Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Beauty of Fall Abides in the Sick Time of the Morally-Rotted Mad Emperor Plus Brief Update

Fall splendor along a stream's series of small cascades in Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio.

This entry contains a series of lovely fall-themed natural scenery images from an assortment of U.S. national parks taken from this MSN photo-montage. Except for this entry's lead image, I'm not captioning them. If you are interested in any of them, click on / download the image to see the file name. (As for the lead image to that montage, I didn't include it since I couldn't identify the location.)

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The pictures in this entry reveal that the Earth to include the stunning natural beauty of autumn abides.

Remember that in this time of a morally-rotted and mad would-be emperor -- or rather, fascist, chintzy-gilded authoritarian goon -- that is getting worse literally by the day as the midterms approach.


Trump's megalomaniacal sickness continuously infuses the hate-based garbage, lies, and lunacy that comes out of his cakehole. Relating any given day's or week's abominations -- whether its "caravan" bullshit or revoking birthright citizen horseshit or the endless stoking of division and discord -- is just exhausting and, ultimately, pointless.


Having said that, the antisocial personality-disordered Trump does possess a malevolent but keen sense of what will "work" in terms of whipping up that third of the country that would follow him through the Gates of Hell and to any and all stops along the way.


He and the deranged GOP -- embodied by Mitch McConnell amorality, ethno-nationalistic white panic, and a toxic for-profit rightwing media / entertainment complex plus the larger socially destructive force of social media -- understand that the support of only one-third of the electorate is need to ensure semi-permanent power no matter the demographic trends -- provided that group is strategically placed and strategically voting while systematically suppressing and disenfranchising any other voting bloc.


And the most important midterm elections in the post-war era is just six days away.

Whatever the outcome, though, the natural world with its beautiful autumns and all its other beauty will be here long after that rotting sleazoid and the cult-like GOP atop which he sits have left the scene.


Changing subjects, and as a brief update …

I'm home tonight after a busy workday and evening gym visit. I got in a six-mile jog on the treadmill and about an hour of light-to-moderate weightlifting plus a concluding swim.


I returned last night from my very quick work trip to Detroit. I'd like to more about my trip, since I managed to make it into the downtown area after the workshop in Troy, Michigan, with my coworker who had rented a car. We even stopped -- as she wanted to see it -- at the Motown Museum ("Hitsville, USA").


I made it to the airport with four hours to spare (Ellen's flight back to D.C. was at 5 p.m. while mine was at 8:15 p.m.), and spent the bulk of it in the vast A terminal -- I had a Delta flight -- at the bar at a place called the Cat Cora Taproom.


The night flight back was fine, and I was back in D.C. by 10:30 p.m. I had a window seat on the jet and just looked out at the nighttime blackness -- human-created constellations of lights in the ancient, forested folds of the Alleghenies passing below and the fixed stars of eternity slowly rotating above.


The jet took an upriver landing approach -- which entailed what must have been a 50-mile arc passing over Dulles (at about 10,000 feet) and all the way down to around Woodbridge and then north through Charles County.


Again, there is more I'd like to say about the trip and Detroit -- or at least to feature the (characteristically crummy flip open cellphone) pictures I took, but I'll do that in a subsequent entry (maybe tomorrow). In the meantime, I'm signing off for now.

--Regulus

Monday, October 29, 2018

Some Late Night Notes from the Far Edge of the Motor City -OR- "Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit!"

Aerial view of downtown Detroit. No, I didn't take this picture. I found it online.

When you see my pictures below, you'll understand why I found the one above as a lead image.

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Here I am in suburban Detroit at this night time hour.

Specifically, I am here in a 6th floor suite of the Embassy Suites by Hilton - Troy / Auburn Hills in a suburban-to-exurban no-man's-land about 15 miles north northwest of Detroit in what is basically the equivalent of "visiting" Washington. D.C., by staying only in Gaithersburg along I-270.

Interestingly, from the south-facing bedroom window, I can see across the miles to the Detroit skyline.

Downtown Detroit's skyline visible inbound earlier today into DTW, 1:36 p.m. Oct 29, 2018

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The flight from National Airport to here was fine but going through security was the usual crap. I ALWAYS seem to get nabbed for extra security pat down -- which today was nothing less than a public groping by a borderline rude young ethnic Ethiopian or Eritrean guy.

About that, and at least at DCA, much of the TSA work is done by a sort of Ethiopian and/or Eritrean mafia … Or maybe it's a super-extended family and public works project. (They also run the airport's parking garage racket.)

Another cropped (but still crummy) image view of Detroit's skyline inbound to DTW, 1:36 p.m. Oct 29, 2018

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The fact that I had on cargo pants with multiple pockets made things worse -- as if I am intentionally keeping a piece of paper in a random back or side pocket to cause air travel mayhem.

