Monday, April 30, 2012

Late Night Blog Delayed Time -OR- Bloggal Storm

A stunning auroral storm "exploding" in the sub-polar night sky above the modern "Arctic Henge" formation in the village of Raufarhöfn in northern Iceland.

The significance of "Arctic Henge" is explained in the APOD image of the day for April 30, 2012.

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Sigh.

Yet again I started a blog entry that sprawled and spiraled out of control and it is now nearly midnight -- and I haven't even started formatting the text and coming up with a lead image. Given that I have exactly 4 intermittent readers, I am going to take a pass on trying to finish that bigger entry tonight. Realistically, it may not get done until Wednesday night as I may have plans tomorrow night.

You'll live.

--Regulus

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Walk in the Meadow -OR- Saturday In Split Realities

A picture of a wildflower meadow in Northamptonshire, England at Coton Manor Garden, although I changed the  image ratio somewhat.

A number of the pictures in this entry are from that website.

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OK, so it's Saturday early afternoon as I start to write this. I'm feeling kinda headached and crappy from my Nellie's night last night. No, nothing bad happened there -- just the usual weekend night, although the place was so mobbed you couldnt't move. Going to gay bars, esp. in D.C., I am quite used to this, but it can be unpleasant.

My week was, eh, OK, although yesterday ended up rather productive.

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Copyright: Baltimore, Hon

So I had a request from the photographer Jason Wilson | Metroscap, Ltd., to attribute to him and his website the image of the Baltimore, Md., night time skyline that I posted in my blog entry on Jan. 15, 2012. You may read his comment and see my update there. In the end, I may have to remove the picture anyway, if only because I couldn't refrain from a political comment when providing the requested attribution.

BALTIMORE! (This is a lovely picture on what looks to be a breezy and pleasant early fall day in what is a rather crappy city. Sorry.)

I'll have to explain my first encounter with Baltimore circa late 1975 at age 5 when I was living in New Jersey and my mom took me there shortly after Christmas and just before we left for Belgium (although I soon returned to New Jersey). It was at night and involved a ghastly house in the slummy Brooklyn section of the city on Bristol Avenue. It was traumatizing.

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As for the request for attribution, that's fine, but this quickly gets into the kind of American-style "contract law" issue that sends little Wall-P into orbit at the prospect of making the world a tangled and life-draining legalistic morass or briar patch ...

... because it creates the illusion of something profound that he controls when in fact it is all crap just for the sake of the ruling corporate oligarchical overclass whose bidding his sort do, all while making huge amounts of money.

"Eh. Eh. Iswhatitis. Scalia said so. Proves it. Luck."

All that aside, the one thing that annoys me, though, is that Jason Wilson's visit was not recorded by my StatCounter. In addition, my StatCounter site meter seems to miss all visits from iPhones, iPads, Blackberries, and the like. In the past, it used to capture them.

Another image of buttercups in a wildflower meadow in the same Coton Manor Garden in Northamptonshire, England.

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Nixing Weekend Shut-In Plans ...

My original plan was not to post a big update now because I'd sort of like to get up and get ready and take a walk, or at least be outside of this apartment today.

Common blue butterfly, Coton Manor Garden, Northamptonshire, England.

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The late moring / early afternoon has been a cloudy, cool one (temps around 50F) and there is the chance of very needed rain tonight, although the system now doesn't look very impressive -- and it's remarkable the frequency with which batch after batch of rainfall (as in dying MCS's and precip. associated with clippers, waves, frontal boundaries, and general low pressure systems have been missing shitty D.C. in the past 6 months.

As for today, I actually had hoped it would be sunny (yes, sunny) in the morning so I could take a nice walk but that didn't happen -- if only because I didn't get up until noon and it was cloudy. As it is, I'm rather tired right now and I may just go back to sleep for a while.

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar, base mode reflectivity, 1:35PM EDT, April 28, 2012. Yet another batch of precip. missed D.C.

