Saturday, May 27, 2017

Jukebox Saturday Night for May 27th, 2017: The Whatever Works, Easy, and Extremes Edition

First up, a nice, light, upbeat smooth jazz piece ...


"Whatever Works" by John Jarvis from album of same name (1988)

Of note, the album "Whatever Works" has on it a song entitled "Paul Wants a Pig." (You can see that about two-thirds of the way through the song when the still image flips from the front to the reverse side of the CD jacket cover.)

I couldn't find the song as a stand-alone but instead it is on the YouTube "video" of the full playlist. It starts at 36:30 and is actually a nice piece.

As for Mr. Jarvis (pictured left), he does not appear to have a website but he has a Twitter account on which he expresses his political views about Trump -- and with which I wholly agree.

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Next up, one of the 1970s standards ...


"Easy" by the Commodores from the group's eponymously-titled album (1977)

This video is of a live performance from 1978 and, yes, that is Lionel Richie as the lead singer sporting quite a 'fro and vintage period leisure suite.

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And we'll end with something old school yet suitably Saturday night energetic ...


"I Go to Extremes" by Billy Joel from his album Storm Front (1989)

I can sort of relate to this song. The video to it is a sort of manic black-and-white frenzy featuring Joel and his band performing the song.

That album is the one which features one of Joel's number 1 hits "We Didn't Start the Fire."

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OK, that's all for now. Please see my previous entry for an update. Also, I will most likely not have a Jukebox Saturday Night edition next week (on June 3rd) since I'll still be in Chicago wrapping up that work/pleasure trip.

--Regulus

Saturday Evening Post for May 27th, 2017: Friday Night Rewind - The Civilized Steakhouse, A Very Uncivilized Rebellion, Late Night Palatial Royalty

**This entry was posted May 27, 2017.**

The Washington Monument and recently re-grassed National Mall, Washington, D.C., 5:36PM May 26, 2017.

That picture was taken on a particularly nice afternoon.

The pictures in this entry were taken on Friday -- many of which during my 20-minute walk from L'Enfant Plaza to Bobby Van's restaurant on 15th Street via the National Mall where I met Andrea. A few were taken much later at Blaguard in Adams Morgan with Imara, Jake, and Matt.

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Saturday night.

This is a recap of my past two days. This is not the political-themed entry that I have partially composed and would still like to post before my Chicago trip.

Some of the tourists who have descended upon Washington, D.C., this spring, National Mall -- 5:36PM May 26, 2017.

If I can adapt a famous line, "tourists in monstrous infinity ..."

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Yesterday, I left work a bit early (everyone having bugged before me ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend thanks, in part, to the federal government giving two hour early dismissal) and walked from L'Enfant Plaza to Bobby Van's steakhouse on 15th Street NW (near the White House and to be confused with Bobby Vans grill at New York Avenue and 12th Street NW).

My route took me across the National Mall -- recently reopened after that multi-year project to dig up all the severely compacted dirt and replace it with new dirt and grass, not to mention a new underground drainage system of pipes and whatnot.

National Mall looking south near the Smithsonian Metro station entrance, Washington, D.C., 5:37 May 26, 2017.

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The day was beautiful what with all the recent rain having turned everything so vibrantly green and leafy. The Sun was shining in a clean, rain-washed blue sky fleeced with puffy cumulus clouds brightly illuminated yellowish-white by the low-angled sunlight. There was as gusty northwesterly breeze and the air temp was about 75F and the dew point around 54F.

There was such a lovely feel to the day that even the throngs of tourists on and near the Mall were less annoying than usual. That never happens.

National Mall near 14th Street and Madison Drive NW, Washington, D.C., 5:40PM May 26, 2017.

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At Bobby Van's -- my first time there -- I met Andrea. I don't get to see her much these days given her current position and responsibilities. We sat at the bar and had some excellent appetizers (the crab dip, the small pieces of filet mignon on bread, and a cheese platter) plus drinks (a Manhattan and some wine).

It was all very nice and very civilized (especially in contrast to so much of the rest of the night -- as explained below).

