Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Perry Mason's Silent Six, Hampton Fancher, Electric Sheep, & (Not) Hopped Up on Goofballs

Corner of P and 18th St NW, Washington, D.C., 7:28 p.m. July 29, 2018.

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I had intended to post this entry last night, but in the end, I just ran out of oomph to finish composing it.

It is now 24 hours later, and I'm again home from the gym after work and watching a Carol Burnett & Friends rerun ahead of, yes, Perry Mason.

The month of July ends in just under an hour -- and while more rain is in the forecast, it doesn't look like any more will fall this calendar day to add to the month's hefty totals. I will have a summary of rainfall stats for KDCA, KBWI, KIAD, and KDMH including the records that were set (although KBWI will miss an all-time monthly total).

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OK, from last night …


I'm watching the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Silent Six." It features as the villain a guy named Hamp Fisher, who is played by the actor Hampton Fancher. Curious, I looked up about Hampton Fancher and found this very interesting New Yorker article from August 2017: Hampton Fancher on the Edge of Fame and with a sub-line: The promiscuous adventures of a man-about-town.

This is quite an intro:

In the nineteen-sixties and seventies, Hampton Fancher appeared on more than fifty TV shows and starred in several obscure films. Only two obstacles kept him from becoming a true leading man. One was his hair, a thick brown thatch like an oriole's nest. "You couldn't even find the scalp," Fancher said the other afternoon, in his Brooklyn loft.

"So, because I was also tall" -- nearly six feet five -- "I got cast as the oddball: the firebug, the rapist, the coward." The second obstacle was his personality. "I exuded a lazy superiority that came from the trembling part of me I kept hidden from myself—from the fear that I was an asshole."

Always charismatic -- he had a long relationship with Barbara Hershey and shorter relationships with many, many other women -- he was the smoldering figure at the edge of the frame. Fancher is now seventy-nine, and his hair has relaxed into a graying nimbus.

Left: Francher and first wife, Sue Lyon, in 1964.

His personality has relaxed, too. He sat on an orange exercise ball in his living room, wearing a sarong fastened with a binder clip, blithely discussing what it was like to be the subject of a new documentary, "Escapes," made by Michael Almereyda.


There is also this part:

The seventies were tougher, grainier. In 1977, after quitting the partying life, Fancher stopped acting to become a full-time writer. Over the course of several years, he turned a Philip K. Dick novel into a script that became the bones of "Blade Runner," the dystopian Ridley Scott film.

That Philip K. Dick novel was, of course, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Finally:

This October brings Scott’s "Blade Runner 2049," featuring Harrison Ford, the star of the original, and Ryan Gosling. When the filmmakers began trying to devise a story for the reboot, Fancher said, "Ridley didn't call me for a year. He went to everyone else first, and I felt bad. The joke from him and his team, after he finally did call, was 'We need the old magic!' But the truth is they were desperate."

He smiled. Fancher shares a screenplay credit for the film, and has the sole story credit.

Fancher is now 80 years old and appears to be going fine.

The episode's protagonist -- Sgt. Dave Wolfe -- is played by Skip Homeier.

Perhaps best known for his role in Tomorrow, the World! as a child actor, Homeier was a prolific film and TV actor through the 1950s and 1960s. He was in so many of the those ancient mid-20th Century TV shows I watch in timeless reruns on MeTV: Star Trek: TOS (including the episode "Patterns of Force"), The Outer Limits, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Perry Mason, among others.

Homeier passed away last June (2017) at the age of 86.

As for the Perry Mason episode, in the climatic courtroom scene -- after recounting the savage beating Mr. Fisher inflicted on Sgt. Wolfe's sister character, Susan Wolfe (played by actress Chris Noel) -- Perry Mason asks of Mr. Fisher: "What kind of animal are you?"

There are also at least two references to people being "hopped up on goofballs." "Goofballs" appears to be an old term for barbiturates, marijuana, or any narcotic. "Hopped up" means, of course, excited -- and possibly the "hop" part is linked to opium or other narcotics. Source here. In the recent past, the term "hopped up on goofballs" was made famous by Chief Wiggum in an episode of The Simpsons.