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Must Read Reminder: Paul Krugman

Oh, yes, as a periodic reminder, you should be reading Paul Krugman, both his daily blog and his twice weekly op-ed columns in The New York Times available online. The latter includes the one yesterday on the death of the confidence fairy -- but why that won't change the destructive all-austerity course politicians and policy-makers in Europe and the U.S. are on.

Best quote from that piece:

"So we're now living in a world of zombie economic policies -- policies that should have been killed by the evidence that all of their premises are wrong, but which keep shambling along nonetheless. And it's anyone's guess when this reign of error will end."

SELAH!

Austerity and Growth 2008 - 2012, Germany, France, and the GIPSI countries. This image is taken from Prof. Krugman's blog entry earlier this morning.

Real government expenditures (at all levels) of goods and services (not including transfer payments). This image -- taken from one of his blog entries yesterday -- shows the austerity underway in the U.S., which is acting counter to the (inadequate) Obama stimulus efforts, and it reveals the GOP talking point about "Socialist" Obama's "vast expansion" of government to be the Big Lie you know it is. But don't expect the whore-corporate media to notice or call them on that.

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You would think the Europeans would know better, or at least the British. I mean, you expect outright lunacy from the present-day American Republican Party and not much better from wussy milquetoast corporate Democrats. But you expect more from Europeans and the British.

At a very deep level, though, I think the reason this is the chosen course is because deflationary economics benefits aforementioned corporate oligarchical overclass.

As for Prof. Krugman, to quote a colleague and friendly acquaintance of mine who also reads him, "I'll stop reading Krugman when he stops being right all the time."

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Fringe Fest

My colleague and friend DD has been trying to get me to watch the show Fringe and I caught part of it last night. And to that question I posed in a recent blog entry about what the Statue of Liberty would look like if cleaned of her oxidized copper green patina, this show features a parallel Universe / Earth where that is just such the case.

The premise of the show is rather complicated and involves the FBI and a bridge between two parallel Earths that are almost exact except the U.S. in the other one is more authoritarian, polluted, and dystopic (although the 9/11 attacks never happened).

Image from Fringe TV show showing the oxidized copper green patina-free bronze Statue of Liberty on parallel Universe Earth in parallel New York Harbor, parallel United States.

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Six-spot Burnet moth, Coton Manor Garden, England

OK, that's all for now. I think I'll get up, get ready, and go outside after all.

--Regulus (and the Confidence Fairy)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

12th Street Side-Walking Blues and a Hughes Memorial Huge Antenna

The 4-story narrow row house building (possibly a survivor of an older time when buildings such as this lined the street) at 1017 12th Street NW tucked between much larger office buildings in Washington, D.C, 6:06PM, April 24, 2012. This building is -- or at least was once -- called the Zion Building as I wrote about here.

The building, which has housed some strangely named and / or purposed organizations over the years, is presently for sale.

I walked home on Tuesday evening following a path mostly up 12th Street to N Street before detouring toward home via a brief stop at the bar No. 9.

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OK, for the umpteen billionth time, I started another frickin' blog entry that simply got out of hand -- too long, too complicated, not enough pictures -- and I didn't finish.

The soaring, oxidized green copper steeple of the Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes at 12th St. and Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 6:09PM, April 24, 2012.

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So let me instead just post a quick update and try to post a full one tomorrow, although at this rate, it may not get posted until the weekend. I apologize. This blogging simply takes too long.

Another picture of that approx. 80 foot tall sycamore tree that grows in front of the Horizon House at 1150 12th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 6:10PM, April 24, 2012.

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My week is so far going OK, I think. I also believe I straightened out the issue involving my background check -- in particular, proving my time at UMCP in the MPP program in the second half of the 00's.

I had a nice dinner with K. tonight at Thai restaurant in Cleveland Park, except the waitress was dreadful -- she didn't even make a pretense of being anything but a highly annoyed and attitudinal Asian woman.