Another view of the National Mall near the same 14th Street and Madison Drive NW location, Washington, D.C., 5:40PM May 26, 2017.

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Her husband, Imara, was with Jake and Matt at Rebellion on 18th Street and we took a taxi there. The place is located next to Larry's Trap House and Opium Den Lounge

Things went instantly very wrong in that way that seems to happen to me way beyond a normal statistical odds.

The waiter -- if that's what you would call him -- was about 5'11" and oblate spheroid, weighing in at least 320 pounds, dressed like a hipster slob, and covered in tattoos. He instantly aggressively insisted that neither Andrea nor I could sit at the table (despite the fact there was certainly room) because it violated the fire code.

A young couple walking north in the 200 block of 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 5:44PM May 26, 2017.

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He walked off and Andrea and I sat down anyway, whereupon he came running -- lumbering -- back, yelling that he would call the police. I lost my temper with him almost immediately and was immediately kicked out with physically threatening moves on this part. (To that end, I said fuck you and called him a hippopotamus while going down the steep stairs to the main level.)

To be clear, I never saw anything quite like it: The upfront belligerence, the aggressive approach that would have included physical violence (all the more startling for someone of that size), the screaming about calling the police on something so trivial, and just the whole absurdity of it.

That being the case, I won't be going back there.

The sky above the U.S. Commerce Department building, Washington, D.C., 5:46PM May 26, 2017.

There was a fresh and refreshing breeze from the northwest at this point.

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The place (Rebellion) is trouble and I honestly cannot tell what the "look" for "vibe" or whatever the place is attempting in its catering to annoying D.C. millennials. As I see it, you do not run a restaurant like that. If there is a fire code issue, you have a sign up or something that alerts patrons upfront -- not through that approach by an out-of-control employee.

Rebellion is the place where this female bartender once worked with whom an ex-Larry's Lounge friend -- let's call him Uncle Fester because that's what he looks like -- had a big obsession (and despite the fact he is married and has a young child). When that situation blew up, she hurled glasses at him (as in, the things you drink out of).

The sky fleeced with cumulus clouds above Pershing Park next to the Willard InterContinental Washington hotel, Washington, D.C., 5:49PM May 26, 2017.

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I left with Andrea while the others stayed. I was furious that such bullshit INSTANTLY was visited upon me by the fates or God or whatever. I also figured that the others would just stay -- since nobody, but nobody, EVER takes my side in these things.

I am fed up with being the bad guy -- and in this case, I was not even if I argued back and said what I said to him.

However, it turned out they were just paying the bill and we all left together and went to nearby to the Blaguard. At some point -- after more drinks and shots -- Andrea went home and the three of us just stayed out. Being with three straight young men (ages 28 to 32), we naturally eventually ended up at that skanky club called Royal Palace with naked female dancers performing gravity-defying acrobatic maneuvers on various metal poles on elevated platforms illuminated by spotlights.

Yours truly and Imara at Blaguard, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2017.

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Royal Palace has managed to survive in that prime location at Florida and Connecticut Avenues into the year 2017 and shows no sign of going anywhere.

The place was actually a tad less ghastly than I remember. The female dancers did not come around the tables demanding money -- and insulting you if you didn't give it to them. And the door bouncer was not doubling as the deejay -- grunting into a microphone, "Yeeeaaahhh .... Look at dat. You can SMELL da funk!"

Another picture of Imara and me at Blaguard, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2017.

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Actually, now that I think about it, I recall that I was the one who recommended going there rather than to the strip clubs farther away on M Street NW.) I don't quite remember leaving but I made it home safe and sound -- and did not finally get up until 320PM this afternoon, although I woke up a number of times throughout the morning.

Jake and I at Blaguard, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2017.

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Once up for good, I made it to the gym and got in a 5-mile jog and almost an hour of moderately strenuous weightlifting plus a swim. I'm home now in my wee apartment, two lamps and the window air conditioner turned on. I just finished four loads of laundry. I may go out a bit later to No. 9 and Trade, but I'm really quite tired and want to be in bed by 2AM.

