Saturday, April 29, 2017

Jukebox Saturday Night for April 29th, 2017: The Trump 100 Dumpster Fyre Festival Daze Edition -OR- Ja Rule Is Never On Time

Let's start out with a nice, mellow piece ...


"Is It You" by Lee Ritenour ft. Eric Tagg on his album Rit (1981)

This is a live performance from way back when.

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Next up, an old school love song from the early 1970s ...


"Oh Girl" by The Chi-Lites from their album A Lonely Man (1972)

Paul Young, of course, did another popular version of this song in 1990.

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To end this edition of Jukebox Saturday Night, I can't think of a better song than one that is a nod to the rapper Ja Rule and the hilarious catastrophe* of his Fyre Festival this past week on Great Exuma in the Bahamas. The refrain lyrics to this seem vaguely appropriate, too.

I should note that this is definitely the only song by Ja Rule that (1) I know is by him, and (2) I kind of like.


"Always on Time" by Ja Rule (ft. Ashanti) from his Pain is Love release (2001)

*I say this because, thankfully, it appears that no one was hurt (or worse) in the aptly-described "Lord of the Flies" situation that quickly engulfed this would-be "transformative" two-weekend music festival. You can read about what happened here, here, here, here, and here.


Even the New York Times wrote about it.

Given that today is Trump's official 100-day mark in the office he should NEVER have occupied, it's worth pointing out that what happened at Fyre Festival is something you could see happening with any bullshit Trump event.

Here's Ja Rule's incoherent -- as in, logically nonsensical -- apology tweet for the whole thing ...

What an idiot.

These big name rappers live in an alternate reality -- one that is as absurd and devoid of good sense as it is risky to their own well being. Well, at least Ja Rule spelled everything correctly.

Oh, and in the future, maybe wealthy American Millennials shouldn't take their vacation cues from frickin' bikini-clad models on yachts posted on Instagram.

OK, that's all for now ... wait a minute. I don't want to end on a sour note on this day. So let's feature one more song ...


"What the World Needs Now" by Jackie DeShannon from her album This Is Jackie DeShannon (1965).

This video version is a nice picture montage of Ms. DeShannon.

This song was written by the great Burt Bacharach, who is still alive (he's 88), with lyrics by Hal David. As for Ms. DeShannon, she is 75 and has a weekend gig on Breakfast with the Beatles on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. What's more, her 76th birthday is Aug. 21st, 2017 -- the day of the Great American Eclipse!

OK, that's all for now. Please see my previous entry for a brief update.

--Regulus

Saturday Evening Post for April 29th, 2017: First 90F Day of the Year Here in D.C.; First 100 Days of Trump Tragi-Farce; and a Brief Update

**This entry was posted April 29th, 2017.**

2000 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 4:02PM April 29, 2017.

It already looks (and feels) like high summer.

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As a brief update this Saturday night ...

For starts, last night, I went to No. 9 and Trade but have nothing of note to say. I got home and went to bed around 4AM. Today, I finally got up and out of bed around 3PM (!), but I did make it to the gym. I did a 5-mile jog over 47+ minutes, not my usual 6-1/3 miles over 60 minutes. I also got in some weightlifting and a swim.

Weather Update ...

The composite radar national mosaic for the central portion of the United States at 2248 UTC (5:48PM CDT), April 29, 2017.

As you can see -- and, as usual -- all the interesting weather is well-removed from the mid-Atlantic region.

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Today was a frickin' excessively hot day -- the first 90F official reading of the year here in D.C. with a high of 91F at KDCA. That also tied the daily record high for the day (set way back in 1871 in a pre-National Airport record). Meanwhile, both KBWI and KIAD reached 89F while KDMH had a high of 92F.

The KIAD high was also a daily record high -- surpassing the 87F set in 1996 and 1974. KDMH does not have a 30-year record period yet.

Overnight lows might challenge daily record high minima. These are in the 62F to 68F range, depending on the airport location.

NWS map of weather advisories, updated 2318 UTC (7:18PM EDT) April 29, 2017.

It looks about the same now. This map does not include the legend but the dark red are flash flood warnings, lime are flood warnings, hot pink is winter storm warnings, and orange red are blizzard warnings, among others.