And, yes, the image above is a genuine book cover from 1967. Source here and here.

Returning to the Perry Mason episode …

However, Mr. Fisher is not the actual killer. That would be Ron Peters -- played by actor David Macklin.  In the climax and denouement, you find out that Mr. Peters knows he killed the wrong person (he thought he was killing the person beating Ms. , he blasts all the other bit characters for their indecency as he screams "I CARED! I CARED! I CARED!" Of note, David Macklin passed away in April 2017.

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OK, that's all for this entry (which I wrote last night). I'm going to attempt to post another one later tonight.

--Regulus

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Jukebox Saturday Night for July 28th, 2018: The After Hours, Chill Factor, and Dr. Jones Edition Plus MeTV-Viewing Update

First up, something really nice one of the great "urban jazz" performers of the recent past …


"After Hours" by Ronny Jordan from his album The Antidote (1991)

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Let's continue the smooth and enjoyable pace …


"Chill Factor" by Richard Elliot from the album of same name (1999)

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Next up, something old school 1990s "Eurodance" upbeat with a very campy video (and, yes, I had to embed this from Vimeo since I couldn't find a YouTube version) …

Updated 4/6/2019: The Vimeo video disappeared, so I'm replacing it with this live performance by Aqua.


"Dr. Jones" by Aqua from the group's hit album Aquarium (1997)

About Aqua, as The Keeper of All Knowledge explains:

Aqua is a Danish-Norwegian eurodance group, best known for their 1997 break-through single "Barbie Girl". The group formed in 1989 and achieved huge success around the globe in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The group released three albums: "Aquarium" in 1997, "Aquarius" in 2000 and "Megalomania" in 2011. The group sold an estimated 33 million albums and singles, making them the most profitable Danish band ever.

The article goes on to explain how the group -- previously called Joyspeed -- remade itself as Aqua and establishing itself with the album Aquarium. As for the video to Dr. Jones, it is a funny riff on Indiana Jones.

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OK, as a brief update …

I'm home after going to the gym earlier today. I'm working on that report I mentioned in my previous entry with the intention of finishing it by the wee hours (so that I have tomorrow free).

CNN's Chris Cuomo in a tee-shirt at the shore, Sept. 2017.

And I thought Scott Pelley was the ripped journo.

Scott Pelley, Dec. 2012

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I'm making dinner (broccoli, carrots, and a steak, plus an Old Rasputin beer). I don't have to do laundry tonight. I'm watching the MeTV lineup …

The episode of Wonder Woman was "Anschluss77" -- marking the 2nd episode of the second season when the show had shifted its setting from World War II era to the then-present 1977.

The Svengoolie-hosted monster movie was the truly bizarre comedy movie Munster, Go Home! starring the cast of The Munsters (except a different Marilyn). Seeing them in color is also strange. (The once-great luxury liner SS United States makes an appearance in this movie.)

After two 30-min episodes of Batman, the Star Trek: TOS episode at 11 p.m. is "Whom Gods Destroy" and the episode of Battlestar Galactica at 12 a.m. is the third installment of the pilot episode "Saga Of A Star World (a.k.a. Battlestar Galactica), Part 3."

As for the Red-Eye Sci-Fi line up, it's Kolchak: The Night Stalker at 1 a.m. ("The Energy Eater"), Lost in Space at 2 a.m. ("His Majesty Smith"), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea at 3 a.m. ("The Creature"), and Land of the Giants at 4 a.m. ("The Unsuspected").

OK, that's all for now. My next planned entry will be late Monday or early Tuesday.

--Regulus

Friday, July 27, 2018

Friday Night Fatigued and Foul Weather So Fair

Yellow tiger lilies growing in a circular planter / barrier at the Gateway Georgetown condo complex, 2500 Q St NW, Washington, D.C., July 15, 2018.

This pic and the others were taken over the past 12 days or so including on July 15th (Sunday) on a walk over to Georgetown (Martin's Tavern).

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A small pink rose growing in a sidewalk garden, 2200 block Q Street NW, Washington, D.C., July 15, 2018.

