Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Deep Bad Mood Blog Venting -OR- The Case of the Waylaid (Till the Weekend?) Post (Part 2) and a Trio of Lovely Pics from Faraway Mauritius

Le Morne Brabant, Mauritius

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OK, I'm sorry but I'm once again not in any goddamn mood to post a blog posting. I may not update this blog until Saturday.

As it is, I just want to bitch about the polar vortex frigid but (around here) snowless weather (which will abruptly switch to warm and showery rainy by early next week) …

… Not to mention anything that shit-kicks the political fortunes of our syphilitically deranged President Trump … Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell and his 0.1% overclass oligarchy (buttressed by all those downwardly immobile, racially panicked whites) … Or any calls for "bipartisan" horseshit coming from the aptly described "egotistical billionaire asshole" Howard Schultz and his Davos set or the pussy Ron Fourniers and Fred "Washington Consensus" Hiatts of the world.


And also bitch about Betsy DeVos -- and her blood-soaked fundie mercenary brother Erik Prince -- and both cram the 100,000 appropriately nasty comments into one of her mega-yacht's johns. Oh, and sky-trillion dollar tax giveaways to giant corporations that are as "successful" as any other bullshit that comes from the mind of Stephen Moore and the "Club for Horseshit."

Another view of le Morne Brabant and adjacent beach, Mauritius

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But I don't feel well and I'm tired and just want to watch my late night MeTV lineup. I'm watching as I write this a Perry Mason episode ("The Case of the Angry Dead Man"). Oh, and I turned on the radiator in my apartment -- something I almost never do.

A third and aerial view of the Morne Brabant peninsula of Mauritius with its "eponymous" basaltic monolith towering 1,824 feet above sea level.

I'd like to visit Mauritius and see this place.

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Tomorrow, I need to have a productive day at work, and tomorrow night is a gym night. As I said, I may not update this blog until Saturday night.

--Regulus

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Quick Late Night Entry -OR- The Case of the Waylaid Post

Dubrovnik on the rocky Adriatic coastline of Croatia.

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Home on this Monday night.

I'm back from the gym -- where I had a moderately good multi-part workout -- and watching a late night MeTV airing of Perry Mason ("The Case of the Waylaid Wolf").

However, I really do not feel like posting an entry tonight. Instead, I would like to work on a work-related task for a couple of hours. That being the case, this is just an entry to say I'm not posting an entry.

I'll try to post an entry tomorrow evening (a non-gym night).

It'll probably on the topic of the Arctic front set to blast through the region with rain / mixed precipitation changing to snow with a minimal accumulation (maybe an inch here in the D.C. area), although that is contingent on the extent to which a weak area of low pressure develops along the front.

OK, signing off now.

--Regulus

Sunday, January 27, 2019

A Few Old TV and Cold Weather Notes At the Quarter to Four AM Sunday Hour ...

Sea turtle and Angel fish in the sunlit tropical waters off Cozumel.

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Home tonight in my little apartment.

I've been home watching the MeTV Super Sci-Fi Saturday Night line up and now the Sunday Sci-Fi Red-Eye portion.

The Svengoolie-hosted monster movie was the 1956 film The Werewolf, which I actually ended up enjoying.

Lost in Space featured the silly episode "Space Vikings" while Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was "Space Rockers."

The Battlestar Galactica episode was "Lost Planet Of The Gods: Part 2." That episode not only brings out the heavy-duty Mormon theological underpinning of the 1978 series -- mixed with ancient Egyptian borrowings, courtesy an unexpected visit to the planet Kobol -- but it also features what is the saddest scene in the entire series: the death of Serina, played by actress Jane Seymour.

The episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker is one I actually had not previously seen: "Demon in Lace."

Thereafter, it was Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ("The Monster's Web") -- I don't particularly like this series -- and Land of the Giants ("The Flight Plan"). This is followed by two episodes of Swamp Thing, but I'm not sure I'll stay up that late.

Of note, starting next Saturday night, Star Trek: The Original Series returns to the MeTV lineup.

