Friday, December 31, 2010

Out With the Old -OR- 2010: The Year We Didn't Make Contact

Morning surf along an unidentified beach.

Note: The pictures in this entry are mostly natural scene images I retrieved off the internet.

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I just wanted to post a quick update this blog ahead of the arrival of 2011.

I'm supposed to go to Rockville later this afternoon to see D. (my friend from work) and his wife and young son. I'm visiting their house and then going to dinner with them -- at least that's the plan. Then I'm returning into D.C. around 730PM-ish and may briefly see K.

As for where I'll be at the actual midnight hour, I don't know. I may go to College Park to Gerry's party along with Kristof and Gary. But J. wanted to go to another house party -- this guy that we worked with briefly during that "shit show" of a temporary Census job (through which I also met J.).

One of these days I'll have to write about just how ridiculous, even farcical, was that whole temporary "group quarters" Census enumeration.

But I desperately needed the money at the time as the 1099 independent contracting job for the Japanese turkey farm / intellectual sweat shop -- a borderline criminal operation -- in Bethesda was already ending and my current job had not yet started.

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As for tonight, I probably won't go to Cobalt tonight. Last night, it was mobbed and ended up going with Gary and J. to Windows.

A sunlit tropical coral reef (don't touch anything!) off Sulawesi, Indonesia.

I suppose this is where I should write reflections on 2010 -- a year in which there was at least a temporary major change for the better in my personal life as a result of the job I got, but also an emotionally and physically draining year as I really started to feel my age (now 41), in particular because I live such an empty, unhealthy, and problematic existence here in Washington, D.C., the Capital of the Empire with no past and no future.

As for the job, I fully realize it could end rather abruptly -- in which case my D.C. "reprieve" (if that's what it is) would end quite quickly and I'd probably leave Washington to live with my dad within a few months. I have no money or savings of any sort.

Even with a suddenly decent income, I live paycheck to paycheck with no reserves and massive debt -- in other words, EXACTLY what this monstrous and ruthless corporate capitalist "free will" economy and country want.

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A lone fisherman fishes in the turbulent surf on a sunny day. The source Web site states this picture was taken May 20, 2007 and, I'm going to guess, in California, but I'm not sure.

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2010 was also the year I realized that I will not be here in D.C. beyond about 5 more years if things remain as they are. I don't want to live and slowly but steadily die here, an unhappy denizen of the vapid and empty 17th Street gayborhood. My world reached a sort of shrunken D.C. bubble state wherein its a big deal even for me to go to to the Maryland or Virginia suburbs, never mind to Europe. And the South Pacific or Australia might as well be on another planet.

As for leaving D.C., the problem, as ever, is where would I go.

I can envision a scenario by 2015 in which I'm living with him by the beach in Delaware -- since he wants to move back up this way from Florida in 2011 -- and my mom is somewhere in Cape May County, N.J., with Ray, also not far from the ocean.

Jersey shore at low tide.

2010 was a year in which I got to be much closer to my mom in a way that I was not as a teenager or even when in my 20s and 30s.

As for my dad down in Florida, he just kept on keepin' on ... and that's good. He turns 70 (!) next month. That's a scary thought.

Costa Rica seaside resort (not sure where).

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As for the weather, it was a thoroughly and profoundly shitty year here in Washington, D.C.

Yes, we had the three snowstorms -- blizzards, I dare say -- last winter including one in December 2009 and two in February 2010. But then we had a basically violent and rapid transition from winter to a hellishly / record hot summer. And we've been "chasing rain" for months now with below average precip.

For the record -- and assuming no measurable precip total (which there won't be), here are the final stats at the three regional airports:

DCA:
2010: 34.78"
1971 - 2000 Normal: 39.35"
Departure: -4.57"

BWI:
2010: 43.47"
1971 - 2000 Normal: 41.94"
Departure: +1.53"

IAD:
2010: 39.10"
1971 - 2000 Normal: 41.80"
Departure: -2.70"

Of note, the NWS 30-year averages will be updated next year to reflect the period 1981 - 2010.

