Saturday, November 28, 2009

The House at 2 Flax Lane, Then and Now, and a Lost Jersey Boy

THIS Levittown, New York house at 2 Flax Lane -- a tiny sliver of a street connecting Sunrise and Old Oak Lanes -- is apparently the LAST one that is WHOLLY and COMPLETELY unchanged for how it was upon its construction.

This picture appeared in The New York Times online in October 2007 as part of a slide show (it's slide 4) accompanying this story. The occasion of the article was the 60th anniversary of the arrival of the first families in Levittown, the first suburban development of its kind in the United States (and thus the world).

The article discussed how the homes in Levittown have changed so dramatically in physical appearance and size over the decades. The neighborhood itself has changed as the number and size of the trees got bigger, too, since Levittown was basically built on what had been empty fields.

Here are original Levittown homes that have changed significantly over the years.

Gary took this picture of the house at 2 Flax Lane earlier today. He was on Long Island visiting his dad, sister, and step mom for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In the intervening two years, the house is still unchanged -- except the storm door seems to have vanished. Those little bushes having grown a inch, or else they are trimmed regularly.

Of note, the original Levittown "Cape Cod" houses sold for $6,990 and ranch houses sold for $7,990. Adjusted for inflation (using the calculator on this site), that works out to $67,761 and $77,455, respectively.

In 2007, the figures were $64,992 and $74,290, respectively. In 2000, the figures were $53,977 and $61,699 respectively. (All these are rounded up to the nearest dollar.)

The actual median house value in Levittown, N.Y., in 2007 was $401,197, up from $189,700 in 2000. Source here. I'm not sure what the 2009 figure is, but it is probably a good 20 to 30 percent lower.

Taking the average of the range -- $69,641 in 2007 and $57,838 in 2000 -- this means the housing inflation rate exceeded the overall inflation rate by 5.8 times in 2007, up from 3.3 times in 2000.

That is evidence of the housing bubble whose bursting has thrown us into such a terrible economic condition. It was part of the Bubble Economics that basically has defined the American economy for the past 20 years and that the corporate powers that be were able to create their multi-trillion dollar Ponzi schemes and grand mal thefts.

The Onion's book Our Dumb Century had a headline dated April 7, 1948 about Levittown opening entitled: Antlike Conformity Now Affordable

Yes, it's true the Levittown house are bigger and with more amenities than they were in 1947 -- except perhaps for the one at 2 Flax Lane -- but that does not explain the tremendous housing inflation rate. Look at any municipality in the country and you see this evidence of this bubble.

The worst places for this bubble are in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and other flat, sprawling, arid, mind-numbing parts of the U.S.

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I'm watching the Saturday afternoon "Married, With Children" marathon on TV Land.

Yours truly during a burst of heavy rain at the 2AM hour, Nov. 27, 2009 as I walking back from Cobalt after Thanksgiving and my birthday on the 26th. I went to Cobalt and Windows with Damon and Chris T. That picture was taken in front of the Masonic Temple on 16th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

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I need to finish one of my reports for that contracting job by Monday and several other projects by next weekend. However, I will not be getting paid until the second half of December OR THEREABOUTS and I will be rather late on my rent. The calendar and accountant's visit are working severely against me this month. I'm not sure if eviction proceedings start before 30 days. The fact that it will be the Christmas holiday is good, I suppose, since it means things will move slower.

Even if proceedings are started as early as Dec. 15th (which I don't think they will be but I'm assuming nothing now), I should be able to pay my rent by around Christmas, which will end them -- only to be restarted the next time around. It takes 3 to 4 weeks for a case to get to landlord - tenant court from the time its filed. That would put it at some point in mid-to-late January, which is why I think I'll be OK this time around.

I THINK I will be in better shape in January but I'll probably still have to give up this place in Feb/March time frame, and I've no idea where I'll be going. Things aren't going to turn around and I'm not going to be getting a real, financially sustaining, career affirming job any time soon, if ever.

Oh, yes, it looks like ALL my student loans -- $206,000 -- are consolidated as Direct Loans and I got a one-year economic hardship deferment. By this time next year, I should have discharged my credit card debts in a second bankruptcy, assuming I can afford to file for a chapter 7 by August.

Tonight, I'm going to Chris T's place for our Saturday night dinner party. Tomorrow, I'm seeing my mom and Ray. They are coming into D.C. and we are going to the National Theatre to see the campy musical Jersey Boys.