Sidewalk view (southwest), 2000 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 3:55 p.m. Jan 25, 2019

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Earlier today, I went to the gym. Although I skipped my usual jog, I got in good -- even strenuous -- weightlifting workout before going into the steam room for a few minutes and then the swimming pool.

The Northumberland, 2000 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 4:17 p.m. Jan 26, 2019

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Last night, I went to Annie's, where I met Fred and then Gary joined us. We then went to Skank Fox & Hound for a drink. I was home and in bed by midnight, but I still got up characteristically Saturday mid-afternoon late.

This was after having spent the bulk of the previous 15 hours sleeping (and having whole sets of weird dreams that look me from a strange Florida Atlantic coastline and my dad to a strange Glen Burnie and my mom and some other places in between.

Sidewalk view (northeast) 2000 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 4:18 p.m. Jan 26, 2019

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The weather tonight is seasonably mid-winter cold -- around 30F at this hour -- but otherwise placid. As I mentioned in this entry the other day, a big Arctic outbreak is anticipated by midweek as a large lobe of the polar vortex gets displaced and "invades" the eastern United States.


NWS NDFD 2-m minimum temperatures [in °F] for a portion of the northern U.S. valid 12Z (6 a.m. CST) 30 Jan 2019, as prettied up by WeatherBell.com.

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The coldest core of the Arctic air -- with air temp anomalies of minus 30°F to minus 40F or ambient air temps of minus 20°F to minus 30°F and wind chills in the minus 35°F to minus 50°F range -- are forecasted to impact the Northern Great Plains and Great Lakes region. It will be short-lived, though.

The Mid-Atlantic region, including here in the D.C., will just get grazed with Thursday highs of 26°F and lows of 13°F. There might be a little snow here on Tuesday night as the Arctic front blasts through.

The GFS-FV3 6z 26 Jan 2019 forecasted 2-meter temperature anomalies [in °F] for a portion of the northern U.S. valid hour 102 / 12Z (6 a.m. CST) 30 Jan 2019, as prettied up by PivotalWeather.com.

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OK, I'm going to wrap up this entry. I wasn't able to post a Jukebox Saturday Night entry tonight as I just didn't have any particular songs I wanted to post. Also, I'm not defining this one as a Saturday Evening Post -- but instead just posting it at the actual time I finish it.

The Hampton Courts, 2000 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 4:18 p.m. Jan 26, 2019

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For tomorrow, I'm probably just going to walk to Georgetown and get a mid-afternoon lunch and drinks.

Tomorrow night, I think Fred, Doug, and I will watch a couple episodes of 'Allo, 'Allo! on Netflix -- and thus wrapping up season 5. God, that show is hilarious in a sustained way. Looking ahead to the workweek, I've got quite a bit to do but nothing early morning.

My next planned entry will be late Monday or early Tuesday.

--Regulus 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Trump's Failed Federal Shutdown Reality Show Finally Shutdown By Reality -OR- #WINNING


The big news …

… The partial federal government shutdown ended yesterday after a record-breaking 35 days or rather, it ended temporarily, i.e., for at least three weeks via a brief continuing resolution and it ended without President Trump getting any of the $5.7 billion for his goddamn "Big, Beautiful Wall" along the Mexican border.


The CR expires on Feb 15th, but at this point, I would be surprised if Trump undertakes a second shutdown given how (predictably) politically disastrously this one ended for this and the morally rotted and ethno-cultic Republican Party.


It ended without Trump getting the $5.7 billion for his goddamn "Big, Beautiful Wall" along the Mexican border. Nancy Pelosi was the big winner and, yes, Trump was the big loser, along with the Republican Party that he totally hijacked. The Republican Party will need a thorough "De-Trumpification" fumigation after he is finally out of an office he should have never occupied. 

Trump's partial federal government shutdown -- egged on by the carnival barkers of the larger rightwing media ecosystem such as Rush the Pigboy Limbaugh, Ann "THRAX" Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and the like -- finally ended on the second missed payday as the air traffic controllers and TSA agents began calling out sick in large enough numbers to begin wrecking havoc with the nation's civilian air traffic control system.

