Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An OK Day; A Good Gym Workout; a Larry's Lounge Visit; Kristof's "S"-Shaped Stratopause Thermal Profile -OR- "It's a Trade-Off ..."

1901 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 5:41PM Sept. 8, 2013.

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OK, so today turned out to be a relatively good day ... I was productive at work for the 5-ish hours I was there. And I also went to the gym this evening DESPITE feeling a bit dizzy and woozy at times from the antibiotic medication, which is working well. I figured I would only be there for a little while, but I ended up having a good workout.

The 2000 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 4:52PM September 8, 2013 (outside my building).

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I jogged a bit over 5 miles, although at a slower speed and less of an incline, over the course of an hour plus extended 7 minute cool down (to reach 700 calories -- actually, 701 -- at a distance of 5.28 miles and almost 600 feet elevation climb). I then spent an hour doing light-to-moderate weight-lifting AND I went swimming for a half hour.

At the gym, I watched the last part of Hardball and then the first part of Chris Hayes's self-righteous, occasionally self-parodying liberal but content-filled All In show, muted but close-captioned on the treadmill.

The main topic was Syria and whether there would be U.S. air strikes -- and whether Congress would simply vote down the president's resolution (the House overwhelmingly so).

The surprise on Monday was that Secretary of State John Kerry's comment that if Assad agreed to put his chemical weapons under international control, it would stop possible U.S. air strikes, seems to have prompted the Russian government to say it would facilitate this effort.


Immediately thereafter, the Syrian government itself agreed.


Andrew Sullivan thinks this was the hapless Kerry inadvertently saying something that "strikes gold" but I think it was deliberate, even if I cannot explain why the State Dept. so strongly walked back what he said. (Remember that Obama and Putin met at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg last week and talked.)

On CNN -- in between commercials for low/no information voters shrieking about how evil is "Obama-care" (never mind all the good news about rates) and featuring the latest rightwing media carnival barker and egomaniac, Sen. Ted Cruz, who has no interest in actually governing in any traditional sense of that word but instead is a kind of Sarah Palin-like media celebrity -- was Piers Morgan.

He was interviewing flippin' former Sen. Joe Lieberman and that little roach Paul Wolfowitz. I'm not even sure what was their argument -- pro or con -- nor do I care (the plasma screen TVs are muted and feature only closed-captioning). All I know is that if we added Richard Cohen and Robert J. Samuelson, we would have Fred Hiatt's dream Washington Post op-ed page for Ben Wittes' and Sebastian Mallaby's beloved Washington Consensus.

And while on this topic, I just want to post an excerpt from Paul Krugman's Monday column The Wonk Gap in The New York Times:

"Political conservatism and serious policy analysis can coexist, and there was a time when they did. Back in the 1980s, after all, health experts at Heritage made a good-faith effort to devise a plan for universal health coverage -- and what they came up with was the system now known as Obamacare.

But that was then. Modern conservatism has become a sort of cult, very much given to conspiracy theorizing when confronted with inconvenient facts. Liberal policies were supposed to cause hyperinflation, so low measured inflation must reflect statistical fraud; the threat of climate change implies the need for public action, so global warming must be a gigantic scientific hoax. Oh, and Mitt Romney would have won if only he had been a real conservative."

Paul Krugman is a must read -- his blog and his twice-weekly op-ed column.

OK, enough of that.


After I left the gym, I walked to Larry's Lounge (pictured above from a picture I found online). (Of note, Gary and I are now calling it "LaLo" instead of "LL" in our texts). When I arrived, I discovered that both Kristof and Gary were there (Kristof doesn't really tell me much anymore whether / when he is going there.)

Anyway, I stayed for about an hour and we had a nice time. "LaLo" was the way I like it: Not crazy crowded, not uncomfortably warm or loud, and just kind of pleasant. It was definitely in neighborhood corner pub mode tonight (as opposed to its speakeasy mode -- ooooh, the things that go on there sometimes, but never mind that!).


Kristof talked about his work on stratospheric chemistry and modeling -- he is a BIG NOISE in that field, one of the BIGGEST -- and the quirk in the data assimilation that shows a double rather than single thermal profile double-wiggle that marks the averaged-out position of the stratopause.

Yes, the stratopause.

Now I'm home. Gary drove Kristof and me home. The best line of the night occurred after I explained to them that I called my dad earlier this Monday and apologized for ANOTHER screaming argument / phone hang up on Sunday involving Shannon, and how she's taken over his little rental house in Flagler Beach in between massive fights that two months ago involved her pushing him into / through a glass door and 911 being called. (For reference, she's about 30 years younger than him, though looks about 10 years younger than his 72 years).

Basically, my dad has become the character Arthur from The King of Queens (as played by Jerry Stiller), to wit, he lives in his own little reality, says off-the-wall things, and screams when he doesn't get his way.

However, I have decided that if wants to talk to me about Shannon, well, in the end there isn't anything I can do to stop it -- short of not talking to him, and I don't want that. So that's that.

Anyway, I said that my dad, despite the insanity, sometimes says profound things -- as a few days ago when he left a message saying, "Don't give up on me just yet."

Gary said, "My dad never says profound things like that to me."
I replied, "Yes, but your dad doesn't also smoke crack."
And Kristof said, "It's a TRADE-OFF ..."

Ha ha.

The house at 1837 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 5:42PM September 8, 2013.

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OK, that's all for now. Oh, yes, it's going to be flippin' 90s Fahrenheit for highs the next three days as a September heat wave rushes in. There is still no sign of a general needed soaking rainfall. The Sterling LWX crew and their pet Palka-Cabra are happy about that. It's always sh!tty like this around here this time of year. And the tropical season is dead this year.

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A small yellow rose growing on a bush in the yard at 1303 P Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:35PM September 8, 2013.

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I intend to update the blog on Tuesday night. I'm more than a little concerned about the dental procedure -- crown and tooth extraction -- on Wednesday morning but I really see no other alternative. I cannot keep having abscess infections. I may opt for an implant next year, but as it is, this tooth (#14) is out of sight.

--Regulus

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