The 1400 block of P Street NW -- and the structure in particular at 1415 P Street -- Washington, D.C., at 7:07PM, April 24, 2012. The neighborhood is so frickin' gentrified and attitudinal that it is actually anti-life affirming.

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I discovered -- thanks to K. explaining an aspect of over-the-air digital TV -- that I actually get Antenna TV on my RCN (channel 29) and its expansive "portfolio" of 1950s - 1980s TV sitcoms including even Maude (though just on 2AM Sunday at present).

It turns out that Antenna TV is carried over-the-air in D.C. on digital channel 50.2. Now channel 50 WDCW uses for its over-the-air broadcasting none other than the Hughes Memorial Tower / "Eiffel Tower" transmission tower off Georgia Ave. NW in the Brightwood neighborhood of D.C.

Here it is (the big "star tower" on the left side) visible so prominently.

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We may get some more rain later tonight and into tomorrow and the pattern ahead for the next several days looks to be cool and wet. Good.

The NWS forecast icons and text for the grid point 3 miles north of downtown Washington, D.C., valid 26 April - 2 May 2012.

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UPDATED 840PM 4/26/2012

Well, we had no rainfall today, or rather very little. DCA received only 0.03" this morning while IAD had but a trace, though BWI received 0.23". Nearly all the precip. missed the area OF COURSE, and now a front is moving through, ending any chance.

The next chance of rain is on Saturday, but I'm sure that'll probably miss us, too. BTW, this is my only update tonight. I will post a new entry either tomorrow or Saturday.

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OK, that's all for now. Again, I will try to post the full update I planned, or at least the entry with political commentary and links that I started to write tomorrow or, if not, then on Friday ... Or Saturday.

--Regulus

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Under the April Umbrella Sky -OR- How Crazy Am I?

The view from my apartment on a rainy day somewhere in Washington, D.C., 2:48PM, April 22, 2012.

Yes, Earth Day. Do we still celebrate that in a time of GOP insanity?

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I don't even know where to start with this entry. The past 3 days have been very rough overall with a lot of bad stuff*, much of it my fault because I am, well, let's face it, somewhat mentally ill. But in the end -- as of this late Monday night (I'll post this entry just after midnight Tuesday) -- it all turned out well if only because life often has a way of doing that AND because I have a rather forgiving group of friends, Kristof in particular. Kristof, by the way, is going to his native Gdansk, Poland tomorrow for a week to visit his mom.

Jamie helped me (re)realize that.

A line of late night revelers after the bars and clubs closed at one of the many take-out food places along the U Street Corridor, Washington, D.C., 3:04AM, April 21, 2012. I was walking back from Nellies. I don't even remember taking the  picture.

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Yours truly at the Watergate Complex -- in one of the empty saucer pools of the terraced fountain at the Watergate East, Washington, D.C., 6:47PM, April 21, 2012.

It's better when the fountain is on.

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*The one notable exception was spending the afternoon / evening with Quill on Saturday including an outdoor meal at James Hoban by Dupont Circle and going to the Rivers at the Watergate as the rain started while the weekend piano player (Gary) was playing. In addition, a young man played wonderfully and his girlfriend or fiance sang a lovely little song.

A (cellphone blurry image) of the Rivers at the Watergate bar, Washington, D.C., 7:17PM, April 21, 2012.

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The rest of Saturday night was dreadful, as was last night, but I don't want to talk about it.

I actually went back to Larry's Lounge tonight -- I'd rather not talk about last night -- and met Kristof and watched downstairs what is probably my favorite episode of The Golden Girls (remember it is Monday night so We TV shows a whole evening marathon of them). It's the one "Bringing up Baby."

The $1 Jello shooter light bulb comes to life -- as it does about once every 20 minutes on Friday and Saturday nights -- while the mechanical pirate does his arrhythmic dance at Millie & Al's, Washington, D.C., 10:10PM, April 21, 2012.

