife, Michelle, and his two daughters, Malia and Sasha, watch.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are standing behind Malia and Sasha.

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Pres. Obama was sworn in using the same Bible Pres. Abraham Lincoln used in 1861.

Although this formal oath of office was administered at 12:05PM (and apparently there is an informal one earlier in the morning), the 20th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution unambiguously states that the outgoing President's term ends at noon precisely on Jan. 20th. It has never been clear to me if that means the new President de facto assumes office at noon or only once the oath of office is administered.

If the latter, then who was President for those five minutes??


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Another image of Pres. Obama being sworn in by Chief Justice Roberts with his wife and daughters, as well as outing Pres. George W. Bush looking on.

I walked down to the National Mall starting at 11AM with Gary and Kristof (I've no idea where Gerry was yesterday) on a circuitous route around the White House to the vicinity of the Washington Monument. By the time we got to H St., NW, it was mobbed in a sea of humanity flowing slowly down toward the Mall in the bright winter sunshine. We were near the Monument and within sight and sound of a jumbotron screen by 11:45AM.

Actually, there were many jumbotron screens (or whatever make and model of large screen outdoor television screens they were) and as a result of the multiple, seconds-out-of-phase audio delays, it made for a slightly jarring experience listening to the speech if did not concentrate on just one source.

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President Obama delivers his Inaugural speech, Jan. 20, 2009.

While it was mostly sunny, it was cold and blustery with temps. in the upper 20s with 30F the official high for the day at nearby Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

However, for some reason, the observations from nearby DCA indicate it was "overcast" or "mostly cloudy" most of the day, when that was most definitely not what I experienced.

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President Obama waves to the crwod after giving his first Inaugural address.

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I'll avoid my existential bitterness and angst about our utter, total, and perpetual snow drought in D.C. and near-in environs that has run for years now. Even crummy Raleigh, N.C., 200+ miles south of D.C., had 7+ inches of snow last night. We got squat OF COURSE.

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Pres. Obama gets a hug from now-former Pres. George W. Bush while now-former Vice Pres. Dick Cheney stands next to them looking on.

You can just feel the evil pulsating out from Cheney's dark heart as he peers out from under that fedora that makes him look more like an aging mafia don than Darth Vader. As for Bush, he was emotional and oddly deferential and uncharacteristically graceful. As much as I can't stand him, I suppose this was a difficult day for him.

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Here the Obamas and the Bushes walk together ahead of the former President and First Lady's departure from Washington, D.C., for Texas "for good" (Bush's words).

This is how we still manage to transfer power peacefully and legally in the United States -- even after an 8 year nightmare that we've been through, and despite the fact that Bush and his crowd seized power by Supreme Court fiat in 2000 even though Gore actually won in Florida (and thus the Electoral College vote), to say nothing of the national popular vote.

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Ciao. That's Italian for buh-bye.

Please just disappear into obscurity.

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Aretha Franklin sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee" in only that way she can. No comment on her choice of head ware. I'm not gonna make snarky comments like some folks have about how that hat made her look a tad like Aunt Jemima. No, I won't say that.

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A view of the mass of humanity stretching westward from the U.S. Capitol Building along the National Mall.

I was with Gary and Kristof just behind the Washington Monument -- the base of which is visible in the distance down the axis of the Mall -- about 1.2 miles away.

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Speaking of the crowd size ...

Official crowd estimates from the National Park Service are not yet available, and the act of estimating crowds in political events is inherently controversial and, well, political. Indeed, Congress banned the NPS in 1996 from estimating crowd sizes, although it is expected to do so for this event.

Some estimates for yesterday's crowd size were in the 1.8 million ballpark, and my own anecdotal experience of being among the throngs suggested this was in fact the case. That would be a record crowd. Here is a list of biggest National Mall crowds on record, not counting the LBJ 1965 inauguration. That crowd estimate is put at 1.2 million, the biggest ever on the Mall. The July 4, 1976 bicentennial event crowd was put at 1.0 million (see list link).

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Here is a high-resolution image taken by the GeoEye-1 satellite with my route clumsily sketched in. The granular brown clusters represent throngs of people. There were also people on the adjoining downtown streets, so it does not capture everyone there. I'm assuming by the angle of the Sun -- see the shadow from the Washington Monument -- that it was taken an hour or so before the noon hour.

We were in the yellow dot area within site of a jumbotron screen at the Noon hour and 12:05PM swearing in. The Inauguration was at the Capitol West Steps where the light blue dot is -- about 1.2 miles east of the Monument.

Here is the GeoEye Web site gallery that includes the picture. The first three of the gallery are of the National Mall with the image above being the second one. The CNN version is here (in case the GeoEye gallery changes). (The CNN link is rather slow as it takes a while for the various image components to come in clearly.)

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The "sparse" areas on the Mall in the satellite image above between the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument and west of the Monument (where we were) suggests to one expert a figure closer to 1 million rather than 2 million. However, it should be remembered that the city streets leading to the Mall were also jammed and the crowd was not a static thing but in constant flux.

**UPDATED, 01/22/2009: Read this article in the WashPost on the crowd estimate, the GeoEye-1 image limitations, and why the LBJ '65 estimate is probably too high.**

Here is an image I took around 1130AM while walking down to the National Mall to the Obama Inauguration. This was on 18th St., NW, near the World Bank. This gives a sense of the throngs of people pouring down there.