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The middle of the United States is very stormy (see above images) with everything from flash flood and flood warnings in Missouri to winter storm and blizzard warnings in western Kansas (see map above). Here in the mid-Atlantic, there isn't much weather. There are t-storms in the forecast, but I call bullshit on that.

Here are some radar and other weather-related images:

Great Lakes sector NWS composite radar mosaic, looped 2128 - 2238 UTC April 29, 2017.

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Upper Mississippi Valley sector NWS composite radar mosaic, looped 2158 - 2308 UTC April 29, 2017.

In southern Missouri, that is a squall line. In western Kansas, that is wind-driven snow and sleet.

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NWS high-resolution surface weather map for a portion of the Lower 48, 0Z (8PM EDT) April 30 (April 29th), 2017.

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I guess I have to note this ...

Today is Trump's 100th day in office (and office that he should never have held and won for reasons that are historical tragedy and farce blended together). Trump apparently spent it tweeting away about bullshit (unfair media coverage) before running up to Harrisburg Pennsylvania for a hate rally with his idiot enthno-national marks, er, devoted supporters. It was also the climate rally here in D.C. (obviously, I didn't go to it).


For tonight, I don't really have anything planned -- just the usual Saturday night doings (Trade and Old Ebbitt). For tomorrow -- Sunday, my own totally free day -- I would like to get up early (that is, before 1PM) and take a walk before getting lunch somewhere.

Ha ha

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OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will be Monday or Tuesday. However, I have a jukebox Saturday Night entry to follow shortly.

--Regulus

Friday, April 28, 2017

An Astronomical Feast of Saturnalia: NASA JPL Video and Vox.com Reposting of Cassini's Grand Finale - An Overview; Images from Cassini's First Successful Pass Between Saturn and Its Rings


The best 3 minutes 40 seconds you'll spend today: NASA JPL overview of the fearlessly awesome little Cassini probe's "Grand Finale" act at Saturn.

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Below are two articles reposted in full from Vox.com with images taken from the articles along with some additional relevant pictures / photographs. (I've moved a few of the images to break up the text and made some additions / tweaks to the captions, as well.)

The Cassini spacecraft's dive in between Saturn's rings, explained

The spacecraft begins its "grand finale" before crashing into the gas giant later this year.

Updated by Brian Resnick@B_resnickbrian@vox.com Apr 26, 2017, 1:51pm EDT

Source here.

An artist's rendition of what Cassini’s crash into Saturn will look like. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Note: Yes, the daytime sky of Saturn just above the clouds appears blue -- it's still Rayleigh scattering. (Mars is odd because it is a hybrid of Rayleigh and Mie scattering.)

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The Cassini spacecraft is going where no ship has gone before: On Wednesday, it begins a series of dives into the space between Saturn and its magnificent rings. The maneuver -- a series of 22 orbits that will bring Cassini increasingly closer to Saturn's surface before crashing into it -- is called the spacecraft's "grand finale." And to mark this final journey, Cassini is being honored with a Google Doodle.


Over its last 13 years in orbit, Cassini has had an amazing run studying Saturn and its moons. Here's what the spacecraft has taught us so far -- and why its final mission may be its most spectacular yet.

In its last days, Cassini keeps generating fascinating insights

Colorized image of Titan in front of Saturn's rings.

Cassini -- named after the 17th-century astronomer Giovanni Cassini -- launched from Cape Canaveral in October 1997 in collaboration with the European Space Agency. When it launched, we were still a few months away from Bill Clinton's damning "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" remark. Harry Potter had not yet been published in the United States.

From there, it took Cassini and the Huygens lander (destined to touch down on the moon Titan) seven years to reach Saturn. Once it arrived, it started to make impressive discoveries.

On Titan, Cassini and Huygens revealed surprisingly Earthlike geographic features and great lakes of liquid natural gas on the moon's surface that outweigh all the oil and gas reserves on Earth. Cassini found evidence of an underground ocean on the moon Enceladus. It learned how new moons could form out of Saturn's rings.

Colorized image of the surface of Titan taken by Huygens; source here.

And it has taken detailed, beautiful photographic surveys of the planet's rings and surface features.

NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute; Saturn and its mighty rings silhouetted by the eclipsed distant Sun.

Nearing the end of its life, Cassini is still producing scientific discoveries at a fast clip.

Earlier in April, NASA announced that the spacecraft had found the most compelling evidence yet that the ocean underneath Enceladus could contain life.

