Friday, August 31, 2018

Farewell to an Agitated August and John McCain, American Hero, in the Terrible Time of Trump; Plus, Perry Mason Hits His Stride

Willard InterGalacticContinental Hotel, Washington, D.C., 2:24 p.m. August 28, 2018

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This entry isn't just to replace the previous one as lead entry, but also to post an update while also bidding this August and Sen. John McCain farewell.

The as-yet-under-construction Spy Museum at L'Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, D.C., 8:03 p.m. August 28, 2018

This weird-looking structure-in-the-making is located next to my office building. It's a very strange looking structure in an architecturally awful part of the District.

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As an update, I'm going to try to go to the gym on Saturday finally -- although I need to be careful and I'm not sure I can do any swimming. I'd still like to at least go into the swimming pool.

Also, I have my MRI tomorrow at Georgetown Hospital tomorrow evening and then an appointment with the shoulder specialist next Wednesday to discuss the results and consider a physical therapy regimen.

1400 block Swann Street NW, Washington, D.C., 12:27 p.m. August 28, 2018

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I'm home now watching the MeTV lineup and getting ready for bed. Earlier tonight, I went to Off the Record at the Hay Adams Hotel for a couple of drinks. The TV above the bar was on and I watched on CNN as Sen. John McCain's body was brought back through Joint Base Andrews to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol today ahead of his Saturday funeral.

Meghan McCain beside her father's flag-draped casket at the Arizona state capitol building, August 29, 2018.

I'm now wishing Sen. McCain had run for president in any year but 2008. It was just the very wrong time. But in the present time, what isn't wrong is that the contrast between him and Donald Trump is literally overwhelming. It's disgraceful even to write their names in the same sentence.


Naturally and appropriately, the McCain family doesn't want that vulgar, disgusting buffoon, Trump, within 10 light years of the funeral services. "Ex-Presidents Only," was the word that went forth from the McCain family -- although the grotesquely, self-righteously smarmy but otherwise worthless Vice President Pence will be there.

Row houses in the 1400 block of Swann Street NW, Washington, D.C., 12:28 p.m. August 28, 2018

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I was going to go there last night but instead I met Andrea, Jake, and Sarah at an interesting bar in Chinatown called Bar Deco. We had a really wonderful time. And I wasn't expecting that given how hot, humid, and horrible (in the evening urban crashing chaos of the Chinatown section of D.C.) it was outside. Thereafter, I walked home -- and had a phone conversation with Chris T. in Atlanta.

Summer afternoon view, 1700 block 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 12:30 p.m. August 28, 2018

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The Perry Mason episode tonight is The Case of the Drowning Duck -- episode #4 -- by which point Raymond Burr's character began to develop into the awesome Perry Mason that we know and love.


I mention this because in the first three episodes from 1957, Raymond Purr's Perry Mason character had a somewhat different personality, style of dress, and courtroom approach.

MeTV has begun cycling through Perry Mason from the beginning. Episode #1, the "pilot" episode -- "The Case of the Restless Redhead" -- was on Monday night. I missed episode #2 -- "The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece" -- on Tuesday night but saw episode #3 -- "The Case of the Nervous Accomplice" -- last night (Wednesday).

OK, I'm going to sign off now but I do want to call attention to a Slate piece. Indeed, I would like to repost the entire thing, but it's too late and I'm too tired to do it right now. Here is the piece:


Donald Trump: A foul fat fuck.

In a nutshell, the author posits that Trump isn't just a narcissist but very likely has an antisocial personality disorder and thus will behave accordingly as things deteriorate for him in the coming months. What's more, because the GOP won't do shit to stop it but will just enable him, this means that only the midterm elections and the Mueller investigation will serve as containment strategies.

OK, that's all for now as we wrap up August and this summer. My next planned entry will be on Saturday.

--Regulus

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Crow Creature's 28 Octillionth Metro Weekly Appearance -OR- Achieving Spiritual Prophylaxis


Good God, Oooza the Unloved Crow Creature makes, like, its 28 octillionth showing in Metro Weekly, a publication that gives me the piles, metaphorically speaking. This time, the occasion is the Crow Creature's latest scheme, a gay and lesbian baseball-themed bar in the heart of Adams Morgan and called, appropriately, Bitches, I mean, Pitchers.