Outdoor café area at the Willard InterContinental Hotel, Washington, D.C., 5:50PM May 26, 2017.

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Tomorrow, my mom is taking the MARC train into D.C. to Union Station and we are going to lunch somewhere -- either there or take a taxi somewhere else. I was thinking maybe of Circa DC in Foggy Bottom and then, weather-permitting, showing her the Top of the Gate bar atop the Watergate hotel.

Monday is the Memorial Day holiday, and I have it off from work. However, the gym closes early that day -- 4PM and pool by 330PM -- so it is unlikely I'll be able to make it.

Cheese platter and wine at the bar at Bobby Van's Steakhouse, Washington, D.C., 6:54PM May 26, 2017.

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Looking ahead to next week, I leave for Chicago on Tuesday for the two-day workshop on Wednesday and Thursday. Thereafter, I'm taking off Friday to just sightsee -- as I may have mentioned recently, I've never actually been to Chicago (other than passing through O'Hare or Midway).

I was not able to get rooms for Thursday - Saturday nights, inclusive, but a former coworker named Amanda offered to let me stay at her apartment with her and her boyfriend. (To be clear, I have a (nice) hotel for Tuesday and Wednesday nights but that is part of the workshop and is on the government's dime. The rest is my own time and my responsibility.) I'm scheduled to return on Sunday evening, June 4th. I kind of wish I had made the return date instead on Saturday.

15th Street and New York Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 7:29PM May 26, 2017.

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OK, that's all for now. My plan is to post an entry either tomorrow or Monday.

This weekend's Jukebox Saturday Night entry edition to follow momentarily (as I already have it composed).

--Regulus

Friday, May 26, 2017

"Another Day, Another B1tch Day..."*

*Or so used to say my late paternal grandmother. I still miss that woman so much.


OK, this entry is just to replace the previous one as the lead. I do NOT need anything involving that stupid topic and its ostensible central focus as my lead. Idiot.

I have an entry-in-the-making, but it is a political-themed one and sort of expanded -- metastasized -- into something lengthy and vituperative and requiring all manner of pictures to break it up. At this point, that particular entry may never get posted.

Anyway, this entry is just to replace the previous one.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to bed for about 2 hours before going into work.

YO'MEYE'MAH. BIG.

--Regulus

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The A-Gay Boy Reaches 40 on the Interstate of Life, Next Exit, Is (Not) the Knacker's Yard; -OR- Onward, Time and Tide ...


It's May 25th and that means it's time for another celebratory birthday blog entry for a certain someone. Truthfully, I'm sort of making myself post this entry -- in part because I posted entries two and five, but it is this one in particular that calls out for an entry (yet one I had to force myself to write it because, well, I just don't care anymore; indeed, this entry is more just a general commentary than to any one specific person).


This birthday is the BIG FOR-OH, 4-Zero ... also known as FORTY.

Yes, that milestone relentlessly approached and came right on schedule. Yes, "time and tide wait for no man." Alternatively, "time is a harsh mistress" indeed.


Coincidentally it's also the 40th anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie (later retitled, "Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope").

That being the case, I have come up with what I think are a suitable mélange of videos to commemorate the event of a person of his caliber and character. They follow below.



As for turning 40, welcome to middle age.

It's not really a joyful time, all the more so as a gay man cut off from the standard arc of a middle class American straight male who is married, with children. In that trajectory of life, the wife turns the man, in a manner of speaking, into a buccal-pumping frog on a suburban lily-pad, but all the systems and structures of society are in place.


For a typical gay guy, that option at least culturally doesn't really exist as a viable option -- the exception being those gay men who marry some guy and settle down and end up morphing into a single blob (again, in a manner of speaking).



This is problematic for the "A-Gay" types, though, who basically just marry versions of themselves -- such a problematic course of action seldom works out (not because of the "marrying version of self part" itself but because the type of person "self" is).

(My working assumption here is that in the straight world, men marry versions of their mothers and women marry versions of their fathers. In the gay world, gay men marry themselves. As for lesbians, I have no idea.)