I'm not very good with those goddamn full-body scanners (and all their images that undoubtedly end up on the Dark Web for general diversion) -- perhaps that's the issue -- but the pat down part is even more annoying because they expect you to be happy while they're doing it and cop an attitude if you aren't.

There were no screaming babies or shrieking two-year-olds on the one-hour flight.

Descending into DTW over the Detroit area with a wooded park visible, 1:38 p.m. Oct 29, 2018

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My journey from DTW to here was in something called a Metro Cab. I had a cab driver named Ade. A native of Ghana, he has lived in the Detroit area for 30 years. I was very lucky to get him as a cabbie. Of note, the journey on a crowded pair of interstates was 41 miles and cost $88 (before tip).

I got to the hotel around 3 p.m. and immediately went to the small workout room where I spent an hour on the treadmill and did a bit of weightlifting (there wasn't much of the latter, just dumbbells of various weights). The hotel has a pool in a sort of solarium-like back room, and that was nice.

I had dinner and some drinks at the bar and now I'm in and ready for bed. The gimmick here is three free drinks per night during an every-day-of-the-week evening "reception" happy hour.

This is the one and only night I will be in this hotel as I have to be at the automotive technologies meeting tomorrow (at a nearby facility associated with Michigan State University). I need to be there by 7:30 a.m., which means being up at the ass-crack of dawn.

Another view descending over the Detroit area inbound to DTW, 1:39 p.m. Oct 29, 2018

There were some actual decent fall colors in the tree foliage here. It's been a very strange year for the lack of such color across the eastern United States.

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A colleague of mine is here and she rented a car. I'm going to catch a ride with her to the airport tomorrow, although we might try to see one museum in Detroit if there is time. Her flight back to D.C. is around 5 p.m. while mine isn't until 8:30 p.m.

Clearly on an upward trajectory after decades of decline into the a near parody of a collapsed American city, Detroit appears to be on a path to becoming America's first post-post-apocalyptic major city.

OK, I'm signing off now. I'll try to post an entry tomorrow night, but as I probably won't get home until 11 p.m., that seems unlikely which means late Wednesday or early Thursday.

--Regulus

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Saturday Evening Post for October 27th, 2018: A Tranquil Fall Night in a Terrible Time -OR- Trump as Symptom and Cause of a Dystopian Era

**Updated 4:30 p.m. Oct 28, 2018: See below.**

Hidden yard behind a wall along Q Street NW, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., Oct 21, 2018

Aydin took this picture was we were walking last Sunday to Martin's Tavern for lunch.

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Saturday night.

Apologies for no updates on Thursday or Friday.

As an update, last night, I went to the National Press Club with a friend and coworker who is a member. There was a special event there for a subset of members who have been members for at least 25 years.


The guest of honor was the highly distinguished journalist Hedrick Smith. Smith gave a really good speech that gets into the thesis of his new book Who Stole the American Dream? and to discussing hopeful signs that he describes as a riptide running against all the ugliness of our current time.

View from the 22nd Street Decatur Terrace "Spanish Steps," Washington, D.C., 1:59 p.m. Oct 21, 2018

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This includes efforts at undoing gerrymandering and local-and-state-level efforts against the travesty of Citizens United and malevolent consequences of dark money. He has an upcoming documentary to air on MSNBC. 

As an aside, I had no idea is 85 years old. I thought maybe he was in his mid 70s.

NPC bar, Washington, D.C., 9:47 p.m. Oct 26, 2018

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Thereafter, my friend and I had a drink at the club bar and then we went to the Round Robin bar at the Willard InterGalactic InterContinental. After we parted, I went to Hamilton and Old Ebbitt for a bit and then walked home.

Blurry rainy night image just north of Scott Circle, Washington, D.C., 2:53 a.m. Oct 27, 2018

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It was a rainy, breezy, chilly night thanks to a coastal nor'easter. In the end, we had about 1.2 to 1.4 inches of rain across the D.C. area -- adding to the hefty yearly surplus.



I got home and before going to bed (around 4 a.m.), I watched on YouTube Bill Maher's opening monologue on his Real Time episode last night. I've embedded it in this entry directly above.

Sun and a gauzy high overcast, 2000 block 15th St NW, Washington, D.C., 1:51 p.m. Oct 25, 2018

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I didn't get up until about 4 p.m. -- after hours of living that other, highly complicated, agitated, and varied dream-world life. It was too late for me to follow my weekend plans, which was to reverse my usual Saturday and Sunday schedule (since I have to go to Detroit on Monday for work). This would have entailed the former my free day and the latter my chore day.