This is not the same pink rose as featured in this entry. About that entry, I had to correct the caption and file name of where I took that picture -- 2100 block of 13th Street NW rather than the 2000 block of 13th Street NW.

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Friday night.

I'm exhausted.

I'm home -- after having planned all week to visit my mom this week -- and just watching TV, specifically, the MeTV lineup.

This includes WKRP in Cincinnati (a strange and darkly, offbeat humorous show whose opening theme song I love); Hogan's Heroes (who knew you could set a comedy in a Nazi prisoner of war camp); Carol Burnett and Friends (a timeless and wonderful show); and Perry Mason (kinda awesome even half a century on).

Anyway, my whole frickin' day was a disaster.

My original plan was to telework but also go to the gym early afternoon and then take a later MARC train to BWI Rail Station and a cab to my mom's place in Glen Burnie. However, everything intervened and nixed that plan.

First, my morning news update to a particular DOE office that I've been doing most weekdays the past two months did not go through -- firewall issues -- and I had to find a workaround, which turned out to be more straightforward than I feared.

Large corner house, 31st and Dumbarton Streets NW, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., July 15, 2018.

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However, I also got yet more pressure to finish the final report in a five report round that is part of a series of reports that I compose periodically that requires me to interact with a particular type of niche agency in all the U.S. states and territories (in whatever form they take). This nixed my teleworking idea.

Puffy clouds in a summer sky as seen from the 1300 block V Street NW, Washington, D.C., 1:53 p.m. July 26, 2018.

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I did my laundry on the idea that I wouldn't be able to do it this weekend. I also buzz-cut my hair with my clipper before showering and getting ready. I finally left my apartment around 3 p.m. laden with my duffel bag and bookbag (with laptop). It was hot and humid and in the walk to the U Street/Cardozo Metro, I had to stop for ever red signal crossing 15th, 14th, and 13th Streets NW.

Trump poster on a traffic signal controller cabinet, corner P and 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 
11:49 p.m. July 26, 2018.

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I headed over to Union Station by 715 p.m., but there was some massive track signaling problem that resulted in at least a two hour delay and cancellation of multiple MARC Penn Line trains. I had some dinner at the Uno's at the bar, but by the time I was finished, there was still no resolution to the issue -- with the scheduled 9 p.m. train now delayed (and it was just 8:15 p.m.).

Another picture of the tiger lilies featured in the lead entry, 2500 Q Street NW, Washington, D.C., July 15, 2018.

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I called my mom and ended up making plans to visit in two weeks. I would have gone next week but after orienting my entire week around this planned weekend trip, I just can't do that again next week. As it is, on the 10th, I'll go up early in the afternoon.

As for that report, I MUST finish it over the weekend.

Weather-wise, we had a frontal passage earlier today but all the CWG hype and borderline hysteria about flooding rainy deluges and violent weather turned out to be basically nothing in the immediate D.C. area. KDCA reported "Trace" while KIAD recorded 0.06 inches. By contrast, it was quite stormy in the Baltimore area.

KBWI picked up nearly another inch -- specifically, 0.97" -- and KDMH a full 1.51".

This brings KBWI's monthly total to a whopping 16.40", already the wettest July ever (having blown away the previous wettest July ever set in 1889, a pre-airport record) and the second highest total for any month (now less than two inches behind August 1955's 18.35 inches), not to mention a year-to-date total of 41.09" -- a whisker away from the annual average of 41.88" (and it's only late July).

For the month, KDCA is at 9.19" and KIAD at 9.75" (a July record). Please see my previous entry for an overview of this rainy July. The KDCA number -- if no more rain fell -- would be the 5th wettest July, a hair above last July's 9.15" (which was also the wettest month of 2017), and well under the all-time wettest July of 11.06" set in 1945.

(FYI: The all-time wettest month for D.C. is 17.45" set in September 1934, a pre-airport record.)

While the weekend is forecasted to be partly cloudy, seasonably warm, and dry (no rain) another wet pattern is forecasted -- at least as of now -- for next week. Maybe we can run up the monthly total a bit more.