(Some of the comments to this one on the YouTube page are kinda funny.)

Gay middle age marks that long decent out of youth and -- no matter how much you go to the gym and try to eat right -- for the erstwhile A-lister into moobs, general sagginess, ever-more-leathery and crinkled tattoos (if one was dumb enough to get a bunch of them), not to mention that natural scent of Cheez Whiz and perfumed ass.

OK, maybe I exaggerate a bit -- and I added those last two parts after a friend texted that to me because I found them hilarious.



What is true is that the next awful generation of 20-something gay sorority boys -- gay mafia, indeed -- will take your place at the top of the vapid urban, upper middle class gay social hierarchy and, if you spend anytime in their presence, will look at you as though you're only good for the bone yard or glue factory (in England, the knacker's yard).


For the self-absorbed A-lister turning 40, think of the last 20 years of the first 40 as the climb to "Peak A-Gay," and know that the first 20 years of the next 40 is all about the loss of all that and, in the process, necessarily becoming something very different.



What that different thing is -- well, who's to say, that's up to the person within the contexts of ability, place, and time. Obviously, that's wide open.


The main effort should be to develop values, relationships, structures, and supportive resources that give one ability to navigate perilous time and tide. If not, then the journey will be a difficult and unhappy one. ()


It may also mean getting rid of relationships including friends that you previously though sacrosanct. Of course, some people are just inherently much more unhappy than others with life difficulties, so there's that to consider, as well, but that doesn't change the relentless pull of time and tide and the need to adapt (on your own terms as much as possible but not foolishly so -- fighting everything is a sure way to lose).


Have I done all of this at age 47-1/2? Hell no. But I think I'm beginning to see, perhaps, how to do it and within my own life context.

Onward, time and tide ...

--Regulus

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Late Wednesday Night Weather Update: A Wet Cut-Off System Progged to Cross Eastern U.S.; Info on Those Broody "X" Cicada Stragglers

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in base mode reflectivity looped 10:27PM to 10:59PM May 24, 2017.

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Back from the gym a short while ago.

It's a breezy, softly overcast, cool night, KDCA 11PM air temp 62°F and dew point 57°F with rainfall starting to move across the immediate D.C. area.

Looking at the weather situation, a cut-off low presently centered over the Ohio River valley (near Cincinnati) will loll eastward while the warm front associated with it pushes up the Eastern Seaboard courtesy a strengthening low-level jet.

NWS high-resolution surface weather map for a portion of the U.S. valid 0Z (UTC) May 25, 2017.

The system is starting to occlude and become vertically stacked.

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The moisture-laden system will be further enhanced by spokes of shortwave vorticity rotating through it, bringing moderate-to-heavy rainfall to the Baltimore/Washington region during the overnight hours. There is also the chance of thunderstorms as the low passes overhead and the late May Sun destabilizes the atmosphere.

The system should slowly push out by Friday with breezy conditions.

Here are the some radar images:

The NWS composite radar mosaic for a portion of the eastern United States at 2148UTC May 24, 2017.

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Southeastern U.S. sector composite radar looped 1828 to 1938UTC May 24, 2017.

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Great Lakes sector composite radar looped 1818 to 1928UTC May 24, 2017.

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Great Lakes sector composite radar looped 0148 to 0258UTC May 25, 2017.

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Earlier today in the warm sector, over the Southeastern U.S., there have been widespread tornado watches in effect all day and some tornado warnings.

Now this is the forecast. If KDCA ends up with, like, 0.05", well, that wouldn't be the first rainfall bust there, nor the last one.

Here is the CWG entry bellyaching about the rain.

A Brood X cicada on, yes, Locust Lane, Fairfax, Va.; photo by Kevin Ambrose.

For more info, see below. To be clear, a cicada is not a locust.

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Speaking of the CWG, here is a very informative CWG post featuring an interview with cicada expert Dan Mozgai -- keeper of the blog Cicada Mania -- on why these so-called "stragglers" from the 17-year cycle Brood "X" of cicadas have been emerging this spring across the D.C. area and portions of the eastern United States in non-trivial numbers -- despite not being due for another mass showing until 2021 (and joining the Brood VI that are expected):


A map of the Brood VI and Brood X cicada sightings in the eastern United States, May 2017.