Potomac River view through shrubbery, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 5:05 p.m. Oct 21, 2018

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However, I really needed to do my laundry to include bedding. So I stayed in and did six loads of laundry. I also gave myself a haircut (a shearing, as it were, with the clipper I own), showered and shaved, and got all fresh as a daisy. I haven't actually been outside today. I'm home now watching the MeTV Super Sci Fi Saturday Night lineup.

Cesar Sayoc holding a Trump sign at an unspecified Trump rally.

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I don't really want to turn this entry into a commentary about ongoing events -- either the impending midterms that will determine whether or not Trump is finally systematically checked or the toxic political climate replete with violence that Trump has fostered as cause and of which he is also a symptom.

New York Times headlines, Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue, Oct 27, 2018.

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However, I have to mention the horrifying synagogue massacre of 11 people in Pittsburgh today by some neo-Nazi piece of shit using the NRA's favorite psychosexual toy, the AR-15.

Washington Post headlines, Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue, Oct 27, 2018

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This event overshowed the capture of the practically homeless, bankrupt, occasional stripper and amateur bodybuilder-turned-rage-filled fanatical Trump supporter and all-around-alienated loser, Cesar Sayoc, the man who sent 14 pipe bomb devices -- none of which detonated but which the FBI has said were not hoax devices -- to a who's who of Trump's favorite Democratic enemies.


And when Mr. Sayoc’s mother and sisters urged him to seek mental-health treatment, he furiously repelled their efforts and told his mother he hated her, said Ronald Lowy, a lawyer for the family who also represented Mr. Sayoc in a 2002 case in which he threatened to bomb an electric company during a dispute over a bill.

He refused to even listen when his mother reminded Mr. Sayoc that he was Filipino and Italian, not Seminole, Mr. Lowy said. "He had tremendous anger slowly boiling up, and resentment, and felt 'less than.' He lacked an identity. He created a persona."

"He was looking for some type of parental figure and being a loner, being an outcast, being the kind of person Trump speaks to, I think he was attracted to Trump as a father figure," Mr. Lowry said.

Terrific. Trump-as-father-figure.

Left: Sayoc properly attired at Trump's morally diseased inauguration.

Sayoc was arrested and his Trump-fanatical-supporter sticker covered white van in which he lived was seized in the appropriately-named Plantation, Florida.

Arresting Sayoc is unlikely to quell the "false flag" conspiracy-mongering that is now the hallmark of the entire rightwing Republican media and political ecosystem.

Some of the hate plastered on Cesar Sayoc's van.

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As this only-partially-humorous Slate piece put it (link embedded): Daily Dem Panic Meter: Welcome to False Flag-Gate, Where Even False Flags Are a False Flag.


Continuing with this theme, Fox News had no idea how to cover the fact that Sayoc is a fanatical Trump lover. As this Slate piece observed, Fox News itself served as the metaphysical tarp over Sayoc, Trump, and the MAGA van.


By the way, all this psychotic rightwinger violent mayhem has completely blown up the Fox News pre-midterms propagandistic grotesquery involving nonstop hyperventilating over the Honduran migrant caravan of women and children 1,000 miles from the U.S. border.

In the case of Robert D. Bowers, the Tree of Life Synagogue mass murderer, he was your garden-variety white supremacist neo-Nazi piece of shit addicted to the virulent toxin of social media. If he isn't put to death, hopefully he'll die violently in prison.

Left: Robert Bowers in his DMV photo.


That was to be the GOP's firehose of agitprop horseshit in the leadup to the midterms -- and the mainstream media was dutifully playing along until the "MAGAbomber" came along.

Candlelight vigil for the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre victims, Pittsburgh, Pa., Oct 27, 2018

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Updated 4:30 p.m. 10/28/2018

The list of the 11 Tree of Life Synagogue victims and ages; Source: New York Times

What can anyone possibly say to this? It's beyond words, except to say that it is a horrible indictment of that an advanced and civilized society essentially allows this to happen because an arms merchant industry and its diseased cult-like followers long ago hijacked the political system.

Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh as crime scene

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As for Trump, about the only not horrible to say in this situation is that it isn't about him. This means his severely deranged and solipsistic sense of self can't suck everything and everyone into the Trump Vortex. The bastard shrinks away to the vanishing point.

Make no mistake, though: Trump bears responsibility for the (dis)temper of this time.

Evening candlelight vigil for the synagogue victims, Murray and Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Oct 27, 2018

End of Update.

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We are just 10 days from the election and who knows what's going to happen. Yes, the signs are strongly encouraging for the House side, but an Ezra Klein interview of FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver this past week revealed "the terrifying uncertainty at the heart" of his organization's election forecasts.

This is an excellent, highly informative piece, and I highly recommend it.

Yours truly along the Potomac River, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 4:58 p.m. Oct 21, 2018

Of note, one of the buildings in the Rosslyn skyline in the backdrop is the new CEB Tower with its Observation Deck. I need to go up there.