Finally, last week's meteorological shit show in which EVERYBODY in the mid-Atlantic and New England, and, hell, even in the Southeast, had a snowstorm -- even blizzard -- on or the day after Christmas EXCEPT the D.C./Baltimore area was one of the more obnoxious slaps in the face.

The D.C. White Christmas Weekend That Wasn't ...

Here was the Dec. 26, 2010 snow and ice cover map for North America from NOAA -- note the hole of no snow that includes the Baltimore / Washington area.

Thank Ya, Lord.

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There was never a cool and wet period of the sort I love -- just heavy snow to intense heat and droughtiness to a cold but dryish late fall and the big Christmas snowbust.

The Sterling LWX arrogant egotists and the giant-headed, slurping Doug Hill (why in the hell did Bob Ryan go over to channel 7 with him??) and Sue "Snake Eyes" Palka -- not to mention the dumb public -- were happy, though. I guess that's all that matters.

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Politically, it was a shitty American year of a sort not that uncommon in this country with the GOP -- which should have been in exile and oblivion for a generation -- roaring back to power.

This was thanks to a combination of Democratic / Obama corporate sell-out wussiness and failure and Tea Baggers -- the late 2000's/ early 2010's version of America's episodic eruptions of ignorant Jacksonian populism that the forces of "reactionary intrigue" (think the Koch Brothers and related to that, Dick Armey's FreedomWorks operation) ruthlessly exploited that for at least a quick electoral trouncing.

Most maddeningly, Obama seems weirdly pleased about the "shellacking" the Democratic Party took. I have this awful sense that he actually likes it when Republicans are surging and he and his side are "shellacked." But he gets very prickly angry when the liberal Democratic base fails to praise him in sufficiently worshipful ways.

How depressing.

Maybe it is true --as I sometimes hear and read -- that just too much of America is ideologically such a right-tilted and religious country, doped up on its particularly wacky brand of fundamentalism that it cheerleads as the corporate oligarchical overclass and ever-metastasizing surveillance and police state with its amorphous, ever-shifting, but ultimately permanent "War on Terror" turns everything into a kind of happy-faced 1984 world.

And maybe it's true we can never have a progressive Democratic "renaissance" and reform period. But it would be so nice if once ... just once ... our side actually tried.

Maybe we would've lost 67 seats instead of 62 or 63 seats -- but it sure would've been better to go down swinging like that instead of having fucking Robert Rubin / Larry Summers / Rahm Emanuel with all its corporate whoring sell-out and GOP-lite behavior.

I suspect Obama will win reelection because the useless American economy will be slightly better than it is now and the GOP will nominate a crazy or Sarah Palin will split the vote. He'll "win" with something like 48 to 46 percent of the popular vote and an electoral college advantage of approximately 3o to 50.

Well, this entry turned out longer -- and much more angry and hateful sounding -- than I thought. But, hey, I live in Washington, D.C., the Seat of Falling Empire (to again use an Asimovian turn of phrase), at the end of 2010 and that's the way it goes.

I still plan to post another entry tomorrow, probably including what I wrote on my Arcturus blog about my latest topic of interest -- the New Horizons probe on its way to Pluto and the whole Pluto / dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt discussion. Yes, I know this isn't a new topic but I've become more interested in it.

New Horizons is now half way on its 9-1/2 year journey to Pluto / Charon with fly-by anticipated in mid-July 2015.

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See and talk to you on the other side of the New Year.
Peace,

--Regulus

Monday, December 27, 2010

D.C. Snow Job -OR- A Classic Washington-Style Snowstorm Screw

I planned a very vitrolic and bitter entry over the blizzard we MISSED TOTALLY ...


However, since my mom and others read this blog, and given what a delightful set of comments
Fifi posted in my last entry, I'm just going to post a few pictures, including three more from my Christmas Eve dinner at the Chart House in Annapolis, Md., such as the above one of her, myself, and Gary outside the restaurant.