Previously, the Cassini spacecraft has observed jets of water containing organic chemicals streaming from Enceladus. This latest finding adds a key ingredient for life to the mix: hydrogen. The presence of hydrogen in the jets makes NASA scientists suspect there are geothermal geysers on Enceladus's ocean floor. Like the geothermal vents deep within Earth's oceans, these could be home to microbes that use the chemical energy of hydrogen and carbon dioxide to produce methane and energy for life.

Above: Jets of water shooting from the surface of Enceladus, as seen by Cassini.

Now Cassini is beginning a series of harrowing orbits that bring it into the space between Saturn and its rings -- a region no spacecraft has been before. When Cassini is in the inner rings, it will finally be able to take the measurements that will aid in calculations to determine the mass of the rings.

Why NASA is diving into the space between Saturn and its rings

Density waves in Saturn's A Ring as seen in a close up image taken by Cassini in 2004 spanning about 220-km; source here.

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On Wednesday, Cassini begins a maneuver that is unprecedented in the history of spaceflight: It's adjusting its trajectory to bring it inside the 1,500-mile-wide gap between Saturn and its rings for 22 orbits.

This is what that dive will look like from Cassini's perspective:

In this looped animated gif, we see Saturn from the perspective of Cassini -- swooping "down" onto the planet at 77,000 mph (21.4 miles per second) relative to it for a pass that takes Cassini inside the orbit of its inner rings and barely 1,900 miles above the cloud tops. As Saturn recedes after the first pass, we can see the distant Sun.

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In these illustrations (below), the blue lines represent each of the 22 orbits getting closer and closer to the atmosphere of the giant planet. The red line represents the final orbit, which will end with Cassini crashing into Saturn's atmosphere.

NASA / JPL

In this space, Cassini will be able to take new measurements to better determine the total mass of Saturn's rings. NASA already knows the mass of Saturn plus its rings. Getting closer to the planet will allow Cassini to take its mass without factoring in the rings. That information will help scientists better understand how the rings formed (which in turn can help them understand how all the planets formed from rings of material around the sun).

The orbits will also produce the closest-ever observations of Saturn's clouds -- yielding incredible images.

NASA / JPL

It will be a thrilling journey, but also a perilous one. NASA has saved the ring-grazing orbits for Cassini's finale in part because they are dangerous. The orbits will bring Cassini close to debris and rocks that could take it offline.

"We're going out in a blaze of glory"

This artist's concept shows an over-the-shoulder view of Cassini making one of its grand finale dives over Saturn. NASA / JPL

Come September 15, Cassini will crash into Saturn, having spent all of its fuel. But the death dive isn't just for fireworks. If the spacecraft doesn’t plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere, it runs the risk of potentially contaminating one of the planet's moons with debris and microbes from Earth.

Curious wave-like patterns in Saturn's otherwise incredibly smooth rings created by the tiny moonlet of Daphnis (diameter just 5-miles and casting a shadow).

As Phil Plait explained here, Daphnis orbits at a slight angle to the rings -- alternating "above" and "below" them, pulling the pebble-to-boulder-sized icy, rocky bits that comprise the rings. Daphnis creates the Keeler Gap within the A Ring.

And there's no turning back: "The spacecraft is now on a ballistic path," Earl Maize, a Cassini project manager, said in a press statement, meaning that the spacecraft's path is shaped mostly by gravity, not by thrusters. "Even if we were to forgo future small course adjustments using thrusters, we would still enter Saturn’s atmosphere on Sept. 15 no matter what."

Artist's conception of what it looks like "within" Saturn's rings. The rings are believed to be incredibly "flat" -- with a width no more than a few dozen meters "thick" versus 200,000-km across.

Keep in mind that any stray bit of rock/ice that collides with Cassini on any one of its remaining 21 "Grand Finale" orbits could knock it out of commission before the final plunge.

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Cassini's dramatic finale is also a last chance to squeeze some more insights out of the 20-year-old spacecraft. As it descends into Saturn’s atmosphere, "several of the instruments will be on," including the mass spectrometer, Preston Dyches, a NASA spokesperson, says. This instrument essentially can "sniff" the atmosphere and determine the chemical compounds it's composed of.

Saturn's strange little moon of Mimas appears to hover above the planet's awesome ring system.

