Thursday, August 29, 2019

A Half Pleasant, Half Disastrous Week Later, I've Returned from Frickin' Florida In a Sunburnt State, and a Picture of Hurricane Dorian May(be)

Two people at the edge of the low-tide light surf near the pier in Flagler Beach, Fla., 2:13 p.m. August 28, 2019 

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Well, I'm back from my Florida trip to see my dad -- sunburned, worn out, and all-around-flummoxed after a weeklong visit that was half very pleasant and half total disaster with the latter including not one but TWO nasty fights with him, both in public places and only one due to political differences.

The pier in Flagler Beach, Fla., 2:13 p.m. August 28, 2019

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I spent a lot of time at the beach and in the ocean in Flagler Beach, hence the sunburn of pale-ass skin. Of note, the surf more turbulent than usual for August thanks to a weak tropical system (briefly, "Erin") located well offshore.

Yours truly, on the line between suntanned and sunburned, at Finn's in Flagler Beach, Fla., 5:21 p.m. August 27, 2019

I'm beginning to peel right now as I right this -- like one of those cicadas that shed their entire outer self.

*******

Honestly, I don't know how people live -- or even want to live -- in fucking Florida.

The intense, skin-burning sunlight … the flying palmetto bug cockroaches … the biting-ass fire ants and sundry spiders … the grotesque Norfolk pines that shouldn't even be a tree … the 88F heat and 77F dew point for 8 months of the year and endless sweat-drenching … And the people -- oooohhhhh, never mind …

Atlantic Ocean surf on a summer day, Flagler Beach, Fla., 2:04 p.m. August 27, 2019

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That aside, the most noteworthy aspect of the trip was the fact that I made peace with his long-time semi-sorta-girlfriend, Shannon Price, after a decade or so of being way overly harsh and hateful toward her. I was very much wrong on that one. (And speaking of wrong, I think I even had her last name wrong -- it's Price.)

Looking out on the Atlantic Ocean, Flagler Beach, Fla., 4:54 p.m. August 25, 2019

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Bottom line: Just because you're a train wreck (her own self-description) doesn't mean you're necessarily not a fundamentally decent and even good person.

View from a boat ride on Lake Dora, Florida, 2:10 p.m. August 24, 2019

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In addition, I had a nice reconnection with his late semi-sorta-girlfriend Janet's daughter, Tammy, who lives in charming and picturesque Mount Dora (where we went for a one-night visit) and who, despite being dealt a rough hand at the outset, has raised four healthy and decent children to adulthood, owns a nice home, and holds down a steady, successful job.

My dad and Shannon, Jacksonville Int'l Airport, 1:44 p.m. August 29, 2019

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I took about 100 pictures on this trip -- many of which I would like to post.

HOWEVER, the more immediate story is Hurricane Dorian, a potentially disastrous major hurricane that could make a direct strike on one Florida coastline as a category 4 tropical cyclone somewhere between Miami and the area where my dad lives -- and there isn't the slightest chance my 78-year-old father would heed an evacuation notice.

Above: This is the current National Hurricane Center forecast track and cone of uncertainty -- but the wildcard is the strength of the Bermuda-Azores ridge over the Atlantic, specifically, as stated in the 11 p.m. AST NHC forecast discussion:

"The source of the uncertainty can be attributed to challenges in forecasting the strength and orientation of the mid-level ridge over the southeastern United States in a few days, along with exactly where and how large Dorian is by then. As you can imagine, with so many complex variables in play, it is no wonder the models have been having a difficult time nailing down the path of the hurricane."

Hurricane Dorian as seen today from the ISS.

Anyway, right now, it's nearly midnight, and I'm back home, settled in again, everything more or less back to normal.

For tomorrow, I'm going to work -- one day -- and then it's the Labor Day holiday weekend.

I will do my best to post entries over the coming few days, but, again, Hurricane Dorian is going to take precedence in terms of content for the next several days.

Oh, yes, my gym is closed until through this holiday weekend for the annual end-of-summer scrub down of the place. That being the case, no gym until Tuesday.

