Thursday, January 30, 2020

Predictability^2: Commentary on the Senate GOP Trump Impeachment Trial Farce and the Impending Dem Presidential Primary Disaster -- Interspersed With Some Lovely Bhutan Images

Temple in Tingtibi, Zhemgang District, Bhutan

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This entry contains my commentary on our Trump era deeply broken political situation in this country, in particular, as it relates to two matters:

First, on the pathetically predictable Senate GOP farce of an impeachment trial of the deeply crazy, cartoonishly mobbed-up corrupt man who presently occupies the Presidency of the United States and to whom the Republican Party is cultically enthralled.


Secondly, on the impending Democratic presidential primary season and the predictable disaster it is quickly shaping up to be that will ensure a Trump victory.

I'm not even going to try to post topically-related images. Instead, I'm breaking up the text with some photos from this travel blog website: Lost With a Purpose, specifically, the images on this page: 50 Stunning Photos of Bhutan.


The pictures are posted in no particular order, and I'm not captioning them, so please see that webpage for additional information in the form of a narrative of a trek through Bhutan. Also, I've cropped some of the pics to improve the horizontal and vertical ratio.


The Senate Trump impeachment trial should reach its farcical end tomorrow (Friday) once that august body votes down any witnesses on a party-line vote (plus one or two Republican Senators that Mitch McConnell "allows" to go the other way such as Romney and Murkowski) and quickly dispatches with the two articles of impeachment on the same party-line votes -- minus one or two Senators who've been given the tacit OK by McConnell.


Oh-so-predictably, the trial itself has proceeded like the foul Mitch McConnell-orchestrated farce everyone knew it would be right down to the pretend drama over whether or not any Republican Senator would cross the Trump crazed cultists that comprise the GOP base and force the issue of witnesses including, most spectacularly, John Bolton himself.


The Democratic House Managers led by Adam Schiff have done as good a job as they could given the massive constraints against them to include a syphilitically insane, dictator-wannabe President in the grotesquely vulgar form of Donald J. Trump …


… an ethno-fascist Republican Party in the throes of the Trump cult as the means to ward off what it views as a demographic death spiral and no plans to change except get more atavistic, more crazed, more epistemically closed, more brutal, and more in league with Satan himself …


… and a thoroughly broken political system in which the enervating Neo-Confederate nihilism of Mitch McConnell trumps everything (pun intended). What a truly soulless, worthless, Zen-like amoral piece of shit.


The weirdest aspect of the Senate "trial" part has been the comical behavior of attention whore and professional celebrity defense attorney (i.e., non-Constitutional legal scholar) Alan Dershowitz. Yes, even weirder than notorious professional Clinton underwear sniffer Ken Starr on the side of Trump and against impeachment.


Dershowitz has eagerly thrown himself into the Trump defense team for the sake of more endless media attention-whoring -- in particular, his unintentionally-revealing view of the Presidency as something that is totally above the law, in effect, IS the law, and view that "abuse of power" cannot, ipso facto, exist, because a president always believes he is acting in the national interest.


Dershowitz has been on literally every network with a case of explosive diarrhea of the mouth -- and claiming victimhood when people point out the reductio ad absurdum of his equal parts silly, equal parts dangerous position. To that point, Dershowitz really is an underwhelming, self-aggrandizing piece of shit. I think even he knows it at some level, hence the inability to shut up.


As for the rest of the Senate GOP confederacy of human garbage -- as embodied in pathetic pilot fish amorality of Lindsey Graham (R - Gay) -- it is now of the view that Trump's Biden-dirt-seeking Ukraine extortion racket and the very act of soliciting foreign interference in domestic U.S. elections is a good thing.


In a way, I guess, I agree with this Jonathan Chait take on the matter: The Republican Cover-up Will Backfire. The House Can Keep Investigating Trump.

The key point Chait makes is that House Dems seem to be of the opinion that witnesses would somehow change the hyper-partisan-warped nature of whole mess when it would do no such thing at all -- but allowing the Repubs to shutdown the whole proceeding without calling any witnesses (a deeply unpopular position) would taint the trial in such a way that it would give Dems political cover to continue investigating Trump's sprawling mob operation.

So, that's where we are.


Turning to the second predictable matter at hand that speaks to our broken political system, namely, the impending Iowa caucuses that will kick off the Democratic presidential primary season that already looks like it will be a Trump dream-come-true disaster.


The Democratic primary already looks like it will be the worst-case scenario with the Democratic Party Millennial-activist base in the throes of their own cult, namely, the Bernie-or-Bust cult, Round 2 … to the point of hating and working against all the other candidates including the would-be-most-electable one, former VP Joseph Biden, who for his part, is in the process of being Hillary-fied not just by the Trump GOP, but by these same young activists.