Just out of curiosity: Is there some sort of Metro Weekly quota for prominently featuring him? If so, does cash change hands for these repeated showings?? If so, I'm not exactly which way it would flow. Both have associated serious conceptual difficulties.

Not quite five years ago, though, the Crow Creature was showing up as the "Local Hero" in the Blade, a publication he once banished from its previous rookery.

As you can see, though, from the above image, it makes for very good bathroom reading, not to mention that it's very suitable for emotionally prophylactic purposes. That is, it's an excellent spiritual prophylaxis.

I'm sure M. WADE Shittagoogol lovingly framed the pictures from this article.

I'm going to try to post an entry later tonight. In the meantime, I'm stopping at Off the Record at the Hay-Adams and intend to be home by 9:30 p.m. for the MeTV lineup.

--Regulus

Monday, August 27, 2018

A Miserable Monday as August Ebbs Away in the Terrible Time of Trump; Plus, Virtually Revisiting a Ghost Place from the Jersey Shore

Flowers growing along the sidewalk of Q Street NW, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 4:09 p.m. August 26, 2018

Home this Monday night.

It is a warm and humid night, and we are on the cusp of an end-of-August heatwave with highs forecasted to be in the 95F range and dew points of 70F to 75F at times between tomorrow and Friday, when a frontal passage with showers and thunderstorms should occur.

There is no heat advisory in effect for the D.C. area itself but there is an air quality alert for code orange conditions.

Right now, I'm cooking a bit of dinner, although I'm not especially hungry, and waiting for the MeTV lineup (WKRP in Cincinnati, Hogan's Heroes, Carol Burnett & Friends, and Perry Mason) to come on.

The a/c is humming away as is the kitchen oven fan. The tiny apartment is bathed in a yellowish light from two dim, shaded lamps.

I'm planning on moving out of here in the next 6 to 12 months -- possibly to the Chevy Chase / Bethesda area, although I haven't started looking yet. I don't want to stay in this goddamn neighborhood anymore. I hate it.

1800 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 3:57 p.m. August 26, 2018

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I'm still not ready to go back to the gym. I am tentatively planning on trying again this coming Saturday -- three weeks since I last went. The good news is that my body type, as short and ridiculous as it is, doesn't much change.

I'm so miserable. Oh, well.

Ornate house at 1743 22nd Street NW, Kalorama, Washington, D.C., 3:51 p.m. August 26, 2018

Located next to the Decatur Place "Spanish Steps," you can read about the history of this house here when it last was on the market.

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I'd like to post some political commentary but, honestly, I'm so fucking sick and tired of the Trump, Trump, Trump show …

… and the amorally degenerate Republican pols who enable and facilitate Trump's daily grotesqueries, world-class corruption, and unending cataracts of ethical sleaze and filth all for the sake of an "agenda" of dark money oligarchy, reverse class warfare, total ecological destruction, strife, fundamentalist-based culture wars, racism, and nonstop misery …

All this is occurring, in part, because the "GOP Base" can't get enough of its current Lord, Savior, and Messiah, specifically, a sociopathic and wholly narcissistic Vulgar Talking Yam (thank you, Charlie Pierce) who doesn't know anything about anything (again, thank you, Charlie Pierce).


Trump's current pathologically shameless behavior regarding his extreme reluctance to lower the White House U.S. flag to half-staff for Sen. John McCain, who passed away a few days ago is just par for the febrile and vindictive Trumpian course.


And we have Sen. James Inhofe (R - Wizened Snowball) making excuses for this latest bit of Trumpian vileness.

While we may have lost John McCain (R - Patriot), we still have Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell, a.k.a., Mr. Elaine Chao, a.k.a., Cocaine Mitch, and his ten-gallons-capacity-when-inflated jowls that reveal a sort of bullfrog-faced humanoid tortoise.

Mitch McConnell is THE MOST amoral biological organism to exist on this planet in the 21st Century.