The Brood VI are due to come out this year, but not the Brood X. Both are on 17-year cycles.

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I didn't realize there were so many broods variously on 13-and-17-year cycles, and the whole concept of "acceleration" is very interesting, too -- basically, evolution in action.

OK, that's all for the weather entry. At least one more entry to follow tonight.

--Regulus

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday 3T Travails: Chicago Travel Trouble; Trump Budget Trauma; & Treadmill Totally Tired

Storm-charged large waves on Lake Michigan battery the Chicago lake shore on a squally day; photograph by Joshua Mellin, source image here.

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It has been an awful day so far in that I had a crushing headache this early afternoon and I feel uneasy and agitated -- all the more so because of work-related issues (discussed below). However, first things first ...

I composed an entry last night but it is the one for M-WADE Tipamillyun turning the big For-OH, I mean, 4-0, later this week.

However, even as I composed it, I realized how little I care and that I'm only doing it basically out of a habit and custom.

What do I give a damn about anything to do with the Baby Wade?

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I'm also very perturbed about my impending -- yes, impending -- trip to Chicago next week. It's a work trip for the same program office for which I attended the workshop in Atlanta in early March and for the same purpose.


The issue is that I extended my stay from the end of the workshop (mid-afternoon Thursday) to Sunday in order to visit Chicago, a city I've never actually previously visited (instead only having jetted, pun intended, through O'Hare and Midway airports), but I cannot find a hotel room nor even an Airbnb (or VRBO).

Chicago as seen from a high rise overlooking Lincoln Park.

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The available hotel rooms and Airbnb spaces in the Loop / Near North Side / Lake View ("Boystown") / and Lincoln Park are exorbitantly priced (often well over $500/night) -- yet another libertarian "dynamic pricing" paradise, I guess, also known as "price gouging" -- and I'm tempted just to cancel the "pleasure" part of the trip.

As it is, I don't enjoy anything.

Buckingham Fountain in Chicago; let's all sing the "Married, With Children" theme song.

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Quick, somebody call Big Y'EYEMAH, a.k.a., the Big Yo'meye'mah (thanks, Chris T. for that): I could use the cooing at that crowded mind-body intersection of failure, passivity, and enormity.

I actually don't believe that there is a shortage of rooms for a random weekend in early June in Chicago. I think it's more the Orwellian quality of our reality.

Cloud Gate, a.k.a., "The Bean," Millennium Park, Chicago.

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At this point, if I want to stay, is find a place miles and miles out and take in the "L" train through every Good Times ghetto just to see the Cloud Gate sculpture, a.k.a., The Bean, the Willis (Sears) Tower, and Buckingham Fountain. (Then there was the Chicago Stockyards, but I'm not sure where they were located.)

I might just nix the extra three days -- it's just not worth it given all the transportation and accommodation troubles.

Chicago's infamous stockyards: Union Stock Yard & Transit Co., 1947.

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Beyond that, though, the bigger issue is whether I'll even have my current job by fall thanks to the Trump/Putin budget that just came out -- one that the inverted Marxist Republican radicals of the GOP Cult are only too happy to pass since it includes Paul Ryan's "secret sauce" of no taxes on billionaires mixed with a bunch of libertarian claptrap, Mitch McConnell amorality, and neo-Confederate "Freedom Caucus" tea-baggery.

Abandoned garden apartment complex outdoor courtyard -- quickly becoming overgrown along Q Street just west of the Dumbarton Bridge over Rock Creek -- Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 3:33PM May 21, 2017.

I suspect that this apartment complex is to undergo a major renovation -- or replacement. Nothing remains abandoned in Georgetown for very long.

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This budget "proposal" is a disaster for the part of the federal agency that I support, but none of it is intended to work. Again, we're back to George Orwell territory.