Ray took all three images.

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While I won't post my vitrolic entry, I will write a little bit of what I intended. The topic is the East Coast blizzard that struck from the Delmarva to coastal Maine.

First, we didn't get squat in terms of snow here in Washington, D.C. -- both in the District of Columbia and the larger Baltimore / Washington area, or however the hell the Census Bureau refers to this region.

We actually had a situation where even frickin' Northampton and Accomack Counties, Virginia were under blizzard warnings while D.C. had NO advisories.

This storm was similar to the Feb. 1978 blizzard that I experienced in New Jersey at age 8.

A similar amount fell in coastal Monmouth County including Long Branch, on the order of 20 to 25 inches while D.C. got very little. Actually, in that storm I think DCA received about 2 inches, which was more than in this case.

This time, I don't even think there was measurable snowfall at DCA, and even if there was, I don't give a damn the actual amount.

Here was the NWS grid point forecast for Long Branch, N.J. -- my home town -- as it appeared on the Mt. Holly NWS forecast office Website 7:43AM, Dec. 26, 2010.

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Here was the NWS grid point forecast for South Amboy, N.J. -- my mom's home town -- as it appeared on the Mt. Holly NWS forecast office Website 7:43AM, Dec. 26, 2010.

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I'm very pissed off and unhappy about this, and I had a very cranky and bitter entry planned. In particular, I wanted to relate why I can't stand Sterling LWX (that's the Baltimore / Washington NWS Forecast Office) and how they embody Washington, D.C.'s "official culture" -- arrogant, self-righteous, highly legalistic, and "never wrong." They're the equivalent of The Washington Post Editorial Board in a number of ways.

The Mt. Holly / Philadelphia NWS County Warning Area (CWA) Webpage as it appeared at 3:34PM Dec. 26, 2010. The adjacent CWAs -- including Sterling's -- is visible. This was shortly after Sterling LWX had eagerly and with much titillation and glee dropped even the winter weather advisory for the District of Columbia.

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The NWS radar at Fort Dix, N.J.("DIX" -- not to be confused with the NWS radar at Dover AFB that is known by its three-letter abbreviation "DOX") in standard reflectivity mode, 4:51PM, Dec. 26, 2010. This was as the storm was nearing peak intensity and the central low was located off the Jersey coast by about 75 to 100 miles.

DIX-DOX.

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Anyway, I just don't want to be in D.C. anymore. I'm so stuck here and it's such an unhappy and isolating place for me ... living in such a tiny and isolating bubble (the 17th Street gayborhood) as I do ... here in center of the Imperial Capital of this late stage, badly fraying, and increasingly corporatist, oligarchical, militaristic and surveillance-obsessed, declining Empire.

I'm sure that above sentence will end up being "content analyzed" at some "fusion center". Good.

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Two more Annapolis Chart House images from Dec. 24th ...

My mom (left), Gary (center), and myself (right). We had just sat down but the Sun was shining so brightly that I traded places with my mom, who had sunglasses. Yes, Gary's eyes are closed but I happened to like this picture so I posted it anyway.

After we traded places and the Sun had set.

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Anyway, this stupid episode was on par with other huge snowless disappointments here over the years including a New Years Eve one some years ago (can't recall what year and I don't feel like researching it). What is so frustrating is to invest a full 7 days of time and emotional energy in this -- all the worse in that it was at Christmas time, with its hope / promise of a "white Christmas" -- including viewing all the models and radar all to have it turn to shit.

GOD is delighted, though, or at least "pleased" because someone somewhere is upset.

1708 and 1710 P Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 4:52PM, Dec. 26, 2010, one of the endless array of row houses in the District of Columbia.

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There are TWO bits of good news from this whole shitty event ...

First, with no snow, there's no need to watch it turn into a gloppy, disgusting, difficult to navigate mess here in the city as it melts away ...