Rather than go on, however, I simply refer you to some Good Reads (links embedded in each headline):

Jonathan Chait: Republican Senator: McCain 'Partially to Blame' for Trump Flag Dispute

Jonathan Chait: House Republicans Have a Secret List of Trump Scandals They're Covering Up


Gabriel Sherman: "Trump is Nuts. This Time Really Feels Different": Trump Rejects "War Council" Intervention, Goes It Alone

Charles (Charlie) Pierce: Nothing Good Happens to the Boss When They Flip the Accountant

Charlie Pierce: What Other Dirt Is in David Pecker's Safe?

I have to quote the opening line of this: Dear Lord, now there's a secret safe. Someone light the Geraldo Signal!

Lynn Yaeger: The Week in Washington: Guilty Pleas and Immunity Deals as Rats Desert the Ship

T.A. Frank: Can John McCain's Life and Legacy Save the G.O.P. from Itself?

Sub-headline:

McCain could be maddeningly inconsistent and often dangerously wrong, but thinking often about courage made him abler than most to exhibit it. His example should be a reminder to a party that has lost its way.

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Evening view along M Street NW, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 7:04 p.m. August 26, 2018

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For tomorrow, I'm supposed to meet an attorney to decide whether and how to proceed.

For tomorrow evening, there is a happy hour for Andrea, who is here from Morocco for the week. As it is, we met on Friday at Grady's and then walked all the way to Sovereign in Georgetown before taking an Uber back.

Evening view along M Street NW, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 7:08 p.m. August 26, 2018

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Oh, yes, as for my weekend -- meh. It was OK, I guess, although I spent too much money.

Yesterday (Sunday), I had a nice early dinner at the bar at Martin's Tavern and good conversation with a young couple I've previously met there.

A young couple walking through Rose Park, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 7:17 p.m. August 26, 2018

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Thereafter, I walked back home, but went to my neighbor-friend Fred's place, where Doug fixed us each a Manhattan and we watched another hilarious episode of 'Allo! 'Allo! before I came home and went to bed.

I guess that's about all I have to say. I may not post another entry until later in the week.

Postcard with an aerial view of the long-gone Tradewinds Beach Club, Sea Bright, N.J., circa 1985 

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Oh, yes, I should mention that this entry (link embedded) continues to get a fantastic number of hits (via somebody or some organization's Facebook page): Jersey Shore Memories: Tradewinds Beach Club, 1975 - 2002. (Yes, "Tradewinds" was spelled as a single word.)

Looking out from Cabana 21 at the old Tradewinds Beach Club, Sea Bright, N.J., August 1987

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Since Sunday, it has had approximately 4,000 hits (and rising) and it is the all-time most viewed entry with a tally now over 12,200. (This is the second time I've had such a massive surge of visitors to that page).

I actually wish this Tradewinds-related entry that I posted just two-weeks later would get more attention but it never seems to happen.

Seawall and crashing waves, looking north and northeast, Sea Bright, N.J., August 1987

So many of my dreams take place in some variation of this place and up and down the Atlantic coastline.

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Regardless, Tradewinds Beach Club in Sea Bright, N.J., is forever gone, as is my Jersey shore childhood years of the 1970s and teenage summers in the 1980s. Only memories of a ghost place remain and they offer me no comfort in my present, deeply unhappy life.

--Regulus

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sunday Wee Hours Entry: The Nebulous Heart & Soul Posting

Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner -- just 4 light minutes from Earth -- passes across the starfield containing the Heart & Soul Nebulae (located about 6,000 light years away and part of the Perseus Arm of our Milky Way Galaxy) in an image by J.C. Casado taken Aug. 17th, 2018 and featured in this recent APOD.

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Saturday night -- although it will be Sunday morning by the time I post this entry -- and, obviously, I didn't post my usual Saturday Evening Post or Jukebox Saturday Night pair of entries.

I'm home watching the MeTV line up to include Star Trek: TOS and (as I write this), Battlestar Galactica.


The Star Trek: TOS episode was "The Lights of Zetar" -- this is the episode whence we are introduced to the planet Memory Alpha, a planetoid that is the Federation's central library. The episode guest stars the actress Jan Shutan as Mira Romaine, who as near as I can tell, is still alive (age 85).

Of note, there is a an online collaborative information portal known as Memory Alpha. From the webpage:

Memory Alpha is a collaborative project to create the most definitive, accurate, and accessible encyclopedia and reference for everything related to Star Trek. The English-language Memory Alpha started in November 2003, and currently consists of 45,567 articles. If this is your first visit, please read an introduction to Memory Alpha.