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On April 12, days before it made its final flyby of Titan, Cassini captured this incredible image of Earth shining through Saturn's rings, as if to remind us of how far it's come since beginning its journey. From Saturn, we're just a tiny bright speck in the darkness.

When Cassini finally goes offline in September, it will die doing what it's been doing all along: exploring.

Earth as a speck of light seen through the rings of Saturn across 870 million miles (1.4 billion kilometers) as captured by Cassini at 10:41PM PDT April 12, 2017 / 1:41AM EDT April 13, 2017.

As noted here, although far too small to be visible in the image, the part of Earth facing Cassini at the time was the southern Atlantic Ocean.

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Here we can see Earth's Moon (smaller, dimmer speck to the left) in this zoomed in / cropped image.

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Screenshot from this strange YouTube video short of Saturn "plunging" into the Sun -- making its approach to Earth (here about 1 million km away). The dark spot on Saturn is the Earth's shadow. (Obviously, this cataclysmic scenario would obliterate the Earth - Moon system.)

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Photos: what Cassini saw as it dived in between Saturn and its rings

The spacecraft survived its first "grand finale" dive. These pictures prove it.

On Wednesday, April 26, the Cassini spacecraft did something extraordinary: It slipped through the gap between Saturn and its rings, becoming the first spacecraft ever to explore this region.

The trip took it closer to the top of Saturn's atmosphere than any spacecraft had been before. And, yes, there are pictures.

On Thursday, NASA released these unprocessed images from Cassini. (Unprocessed means dust and other photographic artifacts are still in the shot.) What they represent is extraordinary: photographs taken just 1,900 miles above Saturn's atmosphere, while traveling at a speed of 77,000 mph relative to Saturn.

Here you can see a cyclone spinning in Saturn's atmosphere:


These two images (below) show banding and cloud features in Saturn's atmosphere.

Not bad at all for a 20-year-old camera 800 million-plus miles away.


Cassini's camera didn't have its color filters turned on for this pass, so we won't be seeing close-up, full-color images. "We were moving too fast to be able to take multiple filters over the same place on the planet," Preston Dyches, a NASA spokesperson, says. "When the spacecraft is really close to just Saturn like that, it's not possible to remain pointed at the same location long enough to snap a red, green, and blue Image." (NASA usually can combine the red, green, and blue images for a full-color representation.)

In any case, it's still thrilling to get shots this close.


The images come to us from Cassini's "grand finale" -- a series of 22 orbits bringing the spacecraft inside the 1,500-mile-wide gap between Saturn and its rings. The photos are only a small part of the mission. Another objective is to take new measurements to better determine the total mass of Saturn's rings.

NASA already knows the mass of Saturn plus its rings. Getting closer to the planet will allow Cassini to take its mass without factoring in the rings. That information will help scientists better understand how the rings formed (which in turn can help them understand how all the planets formed from rings of material around the sun).

After the 22 orbits, Cassini will crash into Saturn's atmosphere. Read more about Cassini's "grand finale" here.

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As a concluding image ...

A favorite image of mine: Saturn as it would appear in the daytime sky if at the distance of the Moon; source here (yes, another Yeti Dynamics production).

In reality, being that close, Earth would be uninhabitable for life given it would be deep inside Saturn's magnetosphere. Furthermore, so deep within the gravity well of far more massive Saturn, Earth would also be quickly tidally-locked to it so that even if our planet had a tolerable atmosphere, the climate would be totally incapable of supporting life as it now exists.

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OK, that's all for now. Please see previous entry for a brief update.

--Regulus

Friday Night Shtick, Would-Be Weekend Walrus

**This entry was posted April 28th, 2017.**

A walrus.

I remember years -- decades -- ago when I worked at age 16 as a busboy at a Longhorn Steak & Seafood in Glen Burnie, Md., and one of the young waiters -- talking to someone else about how he felt seeing a thin man next to his huge, fat wife eating at the restaurant -- said, "I hate seeing a stick next to a walrus."

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Friday evening. (Alas, and speaking of walruses, this entry is not a BIG Y'EYEMAH's Friday Night Creature Feature edition ...)

This is just a quick update ahead of the main entry that I want to post.

For tonight, I want to trek to the Columbia Heights Target this evening to see if I can find a hair clipper (with no. 2 razor). Given this is the only haircut I get now, I might as well start doing it myself. Thereafter, I need to get dinner and I guess I'll go to Trade.