1819 S Street, NW, at the corner of Swann Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 6:08PM, Dec. 26, 2010. Yes, that was about the "height" of the pathetic snowfall we had -- just a coating on the ground.

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Secondly, the weather is going to warm up and there isn't ANY chance of another frickin' snowstorm / similar weather system for at least 10 days (through the realistic forecast period), but instead the pattern is going to change to a warmer one. If anything falls, it will be rain, and that's fine with me.

This about the "snowiest" that it looked last night as seen from 17th Street, NW, looking south toward R Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 6:43PM, Dec. 26, 2010.

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While I am NOT posting ANY blizzard pictures in the actual affected areas from the Dec. 26 - 27, 2010 East Coast blizzard -- if you want to find that, it's just a Google search away -- I would like to post this Vimeo video showing a time lapse of the blizzard in someone's backyard in Belmar, New Jersey. This is also in coastal Monmouth County, not far from where I grew up in the 1970s and spent my summers in the 1980s ...

The Blizzard We DIDN'T Get ...

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

Interestingly, it starts at midday. These things usually seem to begin in the wee hours.

Thank you to my friend Joe S. called my attention to this.

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I do hope very much to move away from Washington, D.C., and back to the shore area -- whether South Jersey, Delaware, or South Florida -- within 5 years (and sooner if I'm abruptly and without warning fired). One way or another. I don't want to live out the remainder of my life, however long or short, in Washington, D.C.

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OK, I think that's about all. It's Monday night and I'm watching the marathon of The Golden Girls on WeTv.

Speaking of which ... here is a Golden Girls quote that I didn't even know existed since it had been deleted from both the Lifetime and Hallmark / We TV versions:

Mr. Allen, the art museum director: "Goodbye, Mrs. Petrillo. Sorry you didn't have an opportunity to experience our museum. I'd LOVE for you to see my MOST PRIZED acquisition: A MAGNIFICENT pair of Gauguins."

Sophia: "WHAT ARE YOU, A PERVERT?? I WAS MARRIED FOR 45 YEARS, I NEVER EVEN SAW MY HUSBAND'S GOGANS!"

Ha ha

Link here

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OK, that's all for now. My next planned update probably won't be until Wed./Thur.

--Regulus

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Maryland Christmas Eve 2010 -OR- Washington to Baltimore to Annapolis (and back)

A bright winter morning beneath a blue sky with the sunlight filtered through the bare forest along a stretch of Stevenson Rd., Severn, Md., 11:15AM, Dec. 24, 2010. I was in the car with my mom returning from the Lowe's.

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CLARIFICATION: This entry was initially written between 1230PM and 130PM yesterday -- on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2010, but I did not actually post it until over 24 hours later, around 3PM on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2010.

It was about my trek up to Baltimore on the train and then down to Glen Burnie on the light rail and then my night and Christmas Even morning with my mom and Ray, including at their place in Millersville.

My mom at the Chart House restaurant, Annapolis, Md., 3:34PM, Dec. 24, 2010.

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Later on Friday, I had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner with my mom, Ray, and Gary at the Chart House in Annapolis and then an OK Christmas Eve itself back in D.C. with my friends. I say "OK" because it mostly just entailed me at Cobalt with the usual outcome. But I was there with a whole gang of friends -- Gary, Gerry, Kristof, and even LP.

The marina in Annapolis as seen from the wooden plank pier walkway to the Chart House's main entrance -- yes, the place is actually on a pier -- at 2:42PM, Dec. 24, 2010. The restaurant did not open until 3PM and it was frickin' gusty and cold on that drafty, rickety walkway.

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The Chart House interior, Annapolis, Md., 4:35PM, Dec. 24, 2010. Yes, that was a big man. And his companion had on a colorful red and green hat.

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I am including some of the Chart House dinner pictures EVEN THOUGH they were taken after I started this entry. I'm doing that because I already started this entry and uploaded the first batch of pictures and it would be too time-consuming to re-resize and recrop them from my Hotmail account and then re-upload them. It's easier just to do it this way.

