Wednesday, July 31, 2019

An End-of-July Semi-Leafy Summerhouse and a TrumpWorld Overheated Greenlandic Icehouse

Closeup view of the west side of the U.S. Capitol building on a sunny summer day, Washington, D.C., 10:38 p.m. July 27, 2019

I chose this as the lead one because, well, I don't actually feature pictures of the Capitol building that often on blog -- despite the fact that I live in Washington, D.C., and work not that far from the structure. Of note, the West Steps have been closed to the public since shortly after the 9/11 attacks (or rather, the anthrax attacks panic) as part of Security Theatre 101).


Most of the pictures in this entry -- it's obvious which ones -- were taken by me this past weekend, specifically, on Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday ones were taken on a morning (yes, a morning) walk down to the U.S. Capitol with Lynda, who came into the city to visit me for part of the day. The Sunday ones were taken as I walked to Georgetown -- mostly while walking down New Hampshire Avenue.

The Summerhouse on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., 10:34 a.m. July 27, 2019

I took a picture of the small, verdant cascade inside the grotto contained with the Summerhouse, but it didn't come out that well.

Also, it appeared that the ginormous, ancient Japanese pagoda tree (pictured left) next to the Summerhouse was missing, but I might be confusing its location with another tree.

It just seemed that the space around the Summerhouse was more open than before.

It's possible that the other tree near it was just sharply pruned.

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Speaking of large trees …

Towering, spreading chestnut oak (or maybe a swamp white oak?) in the 1800 block of New Hampshire Ave, Washington, D.C., 1:56 p.m. July 28, 2019

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Apologies for lack of postings on Monday or Tuesday or, for that matter, much of a posting tonight.

It has been an extremely hectic -- and workwise hellish -- past few days the big federal contract that I support changes hands to another company (one that becomes my employer officially as of August 1st).

Summer day view, 1900 block New Hampshire Ave, Washington, D.C., 1:54 p.m. July 28, 2019

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There has been all the admin/HR stuff … the office changeover (since I am remaining the same space but that space has changed hands) with all the computer network changes … the new contractor's new corporate culture … and the need to finish up three client tasks in a hurry.

Two of those tasks were hideously meticulous and required me to stay up into the wee hours the past two nights here at home even while I tried to watch my late night MeTV shows (with my digital antenna reception repeatedly crapping out).

Summer day sidewalk view, 1900 block New Hampshire Ave, Washington, D.C., 1:54 p.m. July 28, 2019

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This includes old reruns of The Carol Burnett Show -- I love her -- and episodes of The Twilight Zone, specifically, the 1980s ones that were every bit as good as the original series.

I was going to go to the gym tonight (as I did on Monday), but I had to stay at work to finish one of the two tasks, and I didn't leave until just after 9:30 p.m.

Summer day, 1700 block New Hampshire Ave, Washington, D.C., 2:00 p.m. July 28, 2019

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At this point, I may not have a chance to go to the gym until Sunday or even Monday.

Having said all that, I am grateful that I have this new company to go to -- and even more grateful that I can keep, more or less, the varied and flexible sort of work situation that I have.

Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., on a summer evening, 7:58 p.m. July 26, 2019

Yes, of course this structure (formerly the Old Post Office and Clock Tower) long predates its current abomination of a form -- and it will certainly survive long after the Trump name is a defunct and historical shame.

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Turning to the weather, it was hot and disgusting on Tuesday with highs in the upper 90s Fahrenheit. KDCA was the lowest at 95F while KDMH actually touched 100F. KBWI reached 98F, tying a daily record high set in the pre-airport period (1940) while KIAD hit 97F, one degree shy of a daily record high.

Young people on a motorboat, Potomac riverfront, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 4:32 p.m. July 28, 2019

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As for today, it was slightly "cooler" with highs in the 86F to 91F range but dew points notched up a tad to near 70F.

KDCA reached 90F, adding to the steadily increasing number of 90F+ days this summer, now at 35 versus a "normal" summer total of 36 -- itself a figure based upon the historical record and so not entirely "normal" nowadays. It felt better only because there was no blazing sunshine but instead was mostly cloudy all day.