That was, again predictably, a bridge too far for everyone involving including Mitch "The Amoral Bitch" McConnell and his Senate Republican caucus.

Indeed, it was clear that we were within about two weeks of genuine breakdown of critical systems -- to include air traffic control and airport security in general, tax collection and refunds, the federal court system, agricultural inspections, food stamp distribution, and among others -- and Trump, honestly, had no choice in the matter. I suspect even he knew that even without McConnell telling him.

Matt Yglesias had this interesting piece about the role of the nation's air traffic controllers in this mess brings full circle their role from the 1981 PATCO strike that resulting in Reagan firing them all -- and ushering in the era of serious union busting.


Naturally, Trump declared victory -- and went on one of his familiar kooky riffs about women being abducted at the lawless border and bound with duct tape. He's got a psychosexual thing about that.


To reiterate, the genuine winner in this is awesome Nancy Pelosi.

Obsessed with "winning" every news cycle, the GOP's atavistic Base -- fanned by the rightwing media ecosystem -- are in a mouth-foaming frenzy at Trump's "cave in." The mainstream media are running with that storyline, too. Unsurprisingly, the party leadership is filled with nasty recriminations. Here is a Post article: 'I hope we get some common sense': Republicans reeling from political damage caused by shutdown.

The party understands that its long game strategy -- redistributing as much wealth as possible to the top 1% and top 0.1% at the expense of the bottom 90%; making the world safe for extractive, polluting, and predatory industries; recreating a late 19th Century style oligarchical overclass / servant underclass; and hijacking the federal judiciary with Federalist Society bots for the next three decades can't withstand Trump's unworkable, self-defeating reality show bullshit.

The fact is, the entire strategy was fucked up from the start -- with fucking Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh dictating an approach that couldn't possibly work in the real world but that certainly works for their ratings and egomaniacal self-aggrandizement.


For her part, Ann Coulter declared via her toxic Twitter feed that Trump was now a bigger "wimp" than the late Geo. H.W. Bush. Coulter is a genuinely malevolent influence in American society -- was interviewed by her "frenemy," the great Bill Maher. You can read about it here. I'm actually not interested in watching it.

For his part, Hannity stayed worshipfully close to Trump, declaring he still has all the power. Hannity is actually in love with Trump.


Anyway, the fact remains that the shutdown is over and the 800,000 furloughed federal workers and many more contractors can go back to work, although the latter will not get backpay the way the feds will. (As I've mentioned, I'm endlessly grateful that the agency I support as a contractor was not among those shut down.)


This shutdown hopefully will nix any future shutdowns -- or at least for years to come (in the way that the Dec 1995 - Jan 1996 shutdown was sufficiently disastrous for the GOP that they didn't try it again until 2013).

I haven't even mentioned the clueless moral sickness of that degenerate octogenarian fuck Wilbur Ross -- the billionaire Secretary of Commerce who bears more than a passing resemblance to Mr. Burns of The Simpsons -- when he first dismissed those whose lives were being upended by this dumbass pointless shutdown as being "a few tenths of a percentage points" of GDP and then declaring that they should take out a bunch of loans to tide them over.

Even Trump knew that was a stupid thing to say. (Ross's Commerce Department was among those shutdown including all of NOAA.)


Oh, and the shutdown ended on the day that that deranged sociopath Roger Stone was arrested after being indicted as part of the whole Russia government / Trump campaign "ratfucking" of the 2016 presidential election. Stone did his usual Nixon arms and hands gesture. I genuinely don't get why he thinks that's clever. However, I don't want to get into the whole Mueller investigation -- let's just do one Trump catastrophe at a time.

OK, I'm going to wrap up this entry and post a Saturday evening post edition.

--Regulus

Thursday, January 24, 2019

On Polar Vortex Displacements and the GOP Bat Guano Brigade -OR- January Rain & Refreeze


I can't post an entry tonight as I need to go to sleep to get up for a second day running at 6 a.m. to be at a meeting as a notetaker. I was successful this morning in getting up and being there on time -- and I took copious notes all day, even when I felt as though I would literally fall asleep / pass out.