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Anyway, it is too late for me to post a lengthy entry. I'm home at this 11 o'clock hour watching reruns of The Golden Girls on We TV, Everybody Loves Raymond on TV Land, and Frasier on Hallmark.

The Sterling (LWX) radar in base mode at 2:22PM EDT, April 22, 2012.

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NWS surface analysis focused on East Coast, 1800UTC, issued 1934UTC, 22 April 2012.

The coastal storm indeed arrived and dropped about 1.5" of BADLY NEEDED rainfall across the D.C. / Baltimore area and 1 to 3 inches along the East Coast.

The three day totals through 5PM were 1.51" at DCA, 1.40" at BWI, and 1.20" at IAD with little if any additional measurable rainfall thereafter. There was also snow in the trace to 3" range in the Potomac highlands and Blue Ridge, and 2 to 8 inches in the Alleghenies with apparently 23.2" at Laurel Summit in Somerset County. Here are the storm totals (this link will soon expire / be replaced).

Central Park/NYC's storm total through 11PM was 2.89" and Boston Logan was 2.52" while Atlantic City had 1.96" through 5PM.

The NWS composite mode radar mosaic for the northeastern U.S., 1818UTC (2:18PM EDT), April 22, 2012.

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Today was also a gusty, chilly day with mostly cloudy skies and intermittent squally rainshowers. Highs were 50F at DCA, 48F at BWI, and 47F at IAD. It was a splendid sort of spring day of the sort we seldom get -- as opposed to the usual 15F above normal and sunny conditions.

Anyway, I really need to go to bed now. I wil try to update this blog tomorrow (Tuesday night / i.e., posted just after midnight Wednesday).

UPDATED 11:20PM 4/24/2012: Well, I was going to post a new entry tonight but just didn't get around to it. I will try tomorrow night (i.e, in time for Thursday). G'night.

--Regulus

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Black Mail, Peaches in Heavy Exploding Syrup, & Possible Coastal Storm

UPDATED 9:00PM 4/21/2012: That exploding can was likely due to botulism. Also see climate information.

A lovely rainy day, which I really hope we get on Sunday to make a dent in the drought.

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OK, this is was supposed to be a very quick update but it didn't turn out that way as I want to go out this Friday night, although I am not sure what to do.

J. called me to meet him at Larry's Lounge, but I was there on Tuesday and Thursday and tonight I sort of wanted to wander around -- down to the Old Ebbitt Grill and thence to No. 9 and thence to Nellie's before stumbling home.

Tomorrow afternoon, I am meeting Quill at my place and we will go to lunch or early dinner, then later I am supposed to meet Damon and we are going to go out -- probably in Adams Morgan (Millie & Al's, at least initially).


I just finished my laundry, which I tend to do on Friday evenings since the laundry room tends to be mostly vacant at that time.

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Black-Mail-in-the-Box ...

Yes, the Black Mailbox (which apparently is no longer black) along Nevada SR 375 outside the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) and its Area 51/Groom Lake, Nellis Air Force Base, a.k.a. UFO / Alien Visitation Central.

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It was an OK work week, but upon arrival home this evening I was greeted -- as these things always happen on Friday at 5:01PM, so to speak -- with bad news that I have to resolve on Monday.

The Federal agency for which I am a contractor sent me a letter, or rather its security operation sent it, stating it could not verify my time at the Univ. of Maryland, College Park from Jan. 2005 - May 2009. This is the time when I was in the School of Public Policy and earning my Masters of Public Policy (MPP), my third Masters from UMCP (the first one in meteorology was a questionable idea and the second one in journalism was just stupid) plus an undergraduate degree. It was awarded in May 2009.

I've already sent an e-mail to the relevant parties with an unofficial transcript in PDF form with the relevant section highlighted attached.

My plan is to go to the security office in person on Monday with my actual four degrees along with a more formal looking copy of my transcripts that I have, except it only goes to Fall 2008.