I was once a Jersey boy -- in that I was a boy in New Jersey in the 1970s and early 1980s.

My next planned update will be some time next week.

--Regulus

Thursday, November 26, 2009

(S)o (H)appy (I)'ve (T)urned 40: Thanksgiving 2009

A picture of yours truly in my bathtub. Actually, it's a picture of Happy the Hippo when he was still at the National Zoo.

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Today I turn, what?, oh, yeah, 40 and I think there is some lesson in this Washington Post story from two weeks ago about how happy Happy the Hippo is in his new Milwaukee County Zoo hippo condo.

It now turns out that he was stressed and unhappy living here in Washington, D.C., which doesn't surprise me at all.

This is a nasty, vicious, empty city of broken dreams where emaciated, bitchy young white women working for "Something Something Solutions, Inc.," or some bullshit NGO, and lawyers in $4,000 Robert Rubin power suits who have fucked the world over a billion times DON'T mix it up with anyone driving aggressively back to Prince George's County from their federal jobs or the angry, belligerent, spitting panhandlers.

In D.C., you seldom actually see in public the big Republican corporate types who run the world. They tend to travel in limos and don't interact at street level.

Looking northeast up New York Avenue, NW, in downtown Washington, D.C., 418PM, Nov. 25, 2009

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As for Northern Virginia, it's just the perfect Frankensteinian mixture of political correctness, religious fundamentalism, gun and death penalty worship, commercial sprawl, and slapped together exurban ugliness to make you want to die.

And the D.C. gayborhood, OH, NEVER MIND ...

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But Washington, D.C., is my home for better or worse in the year 2009. I want to go back to the Jersey shore. I don't think I will be in D.C. a year from now. I know I say that a lot but this next year ... six months ... will be pivotal.

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A picture of the beach at Wildwood Crest, N.J., taken last August.

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No birthday entry would be complete without a reference to Mr. Sirius, so I am FINALLY posting a picture of him that captures his essence:

Moi?

Oh, and here's another picture of him:

This was taken after the new pomade he used didn't work properly. Actually, this looks more like the boyfriend.

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OK, I think that's all. I'll keep this entry short. I'm going to Chris T's place later today rather than to Quill's parents' house in the suburban sanctuary of Silver Spring, Maryland. I'll go there on Christmas if they're there this year, which they may not be.

--Regulus

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reposted Robert Becker Column: "Rogue" Palin Goes P.T. Barnum

A pretty, almost tropical-looking early evening sky over Washington, D.C., as a mild southwesterly flow picked up ahead of a frontal passage and after the rains earlier this week. This is the old Sun Trust building at the corner of 15th Street and New York Avenue (right where the latter begins), caddy-corner to the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW -- yes, that same 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue -- Washington, D.C., 4:32PM, Nov. 25, 2009.

I need to start using the digital camera I was given as a present rather than just my cellphone.

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I had to post this piece by Robert Becker that I read (via Bartcop) that I on the Bush-era liberal political blog The Smirking Chimp. It's a very good piece (in my view), although I think he should have also talked a bit about how "Sister Sarah" also a bit of an updated, rightwing, early 21st Century, female version of William Jennings Bryan.

On a separate note, I have to say I'm so chagrined and disappointed with Obama and everything he is doing.

I am thinking there will be big GOP gains in 2010 precisely because -- as Michael Lind pointed out that column to which I linked in my previous entry and which I am linking to again here -- once again the Republican party will successfully employ an American religio-populist strategy while its ruthless corporate oligarchical heart remains, of course, unchanged.

The Democratic Party is so compromised by its own corporate / Wall Street money dependency, ideological confusion, dysfunctionality, and inability to connect to so many segments of the electorate that it may be heading for a not-wholly-undeserved drubbing next year, but what comes out of that will be even worse for the country's prospects.

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I plan to have an entry posted tomorrow (my 40th birthday ...)

--Regulus

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The Palin Paradox: Rehabilitating A Vengeful, Anti-McCain Rogue Going P.T. Barnum

by Robert Becker | November 24, 2009 - 11:35am

As seen here on The Smirking Chimp

Any would-be rogue politician, hawking vengeance towards her own campaign and grievance against the mass media, all peppered with absurd tall tales, invites parallels to like-minded rogues. Sarah Palin follows the legacy of Richard Nixon (for ruthless ambition, dishonesty), Joe McCarthy (moral crusades, dishonesty), W. (cheerleading, unfitness, dishonesty), and Dick Cheney (demagoguery, dishonesty). On the positive side, Palin parallels Oprah (celebrity, showmanship), Evita (melodrama, populism), Carrie Prejean (sexy rule breaking), and Annie Oakley (folksy spunkiness, defying critics).