Office view looking down onto I-395 and its spaghetti maze of ramps, L'Enfant Plaza, SW Washington, D.C., 6:26 p.m. July 26, 2018.

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So it looks like this will just be a typical weekend rather than the one I had planned. This means I'll go tot he gym tomorrow. However, I am on a tighter budget this weekend and I MUST have that damn report done in time for Monday morning, so I may have to nix my usual "Sunday free day" routine of heading over to Georgetown.

Evening sky above the front fa├žade of Union Station, Washington, D.C., 8:21 p.m. July 27, 2018.

There were a lot of cirrus anvil "debris" clouds high in the sky -- some with mammatus formations -- and the sunset was quite spectacular even if no real rain fell earlier.

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I'm uncertain if I'll post either of my regular pair of Saturday night entries and instead might just work on that report while watching the MeTV Super Sci-Fi Saturday Night and Red-Eye Sci-Fi wee hours Sunday morning lineup.

Another view of the evening sky outside Union Station, Washington, D.C., 8:21 p.m. July 27, 2018.

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OK, that's all for now. My next posting(s) will either be Saturday night or early next week. 

--Regulus

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Deluge, Heat, and Fire -OR- The Local Monsoon & Overheated Planet Earth Files, Late July 2018

Blurry picture of a deluge in the 2300 block Q Street NW, Washington, D.C., 2:28 p.m. July 22, 2018.

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This is an update on this month's monsoon-like rainfall around the region and some other extreme weather-related news.

Sterling (LWX) NWS radaring standard base mode reflectivity looped 5:35 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. July 24, 2018.

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KBWI has already achieved its wettest July on record (with a full week to go) and second wettest month ever for the full climate period back to Jan. 1871 (and thus includes the pre-airport period). This was made possible courtesy waves of heavy rainfall on Tuesday that focused along the Chesapeake Bay, moving due north toward Baltimore (although there is a big difference between KBWI and KIAD).

I should also point that out KBWI is also quickly closing in on its annual average of precipitation.

NECONUS composite radar mosaic looped 2028 - 2138 UTC July 24, 2018.

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Below the totals for the past several days and updated month-, season-, and year-to-date numbers compared to the 1981 - 2010 base period.

R: Daily record
RR: Monthly daily record
Season-to-date: Refers to climatological summer which begins June 1st (rather than astronomical or seasonal summer).
*KDMH record period only goes back to May 1998.

KDCA:
July 1 - 16: 0.00"
July 17: 2.79"
July 18 - 20: 0.00"
July 21: 4.00" (R)
July 22: 1.35"
July 23: 0.06"
July 24: 0.32"

Month-to-date: 8.52" +5.60" (2.92")
Season-to-date: 13.73" +7.03" (6.70")
Year-to-date: 33.70" +11.04: (22.66")

For the year-to-date, KDCA was in the 99th percentile as of July 22nd with only 2003 recording more precipitation at this point in the year. As for 2004, that year ended up with 60.83" of precipitation or 0.50" shy of the all-time wettest year total of 61.33" set in 1889, a pre-airport record.

The only other 60+ inch precipitation year was 60.09" set even farther back in the historical record in 1878. (Truth to tell, I don't really trust NWS extreme records of any sort -- rainfall, snow, temperature, etc. -- prior to World War II.)

KDCA precipitation histogram for 2018 and other years including wettest (2003) and driest (1986) as well as mean through July 22, 2018; tweet by Greg Carbin.

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KBWI:
July 1 - 15: 0.05"
July 16: 0.86"
July 17: 3.35"
July 18 - 20: 0.00"
July 21: 4.79" (R)
July 22: 0.50"
July 23: 1.42"
July 24: 4.07" (R)

Month-to-date: 15.04" +11.91" (3.13")
Season-to-date: 19.81" +13.22" (6.59")
Year-to-date: 39.73" +16.11 (23.62")

Note 1: Previous wettest full month of July was 11.03" set in 1889 (pre-airport record). All-time wettest month in Baltimore is 18.35" set in August 1955 (an airport period record). This is probably not in jeopardy, although another firehose of precipitation like yesterday (Tuesday) would do it.