The Battlestar Galactica episode was "The Long Patrol."

Shrubbery growing along 12th Street just off the National Mall between Constitution Ave and Madison Drive NW, Washington, D.C., 6:07 p.m. August 23, 2018.

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I'm irritated about the whole Trade situation (see my previous entry) Now, it is possible I may need to remove that entry and the other two as things proceed.) However, I'm also have no intention of backing down given everything that happened, and certainly not because of some weird email from the owners.

Let me just say that I am actually relieved not to have those two shitty places, Trade and No. 9, in my orbit. It's a relief. Nothing good ever happened in any of those places and nothing ever would.

A cirrus tuft in a late summer blue sky as seen from Ontario and Euclid Streets NW, Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C., 5:31 p.m. August 25, 2018.

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I'd like to note that over the past two weeks, and with the gym out of the question for the time being -- I've actually been able to enjoy a number of other places, as well as just being home more and watching TV and sleeping.

Flowers growing along Ontario St NW, Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C., 5:32 p.m. August 25, 2018.

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As for some of the nice places I've gone, these have included The Capital Grille in Friendship Heights, Off the Record in the lower level of the Hay Adams Hotel, and today, SoHo Bar in Adams Morgan. (Previously, it had been the dive bar Adams Bar & Grill.) And, of course, I have my Sunday Georgetown routine -- Martin's Tavern and/or Sovereign.

Capital Grille is a really nice place -- and it has an excellent value lunch deal. For $20, you can get a salad and entry with vegetable. And the bread was delicious. In addition, it was very pleasant sitting there at the end of the bar.

OK, that's all for now. I'm in the process of doing my laundry (including bedding) while watching a Lost in Space episode.

I'm going to sign off for now. My next planned entry will be on Monday.

--Regulus

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Another Note on the Trade Situation

Just as a follow-up, I received a strange email from Trade -- co-signed by the three co-owners, John Guggenmos, Ed Bailey, and Jim Boyle -- threatening me with a sort of combination civil and criminal action if I don't remove the previous blog entries on the topic (here and here).

For starters, unless my attorney tells me to remove those two entries and this one, I am not doing so. Period.

Secondly, and more importantly, while their threat of a civil case (defamation) makes conceptual sense to me -- although, I would point out, that the truth is in fact a defense against libel (Aaron Riggins dislocated my shoulder), and I'd like to know what damages have been done to Trade -- the criminal case threat is deeply problematic.

You are either a victim of a crime or you are not. You are not permitted to leverage criminal law in that manner to get a particular civil outcome that you seek.

That's all I'm saying about this, except I'm continuing to proceed on my own path.

What's more, I've no hesitation to have this proceed as a civil case, a criminal case, or both. I'm not going to have my shoulder dislocated by some overheated bartender based upon a misperception and then incur thousands-to-tens-of-thousands of dollars in medical bills and disruption to my life because he jumped to the wrong conclusion about what was happening and simply drop the matter.

And you wouldn't either.

On a personal note, I'm fed up with these gay guys running their liquor-centered cash cow operations with zero accountability for anything that happens.

--Regulus

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Welcome to Club Kaaba in the Time of the Hajj with Reposted New York Times Article


I would like to repost an article from the New York Times about Muslims and the annual Hajj (which is underway this week). On a related note, the other day I came across another article featuring aerial (drone?) pictures of Mecca and the al-Masjid al-Ḥarām (the Great Mosque of Mecca) during the time of the Hajj and the astonishing number of people there on their sacred, once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage.


I've always been curious about the cube-like structure -- known as the Kaaba -- at the very center of the Great Mosque of Mecca.

The Kaaba is basically the Muslim / Islamic equivalent of the "Holy of Holies" of the legendary Tabernacle in Judaism (itself supposedly located, inconveniently, under the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem). (I'm not even sure what the Christian (Catholic and Orthodox) equivalent would be. For American Protestantism, it would be a bank boardroom.)

The Kaaba contains, of course, the Black Stone, which has its own storied and quasi-mysterious history. The Black Stone -- seen through a glass portal in the Kaaba's eastern exterior wall -- is seen in 2013 through a glass portal that protects it.