Today, beyond winning elections, Sarah Palin wants stardom; her book embraces show personalities; and instinctively, she goes for glitz and duplicity (even lying, to believe McCain and staff). But when did truth (or reality) impede show business, establishing Palin's tour mentor as P.T. Barnum, the 19th C. circus barker and con man, whose outlandish publicity triumphs became the "Greatest Show on Earth," aptly Barnum and Bailey Circus. Palin's circus, with 31 safe stopovers, obeys Barnum's model, "There's a sucker born every minute." Plus adages, "If you hesitate, some bolder hand will stretch out before you and get the prize" and "Without promotion something terrible happens . . . Nothing!"

Now crusading after fame for fame's sake, Palin orchestrates her redemption from humiliated candidate and bizarre Alaska quitter to, well, famous personality. It's a job, though more about shedding than adding milestones. Reinvention, especially made-up, demands producing your own pageant and storyline, again like Barnum, full of hick stunts, hoaxes, and blarney. But note this huge difference: P.T.'s promotional genius had a real, sustainable payoff - immensely entertaining variety shows packed with unpredictable acts, animals, and marvels. With Palin, her splashy, if highly predictable sales come-on is the whole show, with fans hitting the cash register after the spiel.

Ruthless Ambition Isn't Pretty

Barnum got rich and famous promoting others. What is Palin about except Palin? The ultimate cheerleader for self, Norman Mailer's title, Advertisements for Myself, fits alongside Going Rogue. Oddly, in her world, she's anything but ideological rogue, mouthing every Bush-Cheney-Limbaugh cliche like a parrot. Where is the there there, one viable solution, one hobbyhorse, one anything beyond hawking a vindictive book she didn't even write. Jon Stewart's ridicule nails her, "When you peel back the pretty, shooty Palin onion, there's no onion. It's just a conservative boiler plate mad lib . . . And the worst part, it's a mad lib delivered as though it were the hard-earned wisdom of a life well lived . . . [she's] not a straight-shoot, just a talking points machine."

In a year, she gets an F for truancy, per Bob Sesca: "Where Ronald Reagan was a celebrity in the old-Hollywood framework, Palin is a celebrity in the talentless, Balloon Boy, reality show, Prejean, new-Hollywood framework." Palin's rote, mind-numbing mantras (kill taxes, government, health care, and terrorists) only reinforce H.L. Mencken's wisdom, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."


Various versions of this map have shown up over the years. This one is kind of funny. Click on it for larger version.

Even surpassing her "death panels" scare tactics, she thunders (on Limbaugh) about "jail time as punishment" for any refusing health reform. Or fabricates nonsense about God and coinage. Though miraculously freed from McCain bullies and Alaska litigation, Palin's persona is unchanged, with a little less "word salad," yet still the whining victim of scurrilous complaints, persecuted by the mass media, elite intelligentsia, nasty critics, and nameless Obama operatives.

A Star is Re-born, uh, Self-Promoted

Okay, let's concede chutzpah: Palin's book tour buys her stardom in her own Reality Show. Never for fans mere "cynical politician," as Max Blumenthal writes, "but [a] magical helper, the God-fearing glamor girl who parachuted into their backwater towns to lift them from the drudgery of everyday life." In fact, she parachutes into the ultimate fantasy for every narcissistic ex-sports broadcaster or beauty contestant: a fabulous, multi-city, one-woman pageant about the star.

With authorized script, she's not just the star, but producer, director, cashier, and promoter railing against the "lame-stream press." Beside scrappiness and sex appeal, fans also get her marvelous way with words, like repeating "back-assward" for everything liberal. Trumping bad notices, she locks out critics, then dismisses these faithless as "shallow" and "lonely," in need of Sister Sarah's prayers.

Rogue Crusade: "Vengeance is Mine"

And then there's the book, full of sensationalized sneering and disloyal abuse heaped on the very hard-pressed campaigners who made her a star - and she claims McCain's staff sabotaged HER. Not only does Palin's stark betrayal invite party payback, what better born-again Christian lesson - no good deed goes unpunished. Even worse, think circular irony: Palin's depiction of these (alleged) mean-spirited, dimwitted McCain Keystone Cops confirms we all surely lucked out by rejecting her team, in effect endorsing the socialist Obama's election. If McCain pros couldn't reign in one willful pit bull, would they do any better than Bush-Cheney's White House?