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OK, I'm going to wrap up this entry. I'm not going to be able to feature a Jukebox Saturday Night edition this week.

Yours truly and a dazzling fall Sun along the Potomac, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 4:59 p.m. Oct 21, 2018

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Looking ahead, I'm going to try to post an entry tomorrow to include a yearly precipitation update since it has been such a wet year.

As for tomorrow, my original plan was to go to the gym -- and basically treat the day as a Saturday since -- but maybe I'll just do what I normally do, namely, walk down to Georgetown and have lunch.

Yours truly with dazzling sunlight off the Potomac River, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 5:00 p.m. Oct 21, 2018

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No matter what, I must be home early tomorrow evening since I am heading to Detroit on Monday morning for a work conference. It's just a one-night stay, and I should be back by late Tuesday.

--Regulus

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Series of Links on a Busy News Day in the Ugly Time of Trump Interspersed with Some Sunday Georgetown Potomac River Riparian Pics

Dazzling Sun and sunlight reflecting off the Potomac River in the direction of Rosslyn as seen from Georgetown's Waterfront Park, Washington, D.C., 4:49 p.m. Oct 21, 2018

Most of the images in this entry were taken by me in Georgetown on Sunday down by the Potomac River.

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This is just a brief entry …

I'm home tonight watching some hilarious old episodes of Hogan's Heroes. I don't think I'm going to be able to stay up until the Perry Mason episode. (Saying "reruns" for such old shows seems silly.)

Washington Post online headlines, Oct 24, 2018

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This was a busy news day with multiple explosive devices sent in the mail -- but thankfully intercepted -- to a who's who of Trump's main public enemies to include former Pres. Obama, the Clintons, and CNN's New York office (specifically, to former CIA Director John Brennan), not to mention Rep. Maxine Waters and possibly former VP Joseph Biden, and just one day after a package was intercepted en route to George Soros, the GOP media ecosystem's designated Satan.

New York Times online headlines, shortly after midnight Oct 25, 2018

The lede to this story:

Pipe bombs were sent to several prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, setting off an intense investigation on Wednesday into whether figures vilified by the right were being targeted.

From Washington to New York to Florida to Los Angeles, the authorities intercepted a wave of crudely built devices that were contained in manila envelopes.

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Potomac River view of the Kennedy Center and Watergate from Georgetown's Waterfront Park, Washington, D.C., 4:50 p.m. Oct 21, 2018

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It's a vortex of Trump-fueled GOP hate even that does proud Rush the Vulgar Lying Pigboy proud no matter the garbage he legally but socially destructively spews.

Another Potomac River view of the Kennedy Center and Watergate from Georgetown's Waterfront Park, Washington, D.C., 4:52 p.m. Oct 21, 2018

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Trump -- who is both cause and effect of this hillbilly fascist nightmare and associated garbage -- was only able to do what he does best, namely, make things worse, which is also what the alt-right Nazis and Russian / other hostile powers' weaponized bots use to disrupt elections for the expressed purpose of social destabilization on a range of matters.

Potomac River view toward Theodore Roosevelt Island from Georgetown's Waterfront Park, Washington, D.C., 4:52 p.m. Oct 21, 2018

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The only good thing out of this is that the GOP's media manipulative "hack gap" -- the one that gave us The Great Ebola Panic 2014 and The Emails 2016 and that is now giving us The Caravan 2018 -- should end. This is probably why the GOP is so out-of-sorts about "false flag" operations. The GOP media / entertainment ecosystem always yammers loudest about the very things it is doing.

View of the Potomac River mostly concealed by vegetation from Georgetown's Waterfront Park, Washington, D.C., 5:05 p.m. Oct 21, 2018

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Changing subjects, there is the possibility of a big nor'easter this Friday - Sunday including here in the Metro D.C. area. There is a CWG entry here (link entry): Heavy rain likely from Richmond to Boston on Friday and Saturday from fall's first nor'easter.

12Z Oct 24, 2018 GFS showing precipitation intensity and type along with mean sea level pressure (MSLP) and 500-mb geopotential heights animated every 6-hours between 8 p.m. EDT Oct 25 and 8 a.m. EDT Oct 28, 2018 for a portion of the eastern United States.

The residual energy from Hurricane Willa in the Pacific -- the remnants having transited Mexico and emerged into the Gulf of Mexico and transitioning to an extratropical system associated with a strong shortwave -- is forecasted to morph into the nor'easter.

Yours truly, Washington Harbour, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 5:28 p.m. Oct 21, 2018

I was at Nick's Riverside Grill outdoor bar and kinda drunk at that point,

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Assuming this looks like it really will come to pass, I'll have more to say about it.

OK, I'm going to sign off for now.

--Regulus