Here Flippo, my plush hippo looks over my degrees, transcript, and the nasty letter I got in my dimly lit apartment, 9:12PM, April 20, 2012.

What a good little hippo ... the Plush-a-Potta-Most-Us.

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I may have to trek up to UMCP early next week (I would do it on Tuesday) for an official transcript copy, which now costs $8 per copy (after the free first one). I knew it was just a matter of time before that UMCP operation started charging for that.

UMCP Memorial Chapel and campus grounds, 1:48PM, Feb. 27, 2011. I think this may be the last picture I took of the campus.

As it is, I hate College Park / UMCP now -- the $220,000 (and rising) / 15 year detour of my life and really not one good memory.

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A Coastal Storm ...?

Turning to the weather, both the GFS and NAM show a rather intriguing and drought-ending -- or at least drought-denting coastal storm late tomorrow into Monday. In particular, a cold front stalls along the East Coast with a rapidly intensifying coastal low that goes negative tilt and stalls / retrogrades over New England.

The 18Z (UTC) 20 April 2012 GFS showing 6 hour precip., mean sea level pressure (MSLP), and 850mb (Celsius) temperatures valid at hour 72 (18Z 23 April 2012) showing the U.S. East Coast.

The current forecast would give us at least 1 and hopefully 2 inches of rain.

The position of the 850mb line in the 18Z GFS suggests thicknesses cold enough for snow even here, except the boundary layer is probably much too warm.

Here is the 18Z 20 April 2012 NAM focused on the U.S. East Coast and showing the same parameters -- 6 hour precip., mean sea level pressure (MSLP), and 850mb (Celsius) temperatures -- but valid at hour 60 (06Z 23 April 2012).

This model run has the storm intensifying more rapidly and slightly farther to the west. In this interval, it is about 80 miles SSW of the position of the low in the 18Z GFS -- and a full 12 hours earlier.  It is also a much warmer solution with the 0C 850mb temp well to the west.

Here is the same 18Z 20 April 2012 NAM model with the same parameters but 18 hours later at 0Z 24 April 2012 (8PM EDT April 23, 2012).  The low has gotten somewhat deeper and at this point is just about totally vertically stacked.

In this chart, the 850mb 0C isotherm has plunged hundreds of miles to the south and east. This scenario would give us a strong northwesterly wind and a cold rain -- turning to snow across Pennsylvania and the Piedmont. Western NewYork would get a howling snowstorm.

Here is the 500mb vorticity map at the same time as the image directly above (0Z 24 April 2012). That is quite a powerful low over the Northeast that has stalled / gone vertically stacked and will gradually start weakening.

This would mean that the mid-Atlantic would have had an October (Halloween) AND a late April nor'easter with heavy rainfall to snow.

Well, we shall see what happens. After all, what the weather models give, the weather models take away.

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UPDATED 9:00PM 4/21/2012: We had a slug of moderate to heavy rainfall move through a short while ago and tomorrow's coastal storm is still very much on. I wanted to note this element from the Sterling (LWX) NWS area forecast discussion issued at 8:48PM tonight (prior to adding tonight's rainfall).

.CLIMATE...
REGARDLESS OF HOW MUCH RAIN ULTIMATELY FALLS THIS WEEKEND...IT IS BADLY NEEDED AND GREATLY WELCOMED. AT DCA...THE CURRENT Y-T-D RAIN TOTAL OF 5.75 INCHES IS ONLY 0.20 INCH HIGHER THAN THE LOWEST EVER RECORDED AT THIS POINT IN THE YEAR /5.55 IN 1977/. 6.94 INCHES AT BWI IS THE FOURTH DRIEST AT THIS POINT IN THE YEAR.

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UK Drought

Of note, parts of the British Isles have apparently been in a prolonged drought with precipitation far below normal in England but above normal in Scotland.

Here is a map showing percent normal precipitation (1961 - 1990 average) from Nov. 2010 through Feb. 2012 over the United Kingdom.

