Thursday, September 1, 2016

Possible Interesting Tropical Weather, Definite Depressing Political Climate; Sunday St. Denis and Patapsco Park Pics; and I'm a Step-What??

A tree-cloaked house along Francis Avenue (number 1506, I think) in the St. Denis section of Arbutus, Md., 3:24PM August 28, 2016.

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This entry contains a number of pictures that I took on Sunday while with Chester on our suburban Maryland trek to the Thomas Viaduct in a portion of Patapsco Valley State Park. This includes the pictures that I already posted in my previous entry.

Those images are not topically related to the written content of this post, but that doesn't matter. Having said that, there are some images that are actually related -- in particular, the weather ones.

A tree-filled yard somewhere in the St. Denis section of Arbutus, Md., 3:17PM August 28, 2016.

The natural world is quite green despite the late August calendar date and despite the heat of this summer, thanks to the fact it was a relatively wet summer.

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It is still August 31st as I start this entry but it will be well after midnight and September 1st by the time I post it. Climatological summer 2016 (as opposed to astronomical summer) will thus be over.

I'm home from the gym where I had a mostly good multi-part workout. The workout also helped rid me of the last of the after-effects of last night's excessive drinking.

Two large, expansive, old houses in the St. Denis section of Arbutus, Md., 3:23PM August 28, 2016.

This is a strange and strangely pretty area -- St. Denis and Relay, two sections of Arbutus -- that exists on the line of Baltimore and Howard Counties just to the southwest of Baltimore City.

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I started at Trade after work and then went to Floriana, but instead of the usual vodka, I had wine. However, that didn't seem to work, especially as I "night-capped" at another place before walking home and there I had a vodka.

At this point, I am genuinely looking forward to moving out of the District next year and in with Quill, hopefully in or near Bethesda. I'm tired of this neighborhood -- and being such an object of fear and loathing in this gay "community," or whatever it is supposed to be (more an aging sorority village in which nothing good can ever happen).

Of note, at Floriana, Dito showed some recent political-themed Saturday Night Live skits involving Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Oh, and Mark D. showed up.

A sign for Relay, a village of a sort in the Census-designated place of Arbutus, Md., 3:26PM August 28, 2016.

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Turning to the weather ...

It is a partly cloudy, warm, humid night with a southerly breeze. At the 11PM hour, it is 81F at KDCA with a 71F dew point. There is (as of this writing) a decent cluster of strong thunderstorms over Frederick County and northern and central Montgomery County moving into Carroll and Howard Counties and toward the Baltimore area.

Sutton Avenue, St. Denis section of Arbutus, Md., 3:29PM August 28, 2016.

This avenue dead ends at the CSX/MARC Camden Line tracks, and it is where we parked. One of the houses along this street had a sign above the front door stating, "We don't call 911," and included two gun image representations. Nice. But there was also a statue of the Virgin Mary in the cluttered, small yard.

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Earlier (around 11PM), there was quite a lightning display to the north as I could see from my 5th floor dust trap of an apartment here in the District -- all the more so given that it was clear between here and those storms.

The Sterling (LWX) radar in standard composite mode looped 10:49PM to 11:12PM August 31, 2016.

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The Sterling (LWX) radar in standard base mode reflectivity looped 10:59PM to 11:21PM August 31, 2016.

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Today reached 91F at KDCA, making it the 23rd such day in August that it has reached 90F or better -- a record number -- and for the season, we are at 51 days, which as this CWG entry from Tuesday explained, is well ahead of where we would be "normally" (whatever "normal" is these days).

What follows is a graph from that entry written by Jason Samenow as well as an excerpt:

Step-wise graph of the cumulative number of days of 90F or higher for Washington, D.C. (as measured at KDCA) for both the historical average for the whole season and for 2016 through August 30th.

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"This year's 50 90-degree days as of this date ranks as the 10th-most in historical records. 2010 and 1980, which hold the record for the most 90-degrees in a year with 67, had 56 and 52 as of this date, respectively. D.C. would need to have an exceptionally hot September to catch up to those years.

The plethora of 90-degrees in August have helped put it neck and neck with August 1980 as the hottest on record. Month-to-date, the average August temperature of both years was 82.7 degrees with a day to go. On Thursday, we'll report the final result.