The kitschy stuff being hawked everywhere from Obama hand warmers to Obama bottled water to Obama hand puppets, as well as Obama t-shirts, calendars, posters, and other stuff, was astonishing.

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The view as Gary, Kristof, and I approached the Washington Monument from 17th St., NW, and Constitution Ave., NW.

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The view looking north from near the Washington Monument across just a small portion of the crowd toward the White House and downtown D.C. beyond.

This is about where we were when Obama was inaugurated at 12:05PM. I was surprised to see that air traffic into / out of DCA was continuing as normal. The jets were doing the upriver landings and take-offs, and there was a jet that departed at noon and 12:05PM. The folks on the right side of those jets must've seen an extraordinary site.

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More crowd scenes that I took, same perspective as above picture.

We did not actually remain for the Inaugural address since it was so blustery, gusty, and cold. Instead, we began a circuitous walk around the White House and through downtown to Chris T's office to watch the Inaugural parade.

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Here is the view of part of the parade route along Pennsylvania Ave., NW, between 12th and 15th St., NW, as seen from Chris's office.

Chris works at a high-end law firm and this is the view from his 9th floor office. We had to enter through a back entrance off E St., NW. It was an unusual day at this office with the families and friends of associates and partners. This included lots of children. There was also a reception on the 11th floor that kept us in hors d'oeuvres AND wine and beer. Yay.

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The actual Inaugural parade was delayed approximately a half hour, though it seemed longer. It may have been because the formal luncheon lasted longer than scheduled, and there was also Sen. Kennedy's health scare.

The parade started moving past us around 4PM. We were actually near the end of the parade route since the White House is at Pennsylvania Ave., NW, and 16th St., NW (hence the "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" address it has).

Here the actual limousine carrying President Obama and his family slowly rode past. It is the one with the four Secret Service agents walking with it.

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Needless to say, all the office buildings and hotels lining Pennsylvania Ave. were jammed with people, as well as at street level. I think a gaggle of New Jersey State Troopers were standing along the parade route -- looking out at the crowd, not at the parade -- near the building. Security was very, very tight. Sharpshooters were on all the building roof tops.

Here is another view of President Obama's limousine at the center of the "bubble" he and his family will now live in for the next 4 or 8 years.

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The Obamas actually got out of the limousine farther down Pennsylvania Ave., NW, but had gotten back into their vehicle by the time they were abreast of where we were.

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The remaining pictures were taken by me the night before (Jan. 19, 2009) while with Chris T.

Dinner at City Lights of China on Connecticut Ave., NW

Chris T. and I had dinner at City Lights of China where I had not gone in about 10 years. The menu had improved quite a bit, including a "healthy" one with sauces on the side (rather than drowning the meal and rendering it a gooey, unhealthy blob of nothing). The place was actually NOT mobbed when we got there, unlike the other places we attempted to go but filled up.

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Thereafter, we took a night walk down to the National Mall.

Here a series of port-o-potties portable toilets line Henry Bacon Drive with the Lincoln Memorial glowing behind them. Henry Bacon Drive runs between the Lincoln Memorial and Constitution Ave., NW. No, this isn't a Mr. Sirius reference.

There were hundreds of portable toilets everywhere along the Mall and the nearby city streets. Everywhere was mobbed with people with security fences in abundance, not to mention police, police, police, and more police.

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We walked to the Washington Monument along the north side of the Reflecting Pool.

Here is the Reflecting Pool that runs between the Lincoln Memorial and 17th St., NW, near the Washington Monument, Jan. 19, 2009. The shallow, stagnant pool of swampy, mucky, dirty water was frozen over, and the klieg lights set up everywhere created a nice effect.

This picture was taken just before a mob of black youngsters from the "Mighty" school band something or other coming the other way overwhelmed us. There was a lot of "N-word" screaming among them.

That was probably the only "bad" thing -- other than the small cadre of redneck-looking (white) insane religious fascist fanatics the next day standing at 17th St. and Constitution Ave., NW, with their "ASK ME WHY YOU DESERVE HELL" shirts and placards.

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Speaking of fascism, the National World War II Memorial encircling what used to be called the Rainbow Pool along 17th St., NW, has more than a hint of it in its design. And I say this even though I think the memorial design is actually nice with its pillars, arches, bas-relief panels, fountains, night lighting, and open "plaza" expanse. The Wikipedia article on the memorial is well written and comprehensive.

This is the overhead sculpture inside the "Pacific Arch" on the south side of the memorial.

The fountain geysers were all turned off and the fountain itself was empty.

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An image of me silhouetted against the Washington Monument, Jan. 19, 2009.

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Chris T. and I walked to the subterranean Stan's at Vermont Ave., NW, and L St., NW. I've mentioned this place -- and the big liquor and food portions its serves -- before.

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And with that I conclude this entry, except for one more miscellaneous YouTube clip. It features former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, TOTALLY dissing former President Bill Clinton while Secretary of State - Designate and former First Lady Hillary Clinton looks on.


The Carters are seen talking to an aging former First Lady Barbara Bush, wife of former President George H.W. Bush and mother of now former President George W. Bush just before taking their seats outside at the Obama swearing in. The Carters go OUT OF THEIR WAY to ignore Bill Clinton. Not sure what that's about.

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Anyway, my next entry probably won't be until the weekend.

--Regulus