OK, that's all for now. I'm signing off for now.

--Regulus

Thursday, August 22, 2019

For a Full Week, Off to Dumpwater, Florida, Or Rather, It's Reasonable Facsimile, Flagler Beach


OK, I'm off to visit my dad for a full week in Florida.

Florida in August. And not just Florida, but northern Florida, which is synonymous with southern Georgia, i.e., the Deep South.

This seven-day trip has everything I could possibly want in a summer vacation …

Intense sunlight for which I need SPF 60 or higher, not to mention a straw hat of some sort, so my pale-ass self doesn't burn.

Fire ants in sandy soil.

Those pathetic highway-fringing forests of gnarly pines that have about as much in common with a lovely tree as a witch's broom stick.

Yes, there are palms, but they are the uninspiring sabal palmetto or cabbage palms (the Florida state tree species, no less) that, to me, are depressing precisely because they aren't a truly tropical tree but rather a tree of the sandy-soiled, lowland American South …

… where also exist endless cluttered roads filled with obnoxious gun racked pickup trucks festooned with Confederate flag and/or NRA cult decals …

… driven by downwardly immobile, racially panicked Trump voters, mostly heading between a trailer park and the nearest obscenely oversized Walmart with its Chinese (or Bangladeshi) made cheap goods.

Sure, there's the wealthier sort who live in gated McMansion communities and form the "local notables," but it's really a distinction without a difference at this point.


Unlike certain Florida snowbird families (and, yes, I'm thinking of a certain Donny Osmond type), mine consists of one person, my dad, who lives in a low-rent trailer park rather than some such nice place such on the Florida Atlantic coastline south of, say, Jupiter Inlet.

In the case of my family -- which consists precisely of my dad down there and my mom in Maryland -- we always do the opposite of fancy.


As for my mom nearby in Maryland, while I haven't really talked about it on this blog, she has been in so much misery, suffering, and ill health this summer because of the hot weather here, and there's little I can do for her because, well, that's just now how it works in my family, as defined above.


Anyway, if you're wondering why I'm going to Florida (and you aren't), well, I need to see my dad -- despite the fact he is an ex-liberal Democrat who is now a Trump supporter living in the Sunshine State, where he votes -- because he's almost 79, and I can't keep letting extended amounts of time go by without seeing him.

To be clear, my dad lives right on the Atlantic coastline, but it's a remote stretch of coastline at the far north end of Flagler Beach off the endless depressive stretch that is A1A -- in a sort of vapid no man's land between Ormond Beach and St. Augustine with unusually crummy beaches (which is possibly why that stretch of coastline is so vapid).

So, as I prepare to leave for the week, as a brief itinerary, I'm flying from National Airport (and it's shitty ASOS) to Jacksonville in a few hours. I have a window seat -- on the right side, in case we do the upriver takeoff.


I'm just planning on staying in and around Flagler Beach for the week -- except and unless we go someplace. I'll go in the ocean a few times but otherwise be almost totally unplugged from the outside world. And I'd like to go to a few places such as High Tides at Snack Jack. (Last time I went, there was a bartender / waiter guy who I found very appealing, although that means that if I see him this time, he'll be a total dick me -- that's how that ALWAYS goes for me.)


We may actually drive to Mount Dora at some point to visit Tammy, the daughter of a girlfriend my dad had many years ago back in New Jersey whose original move to Florida was why he went down 26 years ago upon early retirement from the State of New Jersey. No visit to Deland, though, to see great Uncle Hayward or great Aunt Rose. They both passed, most recently, Uncle Hayward at 101. Rose, the younger sister of my paternal grandfather, went down to Florida from New Jersey way back in the 1930s.


As for my dad, in the intervening quarter century since he left New Jersey, he has lived in sundry places in Florida as well as in coastal North Carolina (on the OBX) and South Carolina (North Myrtle Beach), but has been in Flagler Beach (in four or five residences) for the past 14 years or so.

Tammy's mother died -- alone in a trailer with her cats in Port Orange -- 20+ years ago, but he has stayed friends with her, who has grown children of her own.