Backyard thermometer at Chester's house, Columbia, Md., 6:41PM August 28, 2016.

I think I might start using a cropped version of this thermometer as part of my "stock" warm-season thermometer photos

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"This summer (June, July, and August) is expected to finish as third hottest on record, trailing just 2010 and 2011. Five of the hottest seven years on record have all occurred since 2010 in Washington, including the four hottest."

I will post a climatological summer 2016 overview in the next couple days once the numbers are available.

The 12Z 8/31/2016 GFS showing 850mb temperature, mean sea level pressure (MSLP), and 6-hour cumulative precipitation valid at hour 84 / 0Z 9/4/2016 for the Eastern United States.

This is at 8PM EDT this Saturday (Sept. 3rd).

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Looking ahead to the weekend, there is actually a chance of quite a bit of rain -- if and only if Tropical Storm Hermine, or its remnant circulation, indeed approaches the mid-Atlantic and, as the 12Z operational GFS and European models showed, stalls off the coast as the result of a high pressure block to its northeast.

As of 11PM EDT, Tropical Storm Hermine is centered at 25.8N and 87.0W or 295 miles SSW of Apalachicola, Fla. Its movement is NNE at 10MPH and the central pressure is 998mb or 29.47" Hg. Maximum sustained winds are 60MPH.

Tropical Storm Hermime forecasted path and other information, Advisory 14 issued by the National Hurricane Center at 10PM CDT August 31, 2016.

(The advisory time is given as CDT since the storm is centered presently in the Central time zone.)

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The storm is expected to strengthen to a category 1 hurricane before it comes ashore somewhere near Apalachicola. As shown in the image above, the current NHC track takes the center of the storm across southern and eastern Georgia into South Carolina and then just inland of the coastline to just about Norfolk by 7PM (with a cone of uncertainty).

Chester on the CSX and MARC Camden Line tracks, Relay/Arbutus, Md., 3:35PM August 28, 2016.

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Hermine is then forecasted to drift back out over the Atlantic and meander for two days due to a high pressure block to the northeast of the storm -- with the storm dissipating as it rains itself out, although I suppose additional convention over the Gulf Stream as well as inland due to orographic lift by the Appalachians.

The I-95 overpass as it spans the Patapsco River in Patapsco Valley State Park on the Baltimore/Howard County line, Md., 3:49PM August 28, 2016.

Chester and I were walking along a spur of the CSX train tracks that diverges from the CSX/MARC Camden Line. (I kept turning around to make sure no train was approaching...)

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If this scenario pans out -- and it marks a big shift from the forecast of just the other day when it was forecasted to be sunny, dry, and about 85F for D.C. on both Saturday and Sunday -- then it will be quite wet across the Baltimore/Washington corridor this weekend.

I hope so.

Yours truly in Patapsco Valley State Park at the Elkridge Landing historic site sign, 4:01PM August 28, 2016.

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Right now, Sterling LWX only has as 30POP for both Saturday and Sunday, but that's just the usual hedging so characteristic of that particular NWS forecast office.

This is the most recent CWG entry on the topic (link embedded): Increasing chances for tropical storm conditions in the Mid-Atlantic this weekend.

(I have some comments in there as Arcturus24.)

Chester holding a piece of wooden debris that was likely carried into the Patapsco River during the recent Ellicott City flood, Patapsco Valley State Park, Md., 4:04PM August 28, 2016.

The Patapsco is severely silted up -- as evidenced by the fact that it is virtually impossible to image Elkridge Landing as a Colonial-era port for ships leading to the Chesapeake Bay.

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Changing subjects ...

I'm going to refrain from any political commentary in this entry except to note that I'm quite depressed over the whole long-term, deeply dysfunctional and dreadful state of affairs in this country. Even if Hillary wins in November -- and we avoid the cataclysm of a Donald Trump presidency and (as would also occur in that scenario) wall-to-wall rightwing Republican rule -- it's still going to be a horrible shit show.

Chester inspecting the Patapsco River just upstream of the Thomas Viaduct, Patapsco Valley State Park, Md., 4:05PM August 28, 2016.

The fact that he readily found a crawfish and saw other tiny fish is evidence that the river isn't as severely polluted upstream of Baltimore as it once was. (Downstream passing through Baltimore and widening into a tidal estuary that forms Baltimore's harbor system before merging with the Chesapeake Bay, it is horrendously polluted.)