The Black Stone dates to pre-Islamic times and has long since existed as a series of cement-welded fragments (having possibly been smashed at some point). It may or may not have been a meteorite.

The Keeper of All Knowledge explains it thusly:


Al-Ḥajaru al-Aswad, "the Black Stone," is located on the Kaaba's eastern corner. Its northern corner is known as the Ruknu l-ˤĪrāqī, "the Iraqi corner," its western as the Ruknu sh-Shāmī, "the Levantine corner," and its southern as Ruknu l-Yamanī, "the Yemeni corner," taught by Imam Ali. The four corners of the Kaaba roughly point toward the four cardinal directions of the compass. Its major (long) axis is aligned with the rising of the star Canopus toward which its southern wall is directed, while its minor axis (its east-west facades) roughly align with the sunrise of summer solstice and the sunset of winter solstice.

Schematic of the Kaaba showing the main features. See the Wikipedia article link for what's what. The Black Stone is at #1 (corner #8). #5 is the white marble wall called Hatīm. #7 is the Station of Ibrahim (Maqam Ibrahim). Oh, and #3 is a golden rainwater spout (Mīzāb al-Raḥmah).

Of note, this same Wikipedia article contains a "Google street view" of the interior (no joke) and I've taken some screen captures of it. (Other Google search images reveal the same.) The direct link is here.

The article below contains four screenshot images I made from that Google street view (dated as Nov. 2016) along with the lead image and two graphs associated with the "Gee, wow" nature of the piece. Lastly, please know that in posting this, no disrespect is meant whatsoever to the Islamic faith. As for Arabic, it's a really cool language that I'd like to learn.

Above: The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque at night, Muscat, Oman. (I'm sure my main Omani weather-man has been there!)

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To Get All the World's Muslims to Hajj, It Would Take at Least 581 Years
By Sarah Almukhtar
August 23, 2018
Source here.

At least 1.7 million foreign pilgrims are in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, this week for the hajj, the annual five-day pilgrimage that Muslims from around the world make to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad.

Interior Kaaba view 1

Amid growing demand and concerns for safety after deadly accidents, the Saudi government has been rapidly expanding Mecca’s hajj facilities to accommodate more pilgrims. At its peak in 2012, the hajj included 3.16 million pilgrims. But even at a rate of 3 million people per hajj, it would be impossible for all the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims to perform the Islamic duty of the pilgrimage in their lifetimes. In fact, for all Muslims who are alive today to perform hajj, it would take at least 581 years.


That's just looking at the Muslims alive today -- not accounting for future birth rates or for people who have already performed hajj, though a 2013 Pew survey of 39 countries found that 9 percent of Muslims had.

All Muslims who are physically and financially able to complete the hajj are supposed to do so at least once in their lives. Attendance by foreign pilgrims has grown more than tenfold since World War II. (In 2013, attendance quotas dropped to account for continuing construction in Mecca.)


Not everyone who wants to make the hajj can do so easily, and millions of Muslims all over the world wait years for the chance. The costs can be prohibitive -- two to three times a year's salary in some places -- and visas can be hard to get.

At least a quarter of pilgrims every year are citizens or residents of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government sets quotas for every other country that sends pilgrims to the hajj based on its Muslim population.

Kaaba interior view 2

Even countries with large Muslim populations can send only a small fraction of their citizens to the hajj. In Indonesia -- which at more than 200 million has by far the largest Muslim population in the world -- the wait time can range from seven to 37 years. Some countries complain that the quota allocation is not transparent enough, or that it should be based on demand rather than on Muslim population.

Kaaba interior view 3

Other critics say Mecca is already at capacity during the hajj, and expansion efforts have come at the cost of Islam's cultural heritage and the spirituality of the pilgrimage. Several historic Islamic sites were destroyed in recent years to make way for luxury high-rise hotels and malls that cater only to wealthy pilgrims. These developments dominate the Kaaba, the cubelike structure at the center of the Grand Mosque that is circled by pilgrims and that is considered to be the House of God.

Kaaba interior view 4 (ceiling)

Still, Saudi Arabia continues to build. The multiyear construction plan includes expanding the mosque around the Kaaba to hold 1.85 million people.

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Morning in Muscat, Oman!

Now Oman is a place I'd really like to visit.

--Regulus