It was a warm (for January) -- temps reaching about 60F -- and very rainy morning ahead of a strong cold front that ushered in a burst of regular winter cold air.

Rainfall totals were as follows:
KDCA: 1.03"
KBWI: 1.01"
KIAD: 1.33" (daily record)
KDMH: 1.00" 

Tonight was a gym night. I'm home now but I need to go to sleep.

Speaking of cold air, and since I don't have time to write a significant entry, here is a CWG entry to read (link embedded): Extreme Arctic outbreak possible next week as polar vortex targets northern U.S.

This animated image is from the entry …

This is from the 0Z 24 Jan 2019 op GFS showing 500mb height anomalies (in dam) over portions of North America animated in 12-hour time steps between 7 p.m. EST 28 Jan 2019 (0Z 29 Jan 2019) and 7 p.m. EST 31 Jan 2019 (0Z 01 Feb 2019), as prettied up by PivotalWeather.com.

You can clearly see a big lobe of the polar vortex. This is associated with the sudden stratospheric warming back in December.

This is from the 0Z 24 Jan 2019 Euro showing 850mb temp anomalies (in C) over portions of North America animated in 24-hour time steps between 7 p.m. EST 28 Jan 2019 (0Z 29 Jan 2019) and 7 p.m. EST 31 Jan 2019 (0Z 01 Feb 2019), again as prettied up by PivotalWeather.com.

This is also taken from the above-linked CWG entry.

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I'm genuinely more curious as to why …

… the American political right -- in particular, that large portion of it that is synonymous with the MAGA cap-wearing crowd -- go BATSHIT CRAZY whenever they hear "polar vortex."

Only "Hillary Clinton" -- and now, even better, "Nancy Pelosi" -- make them go as loony rabid.

Actually, I sorta know the reason why.

OK, that's all for now. My next planned entry will either be tomorrow (Friday) or Saturday evening.

--Regulus

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A Late Night Brief Non-Posting Posting -OR- Cultural Ty-D-Bol: The Prelude


Sorry …

… I tried to post a new entry, but it's taking too long (on a current explosive cultural-political matter about which you can probably guess). However, I must go to sleep as I have to be in VERY early tomorrow -- far earlier than I ever normally do -- in order to be a notetaker at a day-and-a-half meeting.

OK, I'm signing off now. I'll TRY to post an entry tomorrow evening after the gym, but I can't guarantee it. Indeed, it might not be until Friday OR Saturday evening that I post again.


This includes aforementioned topic in all its self-parodying cultural horseshit, i.e., a perfect metaphor for the syphilitically-deranged Trump clown show with Mitch "The Amoral Bitch" riding side-saddle.

--Regulus

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Late, Great Cassini's Feast of Saturnalia -- The Ring-a-Ding-Ding Edition


I have to note this amazing finding from the intrepid and awesome Cassini probe -- a probe that will live on in memory forever for all the wonders of Saturn it uncovered -- that was just published in Science

It concerns the mass and hence age of Saturn's awesome ring system.


Here is the key part of an excerpt from an article in The Atlantic last week:

In its last maneuvers, Cassini wove in and out of Saturn's rings. The spacecraft was jostled by the gravity of the bands, as well as powerful winds emanating from deep within the planet’s atmosphere.

Scientists used the data produced by these effects to calculate the mass of the rings. They say that the mass is about 40 percent that of Mimas, a moon of Saturn, which is about 2,000 times as small as Earth’s moon.

In more earthly terms, the rings are about half the mass of the entire Antarctic ice shelf, spread across a surface area 80 times that of Earth.

"It is the most accurate measurement of the rings of Saturn," says Bonnie Buratti, a planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who worked on the Cassini mission but who was not involved in the study.

"The error margins are kind of pretty big -- there's about a 25 percent, almost 30 percent uncertainty -- but it's way more accurate than anything we've had before."


So! The mass of the mostly water ice that comprises Saturn's ring system -- ranging in size from sand grains to mountains -- is about half the mass of Antarctica's ice cap. And, remember, the rings of Saturn are only on the order of 10 meters to (at most 1 kilometer) thick.