Ha ha

This is epic, vindictive infighting: no losing V.P. pick ever so viciously bit the hand that fed her. Did Palin forget her name, for all of history, is half of the dishonored ticket? This hissing Cinderella will offend, not win party kudos. Thus, thus top Republican Gov. Haley Barbour four times refused to answer Chris Matthews' direct interrogation, "Is Palin qualified to be president"? Born-again as disruptive rogue means Palin gets the '12 GOP nomination over fat cat dead bodies: this loose cannon is no plaint W.

Fame, finally, as rogue politician

With fitting logic, Palin's self-serving, roughshod demolition of fellow Republicans exemplify every negative dictionary meaning implied by Going Rogue: 1. Vicious and solitary (animal, rogue elephant). 2. Large, destructive, or unpredictable (a rogue wave; a rogue tornado). 3. Outside normal, desirable controls (rogue trader). In this sense, Palin contradicts Barnum's brilliance at organization and complex joint ventures feeding his vast, varied productions. Does a prospective president shoot her ex-running mate and campaign team in the foot without injuring herself?

Unlike Palin, P.T. Barnum was never an aggrieved victim, indeed he forever proclaimed himself master of his fate. Yet even he would not have survived 23% favorability ratings, 52% refusing "to vote for him," or 60% judging him unfit to lead (actual Palin poll numbers). So, while no ideological rogue in the good mavericky sense, Palin the touring mercenary qualifies as monumental, disruptive political rogue, going out of her way to burn party bridges.

You tell me how "going rogue" vindictively, with only 23% national support and zero solutions, advances anyone's political rehabilitation. This tour could well be her public pinnacle. Instead, Palin should return to safer, evangelical roots, hustling for heaven and pandering to the converted. This weekend alone earned this blessing from Billy Graham's son, Franklin, "Daddy feels God was using her to wake America up." Yes, just ask the battered, awakened McCain and staff how God works in mysterious ways.
_______
Robert Becker

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Updated: Thanksgiving 2012, I mean, 2009 -OR- Turkey! Turkey! Turkey!

**REVISED and UPDATED with changed entry title**

Screen shot of 2012 movie trailer.

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OK, I'm updating this again at 3AM 11/25/2009 ...



The SNL parody in question is included in this MSNBC "Countdown" segment, the full 7 minute 10 second clip of which I have embedded and which I have a feeling won't be removed because it involves NBC. The clip in question is during the first three minutes.

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Entry as before (in case the above clip is removed) ...

UPDATED: Saturday Night Live's "Sarah Palin 2012" spoof was hysterical. I have decided to not try to bother embedding it again -- the fuckers at YouTube are like Nazis when it comes to embedding anything. If their fucking lawyers had their way, they would suck all the air out of every human being on this planet because "that air molecule was previously used and therefore is copyrighted." Fuck them.

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I have been trying to finish up some assignments but I don't see how I'm going to be able to pay my rent before at least Dec. 19th, and possible the week before Christmas and New Year's, which would probably result in me being temporarily on an eviction list. That whole process takes about a month, though, and I should be caught up for January. Whether I can hang on here into the spring is unknown. Oh, yes, the place on Longfellow Street is not available.

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Pearls Before Swine ... (click on images for larger versions)

Nov. 16, 2009

Nov. 17, 2009 ...

I never really listened to Art Bell's show. Maybe I should have.

Nov. 18, 2009 ...

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Weather Update ...

The weather the past two days has been showery, gray, and cool. Yesterday, IAD actually crossed over its annual average of 41.80" and today DCA (just barely) crossed its annual average of 39.35."

DCA climograph for 2009 through Nov. 23, 2009

IAD climograph for 2009 through Nov. 23, 2009

BWI is just about 47" (not sure the exact amount), but it is well above its annual average of 41.94", having past its annual average on or about Aug. 28th. BWI may end up with a 50" year -- which would be the 20th time in the full-Baltimore record stretching back to 1871 and includes the pre-BWI years when the official records where kept at the Baltimore Whore Custom House.

BWI climograph through Nov. 23, 2009 (BWI received nearly 0.90" of rainfall in the wee hours of this morning after midnight.)