Maybe I'll jump in a Florida lake, too … Dora? Eustis? Harris? Apopka? There are so many lakes. What could possibly go wrong??


Anyway, I'm scheduled to return next Thursday. It is doubtful I will be able to post any entry between now and when I return -- so, in all likelihood, no entries until Aug 29th or 30th. (No, OF COURSE, my father has no internet in his trailer.)

The ironical flip side to this, though, is that whatever Trump insanities and GOP cult enabling I miss during that time, I'm sure there will be new ones to crowd out the memory of those.

Off to Dumpwater, er, Flagler Beach, Florida …


--Regulus

Monday, August 19, 2019

General Weather Update Here in the Dog Days of Summer -OR- August Augured: A Sad Sidewalk Sunflower and the Melting Greenland Saga

A sunflower grows (grew) along Commerce Street, Alexandria, Va., 2:50 p.m. August 11, 2019

This lovely but seemingly sad sunflower was growing on Commerce Street in Old Town the weekend before last but it was gone this past Saturday (six days later).

*******

Home now at this late hour after a good multi-part gym workout that followed a quiet day at work.

I'm watching the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Silent Six" that I wrote about in this entry when I last saw it last summer.

This is the episode with several invocations of "Hopped Up on Goofballs" and that features the very interesting fellow Hampton Fancher, who plays a woman-beating hood character that is asked angrily in the courtroom by Perry Mason: "What kind of animal are you??" It also features the prolific 1960s actor Skip Homeier (whose credits include two Star Trek: TOS appearances).

The digital antenna reception tonight earlier was pure shit -- perhaps because there of the weather -- although it's gotten a bit better as the would-be thunderstorm crapped out (more on that below).

About the weather, it was again pointlessly hot, excessively humid, and all-around shitty across the region -- and thus a microcosm of our globally overheated world. Indeed, today featured borderline record daily highs and at least one tie for a record warm overnight low (see below for details).

It was also kind of a crummy day sky-wise with haze (not summer blue skies), although there were widely scattered thunderstorms with big, puffy cumulus congestus and cumulonimbus clouds here and there.

Specifically, it reached 98F at KDCA, tying the 2002 daily record high. The overnight low (this morning) was 78F -- which also ties the 2002 daily record warm low.

As this CWG entry explains, this was the first official KDCA record high since Sept 4, 2018 (when it reached 95F) and the first meteorological summer record high since June 12, 2017 (when it reached 95F). Last summer, while warm in absolute terms at +1.6F was cooler than recent ones.

Looking at the other two regional main airport ASOS spots, KBWI climbed to 99F, surpassing the previous daily record of 97F set in 1914 (i.e., in the pre-airport period) while KIAD tied its daily record high of 95F set in 2002. Neither airport had a daily record warm low.

We're up to 48 days now of 90F or higher at KDCA this season -- versus the "average" year-to-date total of 30 and a full yearly average of 36. The highest number of 90F + days was 67 in 1980 and 2010 while the fewest was 7 in 1886 and 1905 (both pre-airport records).

Last year's full season total was 45 days.

About that yearly average, it's a bit confusing since the highest normal daily maxima is 89F (occurring between July 7th and 22nd, inclusive). This is based on the National Weather Service's 1981 - 2010 30-year average (i.e., "normal").

I'm unsure whether the 90+F average is based on that average or, more likely, the full D.C. record (back to 1871).

I'm fairly certain that once the new NWS normal base period data set is released in 2021 -- for the 30-year period 1991 - 2020 -- the highest normal daily maxima at KDCA will finally reach the 90F mark (i.e., we will actually have a "normal" high that reaches the 90F mark at the warmest part of summer). Even without it, though, we still reach 90F on average 36 times in a yearly period (however you want to reckon that period).

Dog Days, Indeed

My mom really suffers in this summer heat. It's very unpleasant for her, and I'm limited in what I can do on a day-to-day basis to help. As for me in my wee efficiency, I'm fine because my window a/c works so well, and what's more, I don't have to pay utilities in this building.