More importantly, though, such a lightweight ring system (relatively speaking) implies that the rings (or at least most of them) are only 10 to 100 million years old and were possibly created by a wayward moon, comet, or asteroid that was ripped apart by Saturn's massive gravitational pull.

A couple of artist conception images of being inside the rings of Saturn …


Abstract of that Science article:

The interior structure of Saturn, the depth of its winds and the mass and age of its rings constrain its formation and evolution. In the final phase of the Cassini mission, the spacecraft dived between the planet and the innermost ring, at altitudes 2600-3900 km above the cloud tops. During six of these crossings, a radio link with Earth was monitored to determine the gravitational field of the planet and the mass of its rings.


We find that Saturn's gravity deviates from theoretical expectations and requires differential rotation of the atmosphere extending to a depth of at least 9000 km. The total mass of the rings is (1.54 ± 0.49)×1019 kg (0.41 ± 0.13 times that of the moon Mimas), indicating that the rings may have formed 107 to 108 years ago.

Artist's conception of the Saturnian atmosphere (above the clouds) with the rings prominently visible …

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Awesome.

--Regulus

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Jukebox Saturday Night for January 19th, 2019: Deep Blue, Feels So Good, and Footloose Edition -OR- Bacon & Kev

We'll start out with a lovely smooth jazz piece …


"Deep Blue" by Richard Elliot from his release Soul Embrace (1993)

I've featured Richard Elliot in a number of Jukebox Saturday Night editions over the past several years, but I don't believe I've featured this particular piece.

Here is Richard Elliot's website and it includes his full discography with thumbnail images of all his albums back to his 1986 "Trolltown" release.

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Next up, an old-school soul hit …


"It Feels So Good To Be Loved So Bad" by The Manhattans from the group's 8th studio album It Feels So Good (1977)

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And we'll end with something Saturday night energetic and upbeat (not to mention the title song of the hit movie of same name) …


"Footloose" by Kenny Loggins from the soundtrack album Footloose: Original Soundtrack of the Paramount Motion Picture (1984)

The video is form the movie dance finale led by the movie's star, actor Kevin Bacon, with a 2011 "adaptation" to it.

I'm surprised I never previously featured this hit song.

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

--Regulus

Saturday Evening Post for January 19th, 2019: Some Weather Talk Plus Brief Update

**This entry was posted January 19th, 2019**

Stirling Falls, Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, South Island, New Zealand

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Saturday night (well, actually wee hours Sunday morning by the time I posted this entry, but I adjusted the posting time to be for Saturday).

I'm home watching the MeTV Super Sci-Fi Saturday night and Sunday Red-Eye Sci-Fi lineup. This entry, however, is mostly dedicated to a weather update …

Weather update …

NWS high-resolution surface weather map for a portion of the eastern United States as of 3Z 20 Jan 2019

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It's raining outside as a large, complex low pressure system with two cold fronts -- the second one of which is a bona fide Arctic blast -- pushing across the central Appalachians. (See 3Z 20 Jan 2019 surface weather map image directly above.)

NWS/WPC/NDFD U.S. surface weather map forecast valid 6Z 20 Jan 2019 showing isobars, fronts, and precipitation type and intensity.

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The main low is presently over eastern Kentucky and is forecasted to track to the northeast -- dragging a warm front up the Eastern Seaboard and ensuring the coastal areas outside of New England see mostly rain. This includes, of course, the D.C. area where it is (as noted) raining right now.

Some radar imagery …

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard base reflectivity looped 11:26 p.m. 19 Jan 2019 - 12:07 a.m. 20 Jan 2019

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Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard composite mode looped 11:20 p.m. 19 Jan 2019 - 12:01 a.m. 20 Jan 2019

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NECONUS quadrant composite radar mosaic looped 0348 - 0458 UTC 20 Jan 2019

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Across New England, however, heavy snow is in the forecast with winter storm warnings up for an unusually wide swath including nearly all of New York (except the New York City area and Long Island) and Massachusetts, and all of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Some current weather advisories info …

NWS U.S. weather advisories (without legend) for the eastern half of the United States, 0503 UTC (12:03 am EST) 20 Jan 2019

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Baltimore/Washington NWSFO weather advisories updated 12:08 a.m. EST Jan 20, 2019

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Philadelphia / Mt. Holly NWSFO weather advisories updated 12:28 a.m. EST Jan 20, 2019

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Snowfall totals in parts of southern New Hampshire could reach 20 to 24 inches -- not the biggest snowstorm ever for New England by any means but a heavy snow nonetheless.