Last night, I went to the restaurant Lincoln and had what turned out to be quite a nice dinner at the bar. I stopped at Trade for a bit but headed home and watched TV and composed the entry I am about to post (although I had to defer all the formatting as it was so late by the time I finished drafting it).


For this weekend, and at the risk of becoming fat like a walrus, I'm considering just taking off Saturday from the gym and having two free days to myself. I'm kind of tired of the gym and feeling a bit unmotivated and worn out. However, I am not going down to the climate rally tomorrow on the Mall because, among other reasons, it will be too goddamn hot (near 90F and humid).

This means my usual Saturday night blogging might be altered or curtailed.

Oh, yes, we got a 1-week CR extension that allows me to continue to come to work. What a normal and healthy way to run a national government and society. Tomorrow, by the way, is Trump's 100 days. I'm not even going to try to post commentary now, although I do like this cartoon that is in the WaHoPo:

A larger version and number key are here.

Oh, and this Jonathan Chait piece is worth a read: The Specter of Illegitimacy Haunts Trump's First 100 Days.

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OK, that's all for now. Next entry to follow ...

--Regulus

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Late Night Blog Maundering: Rainfall Overview; Assessing Trump's Impending First 100 Days of Failure; Remembering Erin Moran; Poor Simon the Rabbit; & Prelude to Cassini's Grand Finale

McPherson Square at night, Washington, D.C., 8:33PM April 25, 2017.

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Well, I had planned a regular entry tonight but it turns out that I have some work-related work to do tonight by way of finishing writing up the notes from the workshop I attended in Durham last week.

OK (even before posting this entry), this entry ended up a lengthy one -- and at this point, I just need to go to sleep. I'll get up and go into work early tomorrow.

Barcelona, 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C., evening, April 23, 2017.

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I went to the gym tonight but it wasn't that good of a workout -- in particular, I only did one-third of my usual hour jog on the treadmill. I managed to get in an hour of weightlifting, but in looking at myself in the mirror in the locker room, it was just depressing.

Couple walking along 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C., around 7PM, April 23, 2017.

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I'm getting old (and look it) and what's more, I've certainly plateaued in achievement. I could easily put on weight again. I'm approaching the 5-year anniversary of having rejoined the gym (the old National Capital YMCA).

Patrons at Starbucks, 1400 block P Street NW, Washington, D.C., April 23, 2017.

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I'm also forced to admit that I just don't have any real gay male friends. There are a few that I like -- Fred, Chris in Atlanta, and even Chris in Massachusetts (although that one is a bit problematic) -- but I just don't get along with gay men, especially those under about 35 years of age. Yes, I realize this is my issue rather than the larger world's but that doesn't help me resolve it. In fact, at this point, it is unlikely I can change it.

1400 block, Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 10:13PM April 25, 2017.

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Turning to the Weather ...

The weather is shifting back to very warm and humid.

The rainfall of the previous two days -- which caused massive wailing and gnashing of teeth on the CWG -- didn't amount to a great deal, specifically, in the range of 1/3 to 2/3 of an inch to include the following:

KDCA: 0.31 inches
KBWI: 0.67 inches
KIAD: 0.44 inches
KDMH: 0.67 inches

For the past week (since April 20th), the totals are:

KDCA: 0.85 inches
KBWI: 1.37 inches
KIAD: 1.27 inches
KDMH: 0.95 inches

The drought has been alleviated somewhat this month but conditions still remain too dry after 6+ months of well below normal precipitation (and well above normal temperatures).

Meanwhile, the coastal storm / cut-off low dropped 5 to 10 inches of rain in parts of North Carolina including the Rayleigh-Durham area where I was last week with KRDU recording 6.68 inches on the 24th and 25th and 7.75 inches since April 20th.

With the impending warm weather -- highs around 85F to near 90F on Saturday -- April is on track to be the warmest one on record at both KDCA and KBWI.

A few other items ...

Seth Meyers on Donald Trump's first 100 days ...



About the 100-day marker -- which arrives this coming Saturday when we may or may not have a federal government shutdown that would result in my being furloughed -- here is an excellent piece by Matthew Yglesias on the history of a U.S. president's first 100 days starting with FDR and how Trump's fixation with it (part of his obsession with cable media punditry in general) screws up the whole thing by letting it control him.