The 6Z 25 Dec 2010 GFS showing MSLP, 850mb temps, and 6 hr precip valid at 0Z 27 Dec 2010 (7PM EST Dec. 26, 2010).

Lastly, the on again, off again, on again, off again snow event is back ON, sort of*, as the GFS has been consistent in its last few runs in giving the D.C./ Baltimore area a significant snowfall in the 4 to 6 inch range tomorrow into Monday.

*The 12Z GFS has just come out and it ISN'T as impressive for us as the 6Z run but I'll keep the above image anyway.

The weather models (GFS, NAM, EMCWF) have really been flip-flopping, and in the case of the NAM, in some cases it hasn't even shown an East Coast storm.

As it is, it now looks like there will be a major winter storm along the mid-Atlantic and into New England, where southeastern Massachusetts may get an outright blizzard.

OH, and as an afterthought, it's actually SNOWING lightly on CHRISTMAS MORNING here in Washington, D.C., as the first northern stream impulse swings through. This is NOT the main coastal low.

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From yesterday ...

This is a not-so-quick entry from my mom and Ray's place in Millersville, Md., where I spent last night as part of short Christmas time visit. I'm actually here for just a very brief visit -- I arrived yesterday and I'm leaving in a little while. We are going to Annapolis to the Chart House for a Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, and Gary is joining us.

The MARC trains at Union Station, Washington, D.C., 4:00PM, Dec. 23, 2010.

I was hurrying to catch the 4:13PM MARC Camden Line to Baltimore. I got off work early -- at 2PM -- as the Federal Government and many of its contracting companies closed.

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So I managed to make it to Christmas while still being employed at my current job, which I actually like quite a bit. My worry is that things seem to be somewhat unstable there -- for reasons I don't want to go into now. Remember, if I lose that job, my D.C. life would pretty much be over.

The old and basically abandoned Washington Coliseum -- better known as the Uline Coliseum -- that was once home to the now-defunct Washington Lions hockey team and where concerts -- including a 1964 Beatles one -- were held in a crappy part of Capitol Hill near Gallaudet Univ.

I didn't even know it was called this but fortunately my old ADC atlas shows the place as red dot #7 on the downtown Washington inset. I always thought it would make a good night club venue.

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The MARC Camden Line train, car 7792, heading from D.C. to Baltimore, somewhere in a particularly forlorn stretch of "suburban Maryland" between the two great cities. Time: 4:31PM, Dec. 23, 2010.

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This is not a trek I have made for many years, but back in the 1990s, I used to do it quite often. The train slowed down (as it always does) as it entered a particularly blown-out section of southwest Baltimore called Carroll Park and Washington Village -- but that the locals refer to as Pigtown.

The MARC train -- lead engine no. 24 -- idling at the end of the line in Baltimore's Camden Yards located next to the baseball stadium on one side and the light rail stop of same name. The train tracks just dead end here on a separate line from the main northeast corridor route that the MARC Penn Line (to Baltimore's uptown Penn Station) and Amtrak trains follow.

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When I arrived, it was bitterly blustery cold (OK, maybe the air temperature of about 35F would not qualify as "bitter" but the wind was gusting to 20 - 25MPH and it felt frickin' cold) as I waited for a Light Rail to Cromwell Plaza in Glen Burnie.

The Baltimore skyline, as seen in a photo taken by my cellphone camera, from Camden Yards on a cold December night, 5:21PM, Dec. 23, 2010.

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Most significantly, though, when I stepped off the MARC train, there was the nearby Baltimore skyline with its illuminated skyline that what it lacks in soaring American city-style skyscrapers (the tallest building is the Legg Mason Building at 529 feet / 40 stories) it makes up for in an aesthetically pleasing "post-modernistic" eclecticism. The Wikipedia article is quite useful on this topic.

Here is a full daytime view of the Baltimore skyline from across the Inner Harbor.