More noteworthy, we did not get any of the advertised numerous showers and thunderstorms. The flash flood watch and severe thunderstorm watch that were briefly in place this afternoon. KDCA recorded 0.01" while KIAD had trace. KBWI and KDMH had zero.

A chance for showers and t/storms is in the forecast the next several days but they keep crapping out. We went from super-wet to nearly totally dry -- with the atmosphere not "wanting" to rain. I wouldn't call it a drought, though, at this point. It's just frickin' middle/high summer in our globally warming world.

Greenland surface temperature anomalies as shown by the initialized 6Z 31 July 2019 GFS, as prettied up by CWG/WP.

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Speaking of our globally warming world, this Capital Weather Gang entry is of direct and strong relevance (link embedded): The Greenland ice sheet is in the throes of one of its greatest melting events ever recorded.

I may repost that entry in its entirety.

Tweeted information on the current, widespread Greenland ice melt episode.

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Meanwhile, your nearest Trump Teabagger crazy is going on and on about how we need filthy and toxically poisonous coal.

It's worth explicitly stating once in a while:

The GOP cult is the socio-cultural equivalent of the Ebola virus -- destroying its own host in quick order.

But this is not a political entry, nor am I going to get into anything about round two of the Democratic presidential candidates' debates, which again was spread over two nights and involving 20 candidates (out of a field of about two dozen) and which CNN again treated like a WrestleMania pay-per-view event for Red State viewers.

You can read this Dana Milbank piece about that (link embedded): Marianne Williamson won't be president. But her 2020 competitors should take note.

I will note that wacky Marianne Williamson (in her appearance last night) once again made some of the most insightful rhetorical points including this extremely quotable quote:

I assure you -- I lived in Grosse Pointe, what happened in Flint would not have happened in Grosse Pointe.

"This is part of the dark underbelly of American society. The racism, the bigotry and the entire conversation that we're having here tonight, if you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I’m afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days."

Look, it's either going to be Biden or a second Trump term …

… and as Trump's syphilis plus his solipsism, megalomania, antisocial personality, and sundry other pathologies will have progressed to the point that between them, a "Moscow Mitch" Senate block, and a rightwing Catholic-crazed Federal Society-filled judiciary running amok, the country ends up in a bad place quicker than Greenland's ice summer is melting.

BTW, I totally agree with this piece from FiveThirtyEight (link embedded): Political Confessional: The Man Who Thinks The U.S. Is Better Off As A Bunch Of Separate Countries.

This guy "Chris" literally read my mind -- up to and including the Mississippi River analogy he used.

OK, I'm going to end this entry now. My next entry might not be until the weekend. 

--Regulus

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Smooth and Easy Jazz Listening for a Sunday Afternoon: The July 28th, 2019 Edition

I haven't posted a Jukebox Saturday Night entry in several weeks -- including last night -- so I'll post a few smooth jazz pieces on this Sunday early afternoon …


"This Can't Be Love" by Frank Sinatra and Margaret Whiting performing with the
Jeff Alexander Orchestra from Sinatra's
Light-Up Time period (1949)

Many artists have covered this standard over the years …

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Another great piece by a great and talented lady …


"Love, Mystery, and Adventure" by Jo Stafford performing with Paul Weston and His Orchestra (1951)

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Now here's a real old school Big Band standard …


"Rose Room" by the Benny Goodman Sextet featuring Charlie Christian on guitar (1939)

Yes, I got the idea for these three songs from recent Bryan Wright podcasts.

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And we'll end with a piece very suitable for July …


"Summer Breeze" by Seals and Crofts from the duo's album of same name (1972)

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As a tiny update …

I didn't do my laundry last night, and instead went to bed around 2 a.m. I can't do my laundry now as the laundry room is filled with the younger-end female millennials who live in this building and, I guess, Sunday early afternoon is laundry time. So, I'll do my laundry tonight including ALL the on-the-floor bedding.

For today, I dunno … I'm just going to go out and about. Maybe I'll take the Metro up to Bethesda and get lunch there. I haven't had any "issues" with any places there (yet).