This was on the Capital Weather Gang site tonight (see here) but the direct link to the UK Met Office article is here.

The write-up likens the drought to the 1975 - 1976 drought in the British Isles, although that one was simultaneouly more extensive and more severe but shorter lived.

Here is another map showing UK percent of normal precipitation -- using the 1961 - 1990 thirty-year average -- from May 1975 - August 1976. That drought also afflicted Belgium.

My mom and Ray were already there at that time. I was there from Jan. 1976 - March 1976 but she sent me back to New Jersey to my dad and grandparents as I was not adjusting well.

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Heavy Syrup That Goes Boom in the Night

Lastly, I now know what that explosion I heard a few nights ago in my apt. that scared the hell out of me but that I couldn't figure out what it was and eventually gave up.

My discovery took place in the kitchen about two hours ago over the sink. There was a nasty brown streak coming down from the rickety kitchen cabinet. Then I saw a pool of sticky brownness on the counter top.

I opened the cabinet and instead were nasty black lumps -- it was sort of like a horror film. And the (few) other cans, box of spaghetti, and bottle of olive oil and vinegar were sort of coated on their bottoms with the same ooze. Sorta like a trail left by Oooza the Unloved Crow Creature.

And then I saw the can ... A VERY OLD can of Del Monte sliced peaches in heavy syrup had somehow exploded open and toppled over. (There was a whole All in the Family skit about this item involving Edith damaging a parked car with her shopping cart.) The can itself was badly warped.

Short of a(n evil) spirit or an alien life form in my kitchen cabinet, I can only assume that heat from the nearby oven must have accumulated up there when I cooked dinner and the can's contents -- in particular the heavy syrup -- just exploded.

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UPDATED 9:00PM 4/21/2012: Quill informed me earlier today that such an exploding can is likely due to botulism with the actual rupture due to gas from the building bacteria. Yikes. Although I touched the stuff, I wiped it all out with a bleach-coated sponge and washed my hands. I think I would know by now if I contracted it.

Rego Park: Sitcom Crescents

Totally changing topics, I wanted to write an entry about Rego Park, Queens in New York City.

Google map aerial view of Rego Park, Queens. The series of concentric semi-circular ("crescent") streets really intrigues me.

Here is a close-up of the Google aerial image of those semi-circular streets. Asquith Crescent is the innermost one.

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So why am I interested?

Because not only is that where the TV show The King of Queens -- which I watch on TV Land regularly now -- was supposed to be set, but so was a gentle sitcom from 20+ years ago with Judd Hirsch called Dear John.

AND! (Speaking of All in the Family)

The house that is featured in the opening montage of All in the Family at 89-70 Cooper Avenue -- pictured at left as it looks now (or at least a few years ago) and which I mentioned in this entry -- is actually in Rego Park, or at least near it. (It is located at the far lower left in the map above at the southeastern corner of the (St. John's) cemetery.)

OK, that's all for now.

--Regulus

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Little PC in DC Reawakens -OR- Home Computer Holter Monitoring

*I apologize for the paucity of images to accompany this entry.*

Sunrise on the Atlantic seashore in Surfside, Florida.

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OK, so the big news for me this week so far is that I was able to reactivate my old laptop personal computer -- the one I last used in August because the monitor malfunctioned and the colors are all screwed up (in addition to a quarter of the screen being physically damaged) -- with the help of a monitor that my co-worker gave me many months ago.

I finally brought it home on the day that the new firewall was added to my work computer -- the PC laptop that I have been taking home for 8 months. I did so because the firewall was creating some minor but vexing issues, in addition to the TOTAL blockage of any kind of video sites (YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu, etc.) and embedded videos. These issues include being unable to log onto StatCounter from Explorer (Chrome works) and blocking lots of images (such as all the images on Salon).