The wettest year ever for Baltimore was 62.66" in 2003.

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Read this Michael Lind column that appeared yesterday on Salon.com. Lind has always been among my favorite political philosophers.

He writes in a unique way from a thought-provoking, albeit dense perspective. This one has to do with whether American populism can again be "liberal " (as it last was during the New Deal) or will the GOP hijack it again because the Democratic Party leadership (including Obama) are so wedded to Wall Street and progressives simply do not connect in any meaningful ways to the American working class?

The question, alas, answers itself.

Think Sarah Palin -- our country's new William Jennings Bryan -- and Glenn Beck, not to mention Lou Dobbs and the tea baggers -- and big 2010 losses for Democrats, again


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That's all for now. I should have a better entry up on Thanksgiving, which this year also doubles as my, er, 40th birthday.

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UPDATED (2), 1130PM 11/24/2009

AMBER! AMBER! AMBER! (Or is it TORA! TORA! TORA!?)

Here is the Columbia, South Carolina (CAE) NWS Forecast Office Web page screen shot showing its current county warning area (CFA) advisories.

***Please call EITHER Nancy Grace OR your National Weather Service office in Columbia, S.C., if you see Little Taylee at any mall or gas station in the Greater Greenville-Spartenburg area, and not law enforcement.***

--Regulus

Monday, November 23, 2009

Still a very difficult time for me ...

Yours truly on Friday night (well, actually Saturday morning), at Phil and Stephanie's-hosted joint birthday party, Washington, D.C., 1:09AM, Nov. 21, 2009; This is a red balloon and a NEW (as yet unnamed) PLUSH HIPPO that Stephanie got me that joins my stuffed animal menagerie.

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I apologize for the lack of an update, including about my Friday night joint birthday party. Concerning that party, at the present time, I do not have any pictures to post except a few of my crummy cellphone camera ones. Of note, one of my friends got me a nice digital camera but I will not be able to use it for a few days.

More generally, I will probably not be updating this blog until Wed. or so. This is going to be a difficult week for me. I sent an email to the head of the company for which I do my contracting work. This is a follow up to the "we only want to pay you every three to four weeks to 1 month or more, maybe" phone conversation I had on Thursday that so upset me.

However, this is also Thanksgiving holiday week with my actual 40th birthday falling on the holiday, and I have some plans, but not my usual sort.

The picture on the left is the result of yet another culling of my journal -- this time of a particular set of print outs related to my four my blogs (two existing, two deleted) from early April 2007 through about two weeks ago. I am now throwing them out. Good.

--Regulus

P.S. I may be shipping much of my stuff down to Florida to my father's place even as I stay here -- in preparation for any eviction proceedings early next year.

Friday, November 20, 2009

FINALLY: Financial Breaking Point Reached

Point Reyes National Seashore, California

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I'm in a difficult situation as the contracting job turns to pure shit ... Actually, it's a question of the payment schedule, which the office administrator wants to draw out by weeks, months, even years, and paying me represents some enormous burden on her personally. Needless to say, I cannot live that way and I am going to go to the head of the company.

Deep sea sailing

Also, my relationship with that company may not last much longer. Finally, I have decided (again) to move out of this apt. (only this time I am more sure about it). However, the place I want to move may or may not be available. Things are finally reaching the nadir that they have been tending and trending toward for a long time. I have a feeling 2010 is going to be my rock bottom year. Whether I recover from it or not is not clear.

I have December rent of $953 to pay that I can't pay until as late as early January -- based on that proposed new pay schedule.

I have $460 in immediate cable, internet, and phone bills for two months that I cannot pay, or rather that would eliminate entirely the $490 I am supposed to get later today. As for the "agreements" totaling $155 per month I reached, with $45 due this month and $155 next month, I simply cannot pay them and judgments are goind to have to be taken out.

On the work issue, I would have to finish four medium to big assignments by Wednesday morning just to be able to pay my rent by Dec. 20th.

Then there is the student loan situation -- completely nonsensical. Recall I owe a combined $206,000+ (and rising) with $303 due in Direct Loans and a combined $1200+ due on my Citibank loans. Recall I am trying to consolidate everything into an even bigger Direct Loans loan while simultaneously putting everything into a hardship deferment.

Needless to say, all of this is completely unbearable and has run its fucking course. I have reached my financial breaking point, and I'm ready to move from this dusty cubby hole.