For this evening, it's dinner and a show ('Allo! 'Allo!) at Fred & Doug's place with Aydin, who has been away for a few weeks upon the death of his dad.

My next entry will either be late Monday or Tuesday.

--Regulus

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Saturday Evening Post for July 27th, 2019: The Forbidden Planet & Crappy TV Reception Edition


Saturday night.

I'm trying to catch up on some entries.

I'm home tonight watching the Saturday night MeTV super sci-fi lineup. The Svengoolie hosted monster movie was the true sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet.


"Forbidden Planet" is a 1956 American science fiction film, produced by Nicholas Nayfack, directed by Fred M. Wilcox, that stars Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, and Leslie Nielsen. Shot in Eastmancolor and CinemaScope, it is considered one of the great science fiction films of the 1950s, a precursor of contemporary science fiction cinema.

The characters and isolated setting have been compared to those in William Shakespeare's The Tempest, and the plot contains certain analogues to the play.


"Forbidden Planet" pioneered several aspects of science fiction cinema. It was the first science fiction film to depict humans traveling in a faster-than-light starship of their own creation. It was also the first to be set entirely on another planet in interstellar space, far away from Earth.

The Robby the Robot character is one of the first film robots that was more than just a mechanical "tin can" on legs; Robby displays a distinct personality and is an integral supporting character in the film. Outside science fiction, the film was groundbreaking as the first of any genre to use an entirely electronic musical score, courtesy of Bebe and Louis Barron.

"Forbidden Planet's" effects team was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects at the 29th Academy Awards. In 2013, the picture was entered into the Library of Congress' National Film Registry, being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


The Star Trek: TOS episode was "Errand of Mercy" -- quite an interesting episode that basically portrays the Federation and the Klingon Empire as equally developmentally primitive and morally equivalent, which is a startling message for its time.

The Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode was "Planet of the Amazon Women" -- which, I guess, speaks to a certain zeitgeist of that show. And The Invaders -- such a bizarre show -- is the episode "Storm."

My main issue, as ever, is my digital antenna reception for this particular channel (a subchannel of WTTG) is pure shit, interrupted constantly with pixelations, freeze frames, loss of sound (plus the occasional big jump in volume), and even loss of signal outright. And forget it if a (police) helicopter goes over head.

The shit reception happens in waves -- reaching a sort of crescendo, at which point I'm moving the TV and that damn digital antenna pad around the room -- and then suddenly improves, only to do it all over again.

Atmospheric conditions aside, I think part of it is that WTTG just sucks in how it broadcasts it.

Other local stations come in far better.

Maybe the Sue Palka-cabra has something to do it.

There she is …

ROAR!!!

I need to do my laundry, but I'm also very tired and sorta just want to go to sleep. For tomorrow, I should probably go to the gym since I've been remiss in that the past week.

--Regulus

Entry Catch Up From Earlier This Week: Globally Heated Western Europe and Mueller Time Miss

**This entry was posted July 27th, 2019.**

The exterior of St. Augustine Catholic Church, Washington, D.C., 12:02 p.m. July 24, 2019

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This entry is actually one I started on Monday night (July 22nd) but never completed, returned to on Tuesday night (July 23rd), returned a third time on Wednesday night (July 24th), and then just gave up. I'm going to post it in its disjointed form.

From Monday night …

Not much to say tonight. I made it to the gym and had a complete, multipart workout.

I'm home now watching the late-night MeTV lineup of old shows. The Perry Mason episode is one I have not seen before: "The Case of the Sad Sicilian."

There's lots of yelling and screaming and wild emotions and vendettas -- and things going wrong no matter what you do.

I can relate to that.

A leafy tree grows in the 1500 block V Street NW, Washington, D.C., 12:01 p.m. July 24, 2019

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From Tuesday night …

Tonight's Perry Mason episode is "The Case Of The Murderous Mermaid." It guest stars Jean Hale (pictured left), who is still alive and was once married to actor Dabney Coleman. Of note and related to this, multiple Perry Mason episodes occur on the Pacific coast of Southern California -- in a way that goes beyond Southern Californians' relationship to the Pacific.