NWS / NCEP NDFD NECONUS snowfall totals valid 12Z 18 Jan 2019 - 00Z 21 Jan 2019 as prettied up by WeatherBell.com

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Of note, the storm system is supposed to bring accumulating snowfall to the Boston area -- in the range of 3 to 8 inches, depending on location.

This will actually be the first significant snowfall for Boston this winter season. Oddly enough, the Boston area has missed out on virtually all snow this season with the city so far (prior to today) having only received 0.2" at KBOS including just 0.1" since Dec 1. By contrast, here in D.C. (KDCA) is at 12.7" for the season so far including 11.3" this month and Richmond (KRIC) at 13.0" -- thanks mostly (11.5") to that mid-November snowstorm.

Baltimore (KBWI) is at 9.2" for the season so far including 7.5" this month while Dulles Airport (KIAD) is at 15.4" for the season so far including 12.4" this month through today.

For its part, New York (KNYC) is at 6.9" for the season including just 0.5" this month through today. Meanwhile, Philadelphia (KPHI) is at 6.3" for the season including 2.7" since Dec 1st and 2.4" so far this month (i.e., 3.6" fell in November).

Also of note, Norfolk (KORF) has had 0.1" this winter season, so it and KBOS are at the same amount for climatological winter (i.e., since Dec 1st) -- something that, I suspect, almost never happens.

Boston / Norton NWSFO weather advisories updated 12:42 a.m. EST Jan 20, 2019

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Portland / Gray NWSFO weather advisories updated 12:42 a.m. EST Jan 20, 2019

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The blast of Arctic air will be quite a punch with temps plummeting tomorrow (Sunday) from around 50F at late morning to a forecasted low of 10F to 15F tomorrow night with wind chills in the -5F to -10F range. Monday is forecasted to have a high of only 20F in D.C. proper. However, the Arctic blast is short-lived with another low tracking up the Appalachians and bringing relative warmth (50F) and decent rainfall on Wednesday and Thursday.

Looking ahead for the next several weeks and owing to the fact that there has been a major hemispheric pattern change that is, in turn, associated with the mid-December sudden stratospheric warming and resulting disruption to the polar vortex, so there is a chance of more Arctic outbreaks into February.

By the way, why is it rightwingers go BATSHIT CRAZY whenever they hear the term "polar vortex"??

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As an update …

I did not get a chance to go to the gym today (Saturday) -- instead, basically sleeping all day in his small, dark apartment with the fan going.


I may go to the gym tomorrow (Sunday). Monday is the Martin Luther King federal holiday and I have the day off (and, thankfully, I'm not part of the now nearly one-month long partial federal shutdown that shows no sign of ending and is on the verge of getting really ugly).


I should note that tomorrow -- January 20, 2019 -- is PRECISELY the half way mark of this morally and ethically diseased Trump dystopia. Now that doesn't mean we are necessarily half way through the Trump presidency -- it could be shorter if he is removed from office (unlikely) or drops dead (a possibility) or longer if he is reelected (not at all out of the question no matter what he does).


Anyway, for the week ahead, I've got a lot of work to do -- including finishing up reports in that financial monitoring report series that I've been doing for the past few years and also attending a meeting (right at L'Enfant Plaza) on Thursday and Friday as a notetaker (and which requires me to get up quite early).


That being the case, I don't think I'll have more than two entries this week (in addition to my Jukebox Saturday Night posting that will immediately follow this entry).


OK, I'm going to sign off now. My next planned entry might not be until Tuesday night.

--Regulus