Note 2: KBWI is just under 2 inches from its full calendar year annual precipitation normal of 41.88 inches.

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KIAD:
July 1 - 16: 0.88" including 0.85" on 7/3 and 0.03" on 7/16
July 17: 1.11"
July 18 - 20: 0.00"
July 21: 5.02" (RR)
July 22: 0.08"
July 23: 0.47"
July 24: 0.77"

Month-to-date: 8.33" +5.51" (2.82")
Season-to-date: 12.50" +5.70" (6.80")
Year-to-date: 33.15" +9.53" (23.62")

The wettest July ever for KIAD was set just last year in 2017 with 8.80" of precipitation (rainfall).

Keep in mind that KIAD's record period only goes back to April 1960 and even then the record is spotty -- with 1961 missing entirely -- and not complete until beginning in Jan. 1964.

As for KIAD's wettest month ever, that is an extreme outlier of 18.19" in June 1972 thanks to Hurricane Agnes.

(Interestingly, KDCA's June 1972 total is "only" 11.53" -- no where near its wettest month ever, which was 17.45" set in Sept. 1934 (the pre-airport record.) As for KBWI, its June 1972 precipitation (rainfall) total was even lower at 9.95 inches.)

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KDMH:
July 1 - 15: 0.19"
July 16: 0.55"
July 17: 0.35"
July 18 - 20: 0.00"
July 21: 2.77"
July 22: 0.96"
July 23: 0.81"
July 24: 1.77"

*Month-to-date: 7.40" +3.77" (3.63")
*Season-to-date: 10.60" +3.70" (6.90")
*Year-to-date: 32.99" +10.00" (22.99")

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Just for comparison, here are the numbers from Charlottesville, Va. (KCHO):

Month-to-date: 2.27" -1.06" (3.33")
Season-to-date: 9.95" +2.89" (7.06")
Year-to-date: 31.04" +7.51" (22.53")

Note that for year to date, KCHO isn't that far off of the three of the other four stations but month-to-date is far under.

Radar-estimated 7-day rainfall total ending 10:30 a.m. July 23, 2018, extended Baltimore / Washington area.

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The anomalous pattern remains blocked with an upper level trough over the Appalachians and huge ridge over the desert Southwest and a Bermuda high over the Atlantic and allowing a deep plume of tropical moisture sluicing northward, although the immediate D.C. area has been in a relative dry slot for the past two days.

Satellite pic from the past day or two modified by the CWG showing the path of the tropical plume.

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This followed the out-of-season coastal storm on Saturday that dumped 4 to 7 inches of rainfall areawide and a burst of torrential rainfall on Sunday here in D.C. About that storm -- a sort of hybrid tropical / extratropical low that probably should have gotten a "Subtropical" designation (with name) by NHC, below are three images (with their captions) from this CWG entry (link embedded): Here's how Saturday's storm unleashed a historic July deluge in Washington.

Depiction of upper-level airflow, position of surface low (red L) and zone of rising air (red oval) on Saturday evening. (Modified from NOAA)

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Depiction of low-level airflow feeding into the storm (purple arrows), position of surface low (red L) and the intense rain band on Saturday evening.
(Modified from NOAA)

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Depiction of precipitable water (contours and green-shaded regions) mapped to radar, and also the surface low (red L) and its track, on Saturday evening.
(Modified from NOAA)

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Looking ahead, even though flash flood watches and some residual flood warnings and flash flood warnings remain in effect across the region, it appears that the bulk of the heavy rainfall is over, or at least that the pattern is starting to break down / migrate eastward. KDCA might not get much more rainfall in the next day or two.

Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) weather advisories updated 3:12 a.m. EDT July 25, 2018.

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A frontal passage is forecast to occur by Sunday. There is a chance that the tropical plume pattern might reestablish itself next week, but that is still days away and that forecast could easily change.

Downpour Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., July 22, 2018; photo by Fritz Myer and reposted in this CWG entry.

The Flickr page indicates that this image was taken July 21st -- except it didn't rain that day, so I think it was actually taken July 22nd.