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From Monday night …

We sorta got screwed out of any meaningful rain here in the immediate D.C. area the past few days -- just a tenth of an inch or so officially at KDCA -- with more to the west, south, southeast, and northeast over the Baltimore area (where 1/2" to 1" fell).

This was associated with a cold frontal passage that swept out our extended heat-and-humidity wave.

Tonight is distinctly pleasant night with temps around 73F and, more importantly, dew points in the 62F to 64F range at the 11 p.m. hour.

Looking ahead, there's no rain in the forecast for at least the next five days, which is annoying. But given how wet it has been the past 12 to 18 months, I can't complain.

Of course, I can always find a reason to complain.

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Summer day view, V Street and New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 12:00 p.m. July 24, 2019

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From Tuesday night …

NWS Sterling (LWX) radar in standard composite mode looped 6:17 p.m. - 6:42 p.m. EDT July 24, 2019

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The weather today featured a "surprise" deluge over the immediate area that dropped "officially" 0.37 inches at KDCA (while zero fell at KBWI and KDMH and "trace" at KIAD).

The Capital Weather Gang had this entry to explain what went wrong. At least CWG provided a mea culpa. Sterling (LWX) never really acknowledged the busted forecast, such as it was, in its periodic area forecast discussions.

But then again, it usually doesn't do stuff like that.

In the meantime, here is a CWG entry on Europe's latest globally warmed heatwave.

As an update, Paris managed to hit a ridiculous 109F, or rather, 108.7F -- a new all-time high that easily surpassed the previous hottest ever of 104.7F set in 1947; see this CWG entry.

Western Hemisphere high temperatures [in Celsius] for July 24, 2019

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All-time records were set in Germany (107F) and the Netherlands (104F). London hit at least 98.2F and Cambridge 100.6F, which was apparently only the second time a temperature greater than 100F has been recorded in the UK.

ECMWF 500mb height anomalies for the Northern Hemisphere, valid hour 72, 0Z July 28, 2019

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And the residual heat of that heatwave is heading up into the Arctic, where it will probably supercharge the melt season with massive Arctic sea ice and Greenland ice sheet loss -- and, possibly, result in the a new record low in sea ice coverage by September, surpassing the 2012 low.

Tree foliage, 1500 block V Street NW, Washington, D.C., 12:01 p.m. July 24, 2019

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From Wednesday night …

So, Robert "Stone Face" Mueller delivered exactly what we thought he would -- namely, "above the fray" nothingness -- in that he was, as expected, a total milquetoast wuss in the face of Trump and his degenerate kleptocracy. But it was worse than that. He couldn't even remember his old side -- much les take it in this battle. More generally in this grotesque Trump affair, t's hard to overstate what a historical and pathetic tragedy has been Mueller's approach.

It goes without saying, sadly, Mueller is the antimatter opposite, metaphorically speaking, of Ken Starr. As for Democrats, they'll do what they always do: Lose.

Yes, let's be frank, Trump is going to "win" his reelection thanks any number of reasons, none of which I want to rehash right now. We know them all by chapter and verse.

The bar at the restaurant Ocean Prime, Washington, D.C., 8:17 p.m. July 24, 2019

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From Tuesday night …

So, tomorrow is the big, long-awaited, totally anti-climactic testimony of Robert "Stone Face" Mueller. I think Bill Maher said it best about "Prosecutor Jesus" in this Real Time "New Rule" segment from late April …



"For over two years, America has had a crazy person in the White House, and for over two years, Democrats have done fuck-all about it because they were waiting for Mueller. We all sat around waiting for Prosecutor Jesus to turn in his big report."

The best line (paraphrased): "When history called, Mueller let the call go into voice mail."

Here is an op-ed column from the WaHoPo on the matter:


[Mueller's] contorted explanation in the report not to provide a bottom-line characterization of Trump’s behavior as criminal, notwithstanding supplying all the building blocks for that determination.

Here Mueller developed and relied on his own self-imposed "fairness concerns" about charging Trump in a setting in which he could not clear himself though a speedy and public trial.