As for rainfall, you can see how impressive the radar looked for a period of time earlier tonight …

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard base mode reflectivity looped 11:08 p.m. - 11:32 p.m. EDT 
August 19, 2019

… Until it all crapped out on the doorstep of D.C. in a sort of cartoonish way …

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard base mode reflectivity looped 11:08 p.m. - 11:32 p.m. EDT 
August 19, 2019

GONG! Wha-wha-whaaaaahhh…


Jaye P. Morgan didn't even get to score it.

Yes, one is composite mode and the other base reflectivity, but in this case, the latter showed the resulting actual surface conditions -- i.e., nothing -- rather than any leftover nonsense up in the clouds. Also, I really wish the NWS would improve the graphical presentation of these radar images. They suck. Commercial outfits repackage this output all the time.

As one of my periodic update on regional precipitation tallies so far this summer and year:

Year-to-date (ytd), KDCA is at 30.01 inches on precipitation -- which is 4.68 inches above the normal of 25.33 inches, while its climatological summer season-to-date (since June 1st) is 11.98 inches or 2.61 inches above normal.

However, it is well below last year's ytd total of 37.28 inches in what would become a record wet year for Washington, D.C. (66.28 inches).

KBWI's ytd precipitation total is 25.74 inches or 0.89 inches below the normal ytd of 26.63 inches, while its season-to-date totals is 7.84 inches or 1.76 inches below the 9.60 inch normal.

Of note, last year at this point, KBWI was at 43.36 inches precipitation -- in what would be a runaway record wet year for Baltimore, Md. (71.82 inches).

KIAD's ytd precipitation total is 27.88 inches on precipitation -- which is 1.16 inches above the normal of 26.72 inches -- and the season-to-date is 8.00 inches or 1.90 inches below the season-to-date normal of 9.90 inches.

Last year at this point, KIAD was at ytd total of 37.84 inches in what would be a record wet year for Dulles Airport (66.74 inches).

In other words, precisely because KDCA "underperforms" so much on its rainfall -- including last summer -- that it is actually above normal this year.

OK, that's all for now.

Oh, yes, before I sign off, I'd also like to call attention to this CWG entry:

The U.S. is already transforming Greenland, and it's imperiling Americans here at home.

While I'd like to repost the entire piece, I'll simply post here the opening paragraph:

America under President Trump might not own Greenland (yet), but decisions made by his administration will help determine the ice-covered island’s long-term fate and ours. U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as emissions from other countries, have tipped the balance to make Greenland a major contributor to global sea-level rise.

The part about the disproportionate sea level rise in Miami versus Boston as a result of the melting of the Greenlandic icecap is very interesting.

A cold and snowy/misty twilight in Ilulissat, Greenland

Yes, Greenland is still not for sale. This includes, by the, its 56,000+ citizens.

*******

Evening summer, the National Mall, Washington, D.C., 7:26 p.m. August 16, 2019

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For tomorrow, I'm not planning on going to the gym after work. I might stop at Off the Record for a drink after work. Wednesday night is a planned gym night. And then on Thursday, I'm heading down to Dumpwater, er Flagler Beach, Florida to see my dad for a week.

Signing off for now.

--Regulus

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Posting Some Late Night Notes at 2:22 A.M. -OR- Sunday Wee Hours Entry at Triple Two, Too


Today (Saturday) was an interesting day in that I went to Old Town Alexandria on the Metro (and shuttle, given the summer-long shutdown south of National Airport), had a nice lunch at the bar at The Wharf, and walked ALL the way back to D.C. on a hot, humid early evening (mostly up the Mount Vernon bike trail).


Adding it all up, I walked almost 10 miles today, which isn't too bad, although I was thoroughly sweaty -- followed by air-conditioner chilled and clammy … And, yes, a bit chaffed (chaffy?) in the nether regions between the Equator and Tropic of Capricorn. Thereafter, I met Fred and Aydin at Exiles, where, we had a nice time. (I got three of the four images in this entry from Aydin.)


Anyway, I'm home now in my dim, lamp-lit, wee efficiency with the window air conditioner purring and box fan whirling away.