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Any victory will, of course, only be with a plurality of the popular vote -- she is unlikely to surpass about 47 percent, but Trump will have a hard time getting above 42 percent, and it is possible he won't even break the 40 percent mark. (Yes, I know it's all about the Electoral College.)

Chester at the edge of the Patapsco River, Patapsco Valley State Park, on the Baltimore-Howard County line just upstream of the Thomas Viaduct, 4:06PM August 28, 2016.

As I mentioned in my previous entry, Chester was looking -- and finding -- baby crawfish and other creepy-crawly things that are, apparently, evidenced that the Patapsco is not as hideously polluted as it used to be, at least in that portion of it upstream from Baltimore.

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Furthermore, in a Hillary Clinton administration, the GOP scandal machine will go on ceaselessly, forever trying to destroy her -- and almost guaranteeing that her popularity never cracks 50 percent. Paul Waldman has a good overview about this here (link embedded): Why Clinton will always have low favorable ratings, no matter what she does.

It has been going on for the past quarter century back to the original "Arkansas Project," and untold billions of dollars have been spent by what Hillary once famously and insightfully called the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy, although it's a conspiracy right out in the open these days.

Chester holding a small crawfish from the Patapsco River from a spot just upstream of Thomas Viaduct, 4:08PM August 28, 2016.

People eat that? Yuck.

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Beyond the rightwing political swamp, though, the imperatives of the for-profit media/entertainment complex are such that when it comes to politics, we have to exist in this Manichean struggle of "Red" versus "Blue" forever while the political reporters treat is all as a nihilistic horserace where there is no value, decency, or even morality.

It's the nihilistic version of "Both Sides" false-balance masquerading as "objectivity" among the professional journalist / pundit class. The hilarious and insightful Charles Pierce was spot on in this entry on the fact that there is no "Other Side" in this election. (The entry itself is about the planned endless GOP witch hunts and scandal-mongering in a Clinton administration.)

The Thomas Viaduct as seen from River Road in Patapsco Valley State Park, Md., 4:32PM August 28, 2016.

The 180-year old Thomas Viaduct carries the CSX/MARC Camden rail line over the Patapsco River. This was ultimately why we came there -- to find this spot. There is an obelisk marker along the tracks just north of the Viaduct, but it is so severely graffiti-covered that it made no sense to take / post a picture of it.

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Meanwhile, the disastrous consequences of the frickin' neoliberal world order are ensuring that the version of global corporate capitalism that we call "the free market" and representative democracy are now fundamentally incompatible, with all that this portends.

Still, though, Fred Hiatt's Washington Consensus crowd still tries to party like it's 1999.

OK, enough of that. There will be plenty of time for political-themed entries.

A large, old house in the St. Denis section of Arbutus, Md., 4:49PM August 28, 2016.

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So I am going to wrap up this entry now. My next entry might not be until Saturday. For tomorrow, I'm meeting Andrea after work before she and Imara head out on their 3-week trip to Europe (the Greek isles, Istanbul, and Italy (the latter for a friend's wedding).

Tranquil backyard evening view at Chester's house in Columbia, Md., 6:43PM August 28, 2016.

It's very peaceful there where he lives with his wife and two young children. I caught them on the evening before the first day of school, summer vacation at an end and the start of a loooong school year.

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Oh, yes, before concluding, I would like to post a picture that my mom sent to me earlier today, but I'm not identifying by name the individuals. It is posted below.

These are my stepfather Ray's grandchildren by his only child, his daughter, Debbie. Yes, I actually have a stepsister Debbie, but I've not seen her in at least 21 years. (I can't recall if it was in 1993 or 1995.) She is two years younger than I am. Debbie has lived in Texas for a number of years down near the border with Mexico and recently divorced her husband, who is from Mexico.

Last week, she suddenly reestablished contact with Ray for the first time in many, many years and today (Wednesday) she sent this picture.

Of note, I was actually at the hospital shortly after Debbie gave birth to her son in Baltimore back in 1993.


Anyway, I guess this means I'm their step-uncle. What's more, one of them (the girl) has a child, so Ray is a great grandfather, and I'm a step-great uncle.

Weird.

--Regulus

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