For reasons I never fully figured out, when I used to take that train ride into Baltimore, and see its skyline, I would always think of the climactic scene in Logan's Run when the city computer asks Logan 5:

"Did You Find Sanctuary?"

And Logan 5 replies:

"There is no Sanctuary."

After a little bit of this, the city computer explodes, as does much of the domed city itself, opening up to reveal the post-apocalyptic, abandoned and overgrown world with Peter Ustinov's character -- which Logan 5 and his companion Jessica 6 found in an otherwise empty and reforesting Washington, D.C. (!) standing there, the first old person they ever saw.

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Baltimore.

I'll ride back with him and be in D.C. for Christmas Eve and tonight and we'll do whatever (probably Cobalt and another bar and then go to the tail end of midnight mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral.

Anyway, I had to wait in the freezing windy cold of early darkness for the damn light rail.

The MTA light rail actually has several lines including one that goes to BWI Airport station and another that runs on a spur to Penn Station.

Naturally, every combination came in those agonizingly long 20 minutes I had to wait except the one I needed.

The one I wanted was the main route that runs from Hunt Valley to Cromwell Plaza in Glen Burnie -- a distance of about 27 miles.

Here is the system map. Click on it for a larger readable version or go here.

The route I took follows a strange route through a blown out section of south Baltimore into northern Anne Arundel County, but I won't go into detail on that now.

The Light Rail system is really showing its age. It is vintage 1980s state of the art technology.

Even the destination displays are the "old style" crystal quartz rather than LED and you can barely read them. You also have to press a button to open the door even though the light rail has stopped.

Thank God the train operator said, "You have to press the button to open the door" through her intercom, rather than just taking off.

That's what the dreadful MTA #14 bus did as soon as I arrived at Cromwell Plaza. However, my mom and Ray were already there to pick me up and I didn't need that damn bus, which figured prominently into our lives back in the 1980s and early 1990s. I noticed, though, that MTA has some brand new buses.

Another Baltimore - Camden Yards view, 5:26PM, Dec. 23, 2010.

Camden Yards ... Hamburg Street ... Westport ... Cherry Hill ... Patapsco ... Baltimore Highlands ... Nursey Road ... North Linthicum ... Linthicum ... Ferndale ... Cromwell/Glen Burnie.

These stops, especially those in South Baltimore, are so ghetto nasty. And the light rail system itself looks like it has aged about 80 years in its 18-1/2 year operational existence.

An ad for MTA's new "CharmCard" -- Baltimore's equivalent to Metro's SmarTrip -- using the legendary Baltimore "hon culture" imagery, except it really is more a working class Irish - Scottish - German American (white) thing than a black one, this ad not withstanding.

Here is a better view of the two "hon characters" in the ad campaign taken from the Website screen shot.

I was on the drab, fluorescent-lit light rail car #5015 passing through the gusty cold winter darkness in some forgotten south Baltimore purgatory. Oh, yes, and on the other side of the car was for a Fred Frank Bail Bondsman -- 1% DOWN! 1% DOWN! 1% DOWN!

I remember when the Light Rail opened and how new it seemed.

The bar at Bill Bateman's Bistro, Severna Park, Md., 6:49PM, Dec. 23, 2010.

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Anyway, the three of us rode down -- on a route I had not traversed in some places in about a decade -- to Severna Park. We stopped at Bill Bateman's Bistro, which, despite the name, is more of a sports bar than a bistro. We had a holiday drink or two and then went to Ledo's in the same strip shopping mall to Ledo's. Then we came back to Millersville.

The bar at Bill Bateman's Bistro, Severna Park, Md., 7:51PM, Dec. 23, 2010.

The guy by himself at the bar in the Santa hat was all alone and seemed to be falling into a happy boozy haze.

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I slept in the front room of the trailer. It was quite dark in their and didn't realize it was already 10AM when a ray of sunlight pierced the thick curtain and I finally got up. Of note, I had not been there in 2 years.

Here is the front room, quite cozy in its way, Millersville, Md., 10:07PM, Dec. 23, 2010.