Long story short, I wanted to see if the new monitor would work -- and SO FAR it has done so like a charm. Of course, there was a lot to update and reload from 8 months ago, in particular the Avast anti-viral software that expired back in January. That cost me $42.39.

Today, I moved all my personal files -- including all the image ones -- back onto my computer.

I simply deleted what was on here and just updated everything by moving it from a flash drive.

So at this point, I THINK my original home computer (the one my mom bought me in Jan. 2010) is functioning with the use of this other monitor. Now it is QUITE POSSIBLE that this whole thing could blow up on me if the computer's monitor issue proves to be part of something related to the hardware.

This computer replaced the one that Wall-P "bought" me back in 2008 by expensing it to his law firm and that was destroyed by a virus. Wall-P did it in such a way that his asset flow was maximized through the entire process.

"Eh. Eh. Itwhatitis."

I was using Firefox to update this blog but it turns out that Explorer is a bit easier because of a couple of bugs such as where the HTML screen defaults after an image has been uploaded (to the top, no matter where the image is placed).

My work laptop has only Explorer and Chrome on it (Firefox being prohibited).

Anyway, I am home this Wednesday night TV Land watching sitcom reruns -- Everybody Loves Raymond, Hot in Cleveland, Happily Divorced, and The King of Queens.

I can't watch the news tonight because it is all shrieking idiocy, hysteria, and nonsense that barely conceals the agenda of pro-GOP / corporate oligarchy / war / death (in that order) while Dems are just wussies.

As for the liberal lineup of news and commentary shows MSNBC, it's just too hard to watch that much nonstop vendible outrage. And Rachel Maddow is far too obsessed with abortion. As for the election, I really don't want to have to go through this horse shit show, and while I cannot change any of that, I can at least tune in and out as I please.


And the fact that the race is tied in the mid to upper 40s percentage for Obama and Romney (46 percent and 46 percent in the latest CBS/New York Times poll, matching other polls) just speaks of a disturbing reality about America.

BTW, the Wanker of the Decade on Eschaton blog was none other than New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. The Huffington Post had a funny piece about how Friedman's most recent column (in today's NYT) is an unintentional self-parody.

Of course, the best take down ever of Friedman was by Matt Taibbi in Jan. 2009 when he reviewed Friedman's book Hot, Flat, and Crowded. Here is the best excerpt:

"This is Friedman's life: He flies around the world, eats pricey lunches with other rich people and draws conclusions about the future of humanity by looking out his hotel window and counting the Applebee's signs.

"Friedman frequently uses a rhetorical technique that goes something like this: 'I was in Dubai with the general counsel of BP last year, watching 500 Balinese textile workers get on a train, when suddenly I said to myself, "We need better headlights for our tri-plane." ' And off he goes. You the reader end up spending so much time wondering what Dubai, BP and all those Balinese workers have to do with the rest of the story that you don't notice that tri-planes don't have headlights. And by the time you get all that sorted out, your well-lit tri-plane is flying from chapter to chapter delivering a million geo-green pizzas to a million Noahs on a million Arks. And you give up. There's so much shit flying around the book's atmosphere that you don't notice the only action is Friedman talking to himself..."

The full review appeared in New York Press but is now available here.

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Turning to the weather ...

It actually RAINED today -- but very lightly with only small amounts. Officially, DCA only had 0.05" -- far inadequate to dent the building drought -- while BWI had 0.13" and IAD had 0.20". The good news is that it may be a rainy weekend. I hope so.

Earlier tonight, I went to Columbia Heights to the Target to buy new socks (black and white pairs) and I also bought two of those golf polo shirts I like at the Modell's. I then walked to the Harris Teeter on Kalorama Rd. where I bought two different containers of potato salad for an office pot luck tomorrow. Then I walked home.

OK, I think that's all for now.

My next planned update will be either Friday night or over the (hopefully rainy) weekend. I really feel like updating my Arcturus one as I do that so rarely, but I don't think I'll get to that tonight.

--Regulus