That's all I'm going to write for now. I'll try to post an entry on Sunday night. Oh, yes, I'm off to visit my dad this upcoming week (Thursday) for a week -- to Dumpwater, er, Flagler Beach, Florida … More on that to follow in a subsequent entry, but not now. For now, I'm off to sleep and that multi-reality dream-world I visit nearly nightly.

--Regulus

Friday, August 16, 2019

Thursday Night Entry Delayed, Not Denied, To Friday Sight and, Yes, Mad Emperor Trump, We Have No (Melting) Greenland For Sale

Birdbath in the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, Washington, D.C., 6:31 p.m. August 9, 2019

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Sigh. Thursday night.

I'm home now watching the MeTV lineup after a good, multi-part gym workout.

The Carol Burnett Show episode featured as guest stars Tim Conway -- this was before he joined the show as a regular -- and "Mama" Cass Elliot.

I didn't realize that Cass Elliot was on The Carol Burnett Show on so many occasions -- and almost always in some character that exaggerated and made light of her weight.

And, no, she didn't choke to death on a ham sandwich. She died of a heart attack. Amazingly talented but troubled, but she didn't gorge / choke herself to death.

The Perry Mason episode was "The Case of the Wrathful Wraith" with Marian McCargo Bell as "Mrs. Selff." This episode -- which I did not see during MeTV's previous run-through of the Perry Mason series that ended nearly exactly one year ago (judging by this entry) -- is a particularly convoluted one that has more in common with a murder-thriller, sort of like that Elizabeth Taylor movie Night Watch.

As for this entry, I would like to write another environmental-themed entry concerning this summer's extraordinary warmth and resulting melt season in Greenland and across the Arctic.

Arctic sea ice concentration (percentage) as of Aug 14, 2019 versus the 1981 - 2010 median; source: NSIDC

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However, it's such a big topic, one requiring so much detail -- practically requiring me to repost-in-full various Washington Post Capital Weather Gang entries and information from the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) showing the relentless decrease in Arctic sea ice extent this season paralleling the previous record low year of 2012.

Plot of Arctic sea ice extent (in millions of square km) including 1981-2010 median (solid gray line) versus record lows of 2012 and 2019 (through Aug 14); shaded areas show interquartile range (gray) and interdecile range (light gray).

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The fountain in Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, Washington, D.C., 6:32 p.m. August 9, 2019

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Then there is this Washington Post article and its related one -- one that was featured front page of the print edition the other day -- on climate change in the United States to include places that have already exceeded the 2C warming threshold since 1895.

This is the main image:

Temperature change for the Lower 48 U.S. between 1895 and 2018 in degrees Celsius

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It's all too much to write right now given the late hour and my desire to go to bed now.

I will say that the Washington Post has been doing an excellent job on environmental and climate change stories of late -- putting itself up there with the New York Times in terms of the best daily periodicals.

Pretty yellow flowers in Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, Washington, D.C., 6:33 p.m. August 9, 2019

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Like everything in the degenerate Age of Trump, certain institutions and organizations -- not to mention many individuals -- have rallied in notable and noble ways.


As an update before I even post this entry, I'll just touch upon Trump's idea of "buying" Greenland from Denmark -- something he couldn't do even if the Earth-raping, rapacious, racist/fascist oligarchs around him tried their grotesque hardest.

Tweet from the Greenlandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, August 16, 2019

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This story, however, received LOTS of play today both domestically and internationally -- including, needless to say, in Greenland and Denmark.

Some stories …

New York Times: 'Greenland Is Not for Sale': Trump's Talk of a Purchase Draws Derision

Washington Post:
'Not for sale:' How Greenland and Denmark are reacting to Trump's apparent interest

Vox: Trump's plan to buy Greenland, explained

Phew.

My plush baby hippos, Flippo and Harvey, the plushapotamostestest hippos

*******

OK, that's all for now. I need to sign off. It's Friday night -- and I am home after having gone to two places earlier tonight. I'm just watching my usual late night TV. I may go back out to a nearby bar for a quick drink. Or not. I will try to update this blog at least once and maybe twice this weekend.

--Regulus