The Milky Way Galactic Center (somewhere in there is our central supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*), photo taken (and truncated) from the Nov. 11, 2009 Astronomy Picture of the Day here.

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Anyway, I have to get ready now for my joint birthday party for Eric M. and me at Phil and Stephanie's tonight. I was up all night finishing a report -- I actually like staying up in the wee hours like that -- and didn't get to bed until 845AM and got up at 130PM. Phew.

That's all for now.

God Bless These United States of America and all the teabaggers of Beck - Bachmann - Palin "YOU BETCHA!" GOP crazies and corporate criminals and dysfunctional Senate and the President who is all talk and no action. (Is it any wonder his approval rating is under 50 percent now?)

Oh, yes, Ray, my mom's husband and my stepfather had bad chest pains earlier today and is in the hospital right now but I think he is going to be fine.

--Regulus

Updated: SHOCKER: The Washington shitty elites lead by the criminal running dogs of corporate intrigue at The WaHoPo Editorial Board and Cokie "The Bitch" Roberts suffered, even if temporarily, a RARE DEFEAT in Congress. This is worth noting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wee Hours Dream Time Entry ...


Here my baby hippo, Flippo, cooks his Chunky sirloin soup with mashed potatoes mixed in.

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I will update this blog in a day or two. I updated my Arcturus blog -- even as I was watching this PBS-aired show on new theories in human evolution. Good stuff.

As for me, eh, I'm still a mess. I haven't yet evolved beyond anything ... and don't think I will.

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Speaking of evolve ...

"Married, With Children" screen shot

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I've decided that with the Senate unable / unwilling to pass ANY health care, climate, or financial reform legislation, America is basically a version of an episode of Married, With Children only less funny.

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Here is a candle atop the ice cream and cookies that I got as a dessert at Kinkead's (see previous entry), Nov. 14, 2009.

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Did I mention the weird other-worldly dream I had?? It's a recurring dream every 2 to 3 weeks with the same theme: I am flying through room after room in some strange city that is Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and the upper Jersey shore, looking toward New York City ...

... except its set in the "far future" centuries or millennia hence.

This time I was able to go outside through restaurant (or gym) windows while ascending tier upon tier toward some miles' high skyscrapers as jubilation dawn broke.

It's a dream of joy, I guess, except it starts with me in a terrible fight at a large Catholic mass.

I sort of look forward to that dream.

My next entry will be Friday or Saturday. I am probably going to end up on the eviction list of my apt. building, at least temporarily, for December as I will not be able to pay my rent until around Dec. 17th. I won't be able to continue this beyond late January / early February if I don't find regular work. I guess going to Florida to my dad's place would be my only option, but I don't see how.

--Regulus

Monday, November 16, 2009

Friday and Saturday Night Photographic Finale

Left to right: Yours Truly (me -- and looking at big as a house), Gloria, Gary, and Damon at Buffalo Billiards, Washington, D.C., Friday night, Nov. 13, 2009 with those random old signs that are on the walls.

As an aside, I have no idea what Wyatt Lumber & Coal Company and its "Not a Kick in a Million ---" motto (I didn't notice it until I saw this picture) nor the San Felice cigars (except I managed to find it online) with their motto "For Gentlemen of Good Taste." There's even a Castor Oil sign in another part of the place.

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The pictures in this entry are from this past Friday and Saturday night, and as usual, it is quite clear which ones I took versus others (in this case, Gloria and Kevin) took.

Left to right: Yours truly (me), Gloria, Gary, Chris T., and Aimee, Buffalo Billiards, Washington, D.C., Friday night, Nov. 13, 2009.

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The first set of pictures were taken by Gloria, who earlier this Sunday returned to Lima for her last seven months before her assignment there is finished and she'll be back in D.C. She and Kristof should both be back by this time in 2010. The problem for me is I don't know if I'll be here at my current financial / career / life trajectory.

The extended gang from above and also including Phil, Damon, Oliver, and Reed, but minus Gary, Buffalo Billiards, Washington, D.C., Friday night, Nov. 13, 2009.

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Yours truly (the small guy in baggy clothes) and Damon with Gary in the background, Buffalo Billiards, Washington, D.C., Friday night, Nov. 13, 2009,

To paraphrase Kristof: Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh.