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GFS 0Z 25 July 2018 showing 300-mb heights, isotachs, and wind barbs over North America, 08Z 25 July 2018.

Note the sprawling high over the Southwestern U.S. and the dep fetch of tropical moisture along the East Coast.

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The ridge now over the desert Southwest appears to have retrograded over the past several days (see above map).

Late last week and this past weekend, there was extreme /  record-breaking heat across Texas including 110F highs in the Dallas / Fort Worth area including 109F officially at KDFW on Sunday (July 22nd). It reached 109F at KDFW on Saturday (July 21st) and 108F on both July 19th and 20th. All four of these were daily record highs. As for Love Field (KDAL), it reached 110F three days in a row -- 19th, 20th, 21st -- and 112F on the 22nd.

(To be clear, I couldn't find daily climate info with record highs for KDAL, so I don't know where that 112F ranks but it is certainly among the hottest days ever there.)

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Greek Wildfire Horror …

Wildfires burning above Kalamos, Greece, July 24, 2018.

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There was also the horror that happened in Greece with wild fires that have killed at least 76 people so far including 26 men, children, and women trapped on a cliffside at a resort in Mati, as reported in this New York Times article: As Greek Wildfire Closed In, a Desperate Dash Ended in Death.

A firefighter and a raging fire in Kineta, near Athens, Greece, July 23, 2018.

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The images in this entry are taken from both articles. It's quite a horrific situation.

Wildfires burning in coastal Greece, July 23, 2018.

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Here is the CWG entry on the fires: Deadly wildfires erupted in Greece overnight. Here's how it happened. The article notes that this summer has been among the hottest -- possibly the hottest -- so far in that part of the Mediterranean.

People seeking safety in the water from a perilously close wildfire, Mati, Greece, July 23, 2018.

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Two men survey the destruction of their car following wildfires in Mati, Greece, July 24, 2018.

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Other areas of Planet Earth experiencing record heat include in Japan -- where a new national record high of 106F was just set -- and Scandinavia -- with 90F highs up to the Arctic Circle and wildfires.

Aerial view of the wildfire destruction in Mati, Greece, July 24, 2018.

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More generally, record heat has been a persistent theme this month and summer with an anomalously highly blocked pattern in our globally warming world.

Welcome to the future.

Burnt cards in Mati, Greece, July 24, 2018.

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As a brief update …

Downpour starts, 17th St and New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 2:09 p.m. July 22, 2018.

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On Sunday, I walked -- in a Biblical deluge (see lead entry) over to Georgetown to meet Jake at Martin's Tavern. I had on galoshes but after a while, even that didn't matter. I was -- to quote my dear friend, Wendy, who related a story to me about getting caught in a deluge on a first day at a job -- "inappropriately wet."

A very blurry picture of cataracts of rainwater flowing down the "Spanish Steps" of Decatur Place NW, Washington, D.C., 2:22 p.m. July 22, 2018.

That was as good a pic as I could get -- I didn't want my little phone to be drowned.

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And you never dry off in that situation. What's more, water was literally sloshing around in my galoshes. After a very nice lunch at the bar with Jake at Martin's followed by a stint downstairs at Sovereign and a brief solo detour to the outdoor bar at Sequoia at the Washington Harbour (where the flood walls were raised), I took a cab home. There was no way I could walk.

Later, I went to Trade and No. 9 for a bit. So, all in all, a typical Sunday.

As for this week, I went to the gym the past two nights (Monday and Tuesday / tonight). For tomorrow, I plan to meet Fred -- perhaps going to Grady's on 14th Street near my apartment. I kind of like that place.

Evening sky as seen along 15th Street near Q Street NW, 8:24 p.m. July 22, 2018.

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As a blogging note …

Blogging is going to be somewhat truncated for the remainder of the work week.

I have to complete two reports (which I should have had done quite some time ago). For this upcoming weekend, I'm visiting my mom in Glen Burnie.

OK, that's a wrap.

I might be able to post an update tomorrow (Wednesday) night, but odds are, it won't be until Friday night.

--Regulus