As I'm sure you've heard, Actress Erin Moran died this past Saturday at age 56 -- reportedly due to complications of stage 4 throat cancer. However, since her acting days -- most famously, Happy Days and its ill-conceived, self-parodying spin-off, Joanie Loves Chachi, Ms. Moran's life was reportedly rather difficult with substance abuse issues. In recent years, she was living in a trailer park in Indiana and there was even a story a few years ago that she was homeless.


Upon her death, the surviving cast members of Happy Days all took to social media to write very nice things about her (whatever their actual present-day relationship with her was). However, Scott Baio decided to make Moran's death about himself.

As context, Scott Baio a real rightwing d-bag in love with Donald Trump and who last year caused a stir when he called Hillary Clinton the c-word around the time he attended the GOP Hate-Week 2016 political convention.


Without knowing anything, Baio implied she had died of drugs and alcohol abuse rather than cancer -- and then defended his assholery with more Scott Baio assholery mixed with his vintage political victimization shtick.

This prompted a withering blast from Moran's brother, actor Tony Moran, that turned into a thermonuclear blast when Baio's wife contacted him (Tony) to apologize. You can read about it here: Erin Moran's Brother Launches Withering Attack On "Tiny" "Coward" Scott Baio.

The "tiny" part refers to Baio's penis. Tony also called him a "piece of shit." He also threatened to beat the shit out of Baio if he comes across him.

Left: Actor Tony Moran, the late Erin Moran's older brother. I wouldn't want to cross him.

It's hard to overstate what an asshole is Scott Baio, but this is a time that should be about Erin Moran, not him.

Of note, in the obituaries to Ms. Moran I read, I didn't see mention of the most infamous movie (Galaxy of Terror) in which she starred. A horrible, violent, awful movie with no redeeming qualities, it's become a sort of cult classic that I saw one time (and one time only!) -- in the summer of 1982 or '83 -- with my childhood best friend Jonathan at his old house in Rumson, N.J., during one of my many sleepovers during our Tradewinds Beach Club days.

Also of note, there was a period of time from 1979 to 1981 (age 9 to 11), I was obsessed with Happy Days -- in particular Anson Williams.


I had this whole bizarre fantasy world that I was living in Happy Days -- and was even fixated on Milwaukee at one point. It began when I was still living in Long Branch, N.J., and extended all the way to early 1981 when I was living in Texas.

I even once wrote handwrote a letter to Ron Howard and -- per a suggestion from my late second cousin Betty Lu -- addressed the envelope as follows:

Ron Howard
Star of "Happy Days"
Hollywood, California

The letter eventually came back a few months later -- return to sender, address unknown.

Some sad news except the "hare/O'Hare" part is just too much (link): "Much-loved" giant rabbit found dead after United flight to O'Hare.

It's the story of a giant rabbit named Simon (pictured left) that was on his way from England to a farm in Iowa via Chicago O'Hare -- on image-marred United Airlines, no less -- who inexplicably died during the journey. Simon was to be entered into the "biggest rabbit" contest at this year's Iowa State Fair. He was the offspring of Darius, the world's long's rabbit.

Poor Simon.

Animals should not be transported as cargo on passenger jets. (As for the Post story linked above, the comment section is filled with a lot of jokes and bad puns, including a few by yours truly (Arcturus 24).)

I am curious, though, how one takes care of this creature. If you do have a rabbit this big as a pet, how do you care for it? Do you walk (hop?) it??

OK, I'm going to wrap up this entry now.

Some Preliminary Thoughts on Cassini at the Start of its "Grand Finale" ...


In my next entry, I really want to discuss the Cassini Saturn probe -- which just started its Grand Finale that will see the intrepid little probe burn up in the Saturnian atmosphere. Now this presupposes the probe survives a series of fantastic maneuvers that will take it ever closer to Saturn -- inside the ring -- between April 26th and the final, fiery plunge on Sept. 15th, 2017.

Artist's conception of the brave, awesome little Cassini probe on its final plunge into Saturn's atmosphere on September 15, 2017.

Cassini will disintegrate in Saturn's atmosphere -- but in so doing, it will become part of Saturn itself.

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I want to dedicate a full entry to this -- and the wondrous discovers that Cassini (and its Huygens probe to Titan) has given us over the past 13 years.

--Regulus