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Yours Truly (left, looking kind weird) and Damon (right), Buffalo Billiards, Washington, D.C., Friday night, Nov. 13, 2009

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Left to right: Damon, Yours Truly, Gary, and Eric M., at the new back - back bar at Buffalo Billiards, Washington, D.C., Friday night, Nov. 13, 2009

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Left to right front: Eric, Gloria, and Yours Truly and Damon in the back, Buffalo Billiards, Washington, D.C., Friday night, Nov. 13, 2009

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The next set of pictures were taken Saturday night, Nov. 14, 2009 at Kinkead's: An American Brassiere Brasserie, an upscale, rather pricey seafood restaurant. The dinner guests featured four couples -- Eric and Amy, Kevin and Laura, Aaron and Megan, and Phil and Stephanie -- and me.

I walked to Kinkead's from my place and actually got lost, which I almost never do in D.C. The place has an address of 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, except it's really on I Street in the confusing cross-section of streets creating by the diagonal of Pennsylvania Avenue and the "dog leg" of I Street between 20th and 21st Streets at the edge of the Foggy Bottom section of D.C.


For some reason, the interior upstairs booths sort of reminded me of a really expensive diner in New Jersey, except diners in New Jersey tend mostly to be relatively cheap.

A plate at Kinkead's Restaurant, Washington, D.C., Saturday night, Nov. 14, 2009

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OF COURSE I didn't pay for anything as I had, like, $6 on me and my sad ATM debit card, even though Kevin announced early on in the dinner that I would be covering EVERYBODY'S tab. It was a birthday dinner afterall. That aside, I'm still rather broke in a worrisome way but I'm not going to go into that right now.

The table at Kinkead's ... That's a picture of Eric (center), Aaron (left) and Laura (left). It was a joint dinner party for Eric and me, as we share the very same birthday / birth date, Nov. 26th, and we turn 40. Our joint birthday bash is at Phil and Stephanie's next Friday night, Nov. 20th.

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This was a young couple at a table near us at Kinkeads, Washington, D.C., Saturday night, Nov. 14, 2009.

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The group of pictures were taken by Kevin on his much superior cellphone camera.

Stephanie and Yours Truly, Kinkead's Restaurant, 10:32PM, Nov. 14, 2009

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Here are two more entitled Study of an Alcoholic ...

Flash-version

Actually, this is a picture of me chugging what was actually an empty bottle at that point of Jester wine, Kinkead's Restaurant, as seen with the camera flash.

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No Flash-version

The same as above but with no flash. This version seems more poignant, or maybe appropriate.

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Kinkead's after everyone else in the backroom had left except for our table, 10:27PM, Nov. 14, 2009. The place had a weird retro look to it.

The dish I had was Pepita crusted salmon with Cilantro, chiles, crab, shrimp and corn ragout was excellent. I know precisely what I had because server brought me and Eric a little lighted candle atop our ice cream desert and a bag included a coffee mug and a copy of the menu with the words "Happy Birthday!!!" written atop it.

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That concludes my Friday and Saturday night pictures. The rains from last week ended with 1.89" at DCA, 1.74" at BWI, and 1.73" at IAD -- decent but nothing compared to the 5 to 10+ inches of rain and 50+MPH winds in the Norfolk / Tidewater area.

These are few of the LWX Sterling main Web page screen shots I had left over from the nor'easter last week. The "CFA" (County Warning Area) isn't usually so county-by-county colorfully illustrated ...

LWX home page screen shot, 4:54PM, Nov. 12, 2009

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LWX home page screen shot, 10:20PM, Nov. 12, 2009

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LWX home page screen shot, 4:38PM, Nov. 13, 2009

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This picture below is significant because it was the first time all week I was out of the house before sunset.

1800 block New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 4:59PM, Nov. 13, 2009.

The location is also significant because I used to live at 1833 New Hampshire Avenue in the Harrowgate, a former William C. Smith & Co., building that is now part of the Keener Management yuppie empire.

That was during my D.C. "heyday" early 2001 - late 2003. I now live in the 2000 block of New Hampshire Avenue in what is still a William C. Smith building here in D.C., post 2004-disaster and possibly for not much longer.

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That's about all for now. I have a lot of work to do this week (again) and I will probably not be updating this blog until late in the week.

As for the Friday evening joint birthday party, I have invited about 7 or 8 people in addition to the ones on the invitation list, plus I meant to invite a couple others (including you, Mike G, if you're around). Alas, Kristof and Gloria cannot be there.

--Regulus