It's more evidence of Mueller’s genuine rectitude, but there is an irony in Mr. By-the-Book's gratuitously writing a whole new chapter, and it served to greatly confuse the public while permitting Trump to claim victory.


That, combined with his Delphic formulation that “if we could have exonerated Trump, we would have,” left it to Trump antagonists to try to argue in complex sound bites that Trump had committed obstruction. It also gave Attorney General William P. Barr a hole big enough to drive a truck through with his (mis)characterization of Mueller’s report.

And here is a conversation between Jonathan Chait and Benjamin Hart: Will Mueller Tell Democrats What They Want to Hear?

Chait quote:

The basic rule of all political investigations are that the central figure has to placate both sides, and the GOP’s expectations are always way farther outside the bounds of neutrality.

Janet Reno had to appoint a Republican to investigate Clinton because the crazy Republicans would never accept a Democrat’s findings. Pat Fitzgerald had to investigate Dubya, because crazy Republicans would never accept a Democrat's' findings, Likewise, a Republican had to be appointed to investigate Trump.

Finally, here is Michael Isikoff:


OK, that's all for now. For tomorrow night, I'm planning to go to the gym again, but I need to do my laundry when I get home. My next planned entry won't be until Thursday or Friday.

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Office building complex at night, 1400 block L Street NW, Washington, D.C., 9:43 p.m. July 24, 2019

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Returning to Saturday night …

OK, now I'm going to post my usual pair of entries.

--Regulus

Monday, July 22, 2019

A Monday Morning Update To Mention All Those Entries That I Didn't Post

Two elephants chasing two hippos -- yes, two hippos -- away from some muddy watering hole in Africa …

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Apologies for lack of updates since last week.

It's not that I didn't want to write big, beautiful entries covering all manner of beautiful topics such as …

Another one of the NWS CWA maps showing excessive heat warnings and flash flood watches occurring in the same places at the same time in our globally warming world. Just sayin' …

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… the heatwave we've gone through (highs in the 96F to 99F range and dew points on either side of 75F) the past four days along with some thunderstorm activity, although not as much as two weeks ago …

… the commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing on July 20, 1969 including a thrice-nightly inspirational outdoor show down on the National Mall over the course of four or five days to include projections of Apollo 11 mission actual footage and image effects on the Washington Monument itself that featured, among other things, lift-off of the life-sized Saturn V rocket …

… [my mom was 5 months pregnant with me, so I guess I existed at that point] …


… the virulent, fully out-in-the-open racism of our half-tragical, half-farcical, and fully malevolent "President" and how he's doing his anti-personality disordered best to poison and tear apart the American body politic while his MAGA cap-clad supporters bark and howl at the Moon.

Meanwhile, the cult that is today's GOP -- itself led cart-before-the-horse-style by its for-profit media/entertainment propaganda complex -- helps chicken-and-egg-style facilitate this dystopian state of affairs …

… sundry op-eds and other pieces I had wanted to excerpt or repost outright to include this July 9th New York Times one by Ross Douthat following the first Democratic presidential debates last month:

The Meaning of Marianne Williamson.

Please read it (and the Alex Pareene linked one).

… and anything else I can't recall right now …

Alas, I posted none of that.

A hippo chasing a male lion away from a watering hole during one of those endless droughts in Africa …

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It's Monday morning, and I'm in my air conditioner-chilled, fan-whirled, dimly-lit apartment trying to get up after about 12 hours of dream-filled and occasionally-interrupted sleep (I went to bed early last night) and start my day.

I have to finish a significant task by tomorrow, so I'm probably not going to post an entry tonight after the gym.

My weekend was fine, such as it was, despite the overheated and overly humid outdoor quality to it.

Yesterday, I had a nice day with Mike G in Georgetown -- and, no, nothing bad happened (yeah, big surprise, right??) that included stops at The Tombs, Mr. Smith's, and lastly to Sovereign.

Mike G. seems to have such a more meaningful and important life than I do, what with his family and world travels and what not.

OK, that's all for now. Again, I probably won't have a new posting up until late Tuesday.

--Regulus