This is a good time to post this memorable and timely quote by the late, great Isaac Asimov:

"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'"

-- Isaac Asimov, 1980 "A Cult of Ignorance"

If I do lose this job, well, I'm not going to kill myself trying to get another one. Instead of looking for a job, I'll just be the best burden to society that I can be.

We've created a Frankensteinian monstrous system that is simultaneously rigged and so overcrowded that it no longer functions.

Ooohhh, let me submit my resume to this online portal and watch the magic of the internet and the "marketplace" take over.

What a bunch of 1998 techno-glibertarian garbage is that.

That's the kind of shit that Wall-P spouts in some self-deluded sense of his own genius, clueless that he is a bribed tool of oligarchical intrigue living in a gilded cage.

"Eh. Eh. Eheheh. Looking for a job is all failure until it's a success. Eh. Eh. Eheheh."

Ohhhh, shut-up, Wall-P, you travel-sized tube of vendible corporate stoogery.

In point of fact, the internet is nothing but filth, foreign trolls, malware, alternative facts and false realities, and atomization of human relations.

2700 block Poplar St NW, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 3:40PM May 21, 2017.

Poplar Street is a side street in Georgetown that dead ends into a flight of steps leading up to the sidewalk of 28th Street between O and P Streets NW.

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Anyway, last night, I went to the gym and had a decent workout BUT! I dramatically reduced my treadmill time from 65 minutes to 30 minutes and only got to 2.6 miles rather than 6.67 miles.

This was partly because I walked about 9 miles on Sunday on a big loop from my apartment via Dupont Circle into Georgetown to the Key Bridge, down the Mt. Vernon bike trail to the 14th Street Bridge and back home via Trade. (The remainder of the photographic images in this entry were taken on that walk.)

Another view of the 2700 block of Poplar Street, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 3:40PM May 21, 2017.

To be clear, the 2700 block of Poplar Street is the only block of Poplar Street that exists.

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In addition, I'm just completely burnt out on jogging so much -- and in the context of having gained nearly 20 pounds in the past 12 to 18 months (true, about half is muscle mass) -- following a loss of 42 pounds the 3-1/2 years prior to that, and I don't feel like blowing out my knees by the time I am a 50-something man.

Rosslyn skyline as seen on the Key Bridge over the Potomac River, 5:14PM May 21, 2017.

Sunday was quite overcast at times but there wasn't any rain.

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As it is, I've treadmill jogged on the order of 3,000 miles in the past 4 years and 11 months, so that's clear across the Lower 48. This is a ballpark figure based on a few reasonable assumptions.

The Washington Monument (and Post Office Tower) as seen across the Potomac River from the Mt. Vernon bicycle trail, Arlington, Va., 5:58PM May 21, 2017.

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For tonight, I'm unsure whether to go to the gym again. My plan had been Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, but I could do Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Another view of the Washington Monument as seen across the Potomac River from the Mt. Vernon bicycle trail, Arlington, Va., 6:03PM May 21, 2017.

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Today is an overcast, cool day, air temp around 67F, dew point about 60F, easterly (maritime) breeze, and scattered light showers in the area. Rain is forecasted for tonight and again tomorrow night into Thursday. Good.

Folks are bellyaching because it isn't relentlessly hot and sunny. To hell with them. This isn't frickin' Phoenix.

The base of the Washington Monument and nearby trees, Washington, D.C., 6:48PM May 21, 2017.

The National Mall area was overloaded with tourists. The tourists from, say, the Arab speaking countries or India or Europe only get on nerves light-to-moderately.

It's the yall'ing, drawling, slovenly bovine tourists from Trump's America really get on my nerves -- and the last thing I want to do, when on a walk making a pit stop at one of the memorials' subterranean bathrooms, is to smell the inside of their colons and the remains of their digested "Make America Great Again" McRib dinners.

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OK, I think that's all for now. I'm in a crap mood today and additional writing isn't going to improve that.

Pfft.

As an update to the Chicago trip, I know a former coworker who lives there with her boyfriend who said I could stay at their apartment, so maybe I will remain there the extra three days.

--Regulus