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This morning, my mom and I went to the Lowe's in Severn -- there are just SO MANY big box retail stores in Glen Burnie and environs -- so I could buy a new box fan and larger plant holder for my Gold Dust Croton, which has gotten sooo big in the past year. The Lowe's was not mobbed, unlike the nearby Wal-Mart.

The Lowe's in Severn, Md., 11:00AM, Dec. 24, 2010. That is my mom in the white.

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Oh, yes, I also bought her a pack of two compact fluorescent light (CFL) light bulbs, 13W which are equivalent to the 60W old incandescent bulbs. These are the first CFLs she has had. I explained how the old "legacy" incandescent bulbs will be disappearing in a few years (due to EISA 2007 and its new energy efficiency requirements for light bulbs).

This is my mom's clothes rack. It is at least 30 years old -- and quite possibly 40 years old. It's an old, rickety wooden thing that is barely standing anymore and is held together with some tape. Place/time: Millersville, Md., 12:02PM, Dec. 24, 2010.

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Here was Kellie Pickler on the television singing "Santa Baby."

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Ray and my mom heading outside their place, Millersville, Md., 1:46PM, Dec. 24, 2010.

We were heading to the Chart House (where we met Gary) in Annapolis.

The big space ship looking water tower off East - West Blvd. in either Severn or Severna Park, Md., 1:55PM, Dec. 24, 2010.

These weird ellipsoidal shaped water towers elevated on a giant central shaft and smaller legs seem to dot northern Anne Arundel County.

The campus of St. John's College, Annapolis, Md., 2:16PM, Dec. 24, 2010.

St. John's is this weird ultra-liberal deconstructionist-everything tiny academic bastion in deeply conservative and wealthy Annapolis, a counterpoint to the dominant Naval Academy culture.

The giant 400+ year old Liberty Tree on its grounds is long gone but I remember it.

Gary at the Chart House, Annapolis, Md., 4:21PM, Dec. 24, 2010.

I'm surprised the Chart House doesn't regular suffer storm damage given its location ON a pier raised only about 5 or 6 feet above the water and whole walls that are mostly windows.

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The Liberté boat docked next to the Chart House, Annapolis, Md., on Christmas Eve dusk, 4:27PM, Dec. 24, 2010.

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This was about as good a picture of the outside of the Chart House in Annapolis that my cellphone camera would take, 5:15PM, Dec. 24, 2010.

After dinner, Gary and I drove back -- in VERY quick, traffic-free time -- into D.C. and my mom and Ray went back home.

The Kristin Soars dingy parked alongside the Chart House pier at dusk in Annapolis, Md., 5:16PM, Dec. 24, 2010.

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Here are two more pictures I wanted to post ...

My plush animals snug in their place.

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View from my Hampton Court apartment, Washington, D.C., 8:12AM, Dec. 23, 2010.

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And with that, I will wrap up this entry. I will write more about the snowfall if indeed it happens. We are under a winter storm watch for tomorrow.

That's all for now. Merry Christmas.

Ho Ho ho.

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UPDATED 4:56PM 12/25/2010:

OK, I had to update this ... not only are we under a winter storm warning in D.C. and points east (west and northwest of the city is just a winter weather advisory) but the New York City area is under a full-fledged blizzard warning. On Christmas Day. That has not happened in the modern times -- by which I mean since the NWS has existed in its present form.

Here is the Mount Holly/Philadelphia County Warning Area (CWA) map but it also shows the New York City and Sterling (LWX) areas, the latter including the Baltimore/Washington region. This is valid as of 3:54PM Dec. 25, 2010.

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There was the 1909 Christmas Day snowstorm but I don't know if the Weather Bureau back then issued those types of warnings. Anyway, the forecast for our area calls for 3 to 7 inches of snow in the D.C. area -- on average 5 inches -- and about 10" along the axis of the Chesapeake Bay.

Here is the graphical forecast. Source here (this map may change).

All this is subject to change.

--Regulus