I am very much in accord with this David Frum view on Bernie Sanders: Bernie Can't Win.

True, there are other, very different interpretations. I don't know. At this point, I'm sorta rooting for Michael Bloomberg. He's Biden without the doddery and baggage. More to the point, he is a genuine patrician billionaire (not a wildly unstable, fake, vulgar, vicious, ignorant one like Trump) and looks the part of a U.S. president -- and is reasonably moderately progressive rather than "woke" crazy.


More than likely, we are cruising to a second Trump term for at least the following reasons:

(1) The boom-bust, structurally deflationary economy remains strong at the present time;


(2) There are still a lot of angry, fearful, white racist Baby Boomers in electorally strategic parts of the country --in their unholy alliance with the fucking Confederacy and the thinly populated Flyover Middle; and


(3) Vladimir Putin's Russian government "ratfucking" (to quote Charles Pierce) via social media information warfare and outright local vote hacking is pretty much an unchecked unknown.


My guess is that Trump will lose the popular vote by nearly twice what he did in 2016, but he'll thread some theoretically impossible Electoral College needle -- and by 2025, after he's hijacked the presidency for a third term with total Republican acquiescence, the entire federal judiciary will resemble the shit that comes out of Mitch McConnell's ass after he eats a big bowl of chili.

The iconic Paro Taktsang, but known to the rest of the world more suggestively as the Tiger's Nest Temple, Bhutan

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OK, that's really all I wanted to say.

--Regulus

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

After 15 Foul Years, the First Several Days Later

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse shines its beacon beneath a boundless, starry night sky

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So, I wrote most of this entry on Monday night but I didn't post it until Tuesday night. I was going to go to the gym tonight, but I had to stay late at work to finish something.

I walked home from Farragut West Metro, stopping briefly at that weird Russian place, Mari Vanna (yes, that's its name) and Lucky Bar. Now I'm home and watching my late night TV shows on MeTV and Antenna TV while posting this.

OK, my entry from last night follows (finally completed) …

Florida Ave near R St NW, Washington, D.C., 4:09 p.m. January 26, 2020

The pictures in this entry are from Sunday -- mostly taken while I was walking over to Fred & Doug's for our Sunday night little dinner soiree, although I stopped at my old apartment first to do some cleaning.

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Late night entry in my new apartment -- the first during the regular workweek following my weekend move.

This is just a short posting -- nothing political, no other news … including the big story of Kobe Bryant's death in a helicopter crash with one of his daughters and seven other people or that Chinese coronavirus story … and nothing in-depth weather-wise.

I'm home after going to the gym earlier tonight and watching my old TV shows (on MeTV, Antenna TV, and/or Cozi TV) as I compose this entry (and, obviously, I have internet, too, back with RCN).

View of the intersection of S and 19th Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 4:18 p.m. January 26, 2020

The ornate-looking corner house is 1836 S Street NW.

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I just want to note that I'm so much -- indeed, vastly -- happier here.

But I can't believe I spent 15 years in that other damn building. The whole period there started in a deeply traumatic time, segued into that Japanese turkey farm period, deteriorated into the 1099 hell, and then emerged into my present federal contractor period … but taking years to climb up into something that feels good and solid.

In the meantime, I stayed in that goddamn ugly and unpleasant building through three units -- and all the garbage that ensued in that disgusting, chaotic, drug-infested, homeless-packed, crime-ridden, violence-prone U Street corridor. Strange how one can get trapped in circumstances, esp. when it involves a good rent deal in a city such as this one.

As for my previous apartment, the legal / quasi-legal issues seem to be shaping up favorably -- courtesy my attorney and a seemingly non-vindictive previous property management company. I don't think the latter is going to try to get me to pay any February rent -- which I would fight.

No, I don't have a lot of stuff in my new apartment because I didn't have a lot of stuff in my old one. The carpet and a/c came with the place.

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That's because I'm not going to be the subject of what was effectively going to be a mandatory "quit" in a cure-or-quit letter (which, yes, I understand why), hightail it out well inside the 30-day period, vacate the apartment in a sound and clean condition, and then pay them rent for all or even part of that February.

Second view of S and 19th Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 4:18 p.m. January 26, 2020

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I haven't quite turned in the keys yet, but I'll do that once the agreement is signed by all.

All that aside, I'm moved now -- and onto yet another (my third) New England state-named thoroughfare here in D.C. -- and in a much better place.

Things are good … I think … To be clear, I'm always reluctant to put that in writing because even as a fallen Catholic, I know full well that God pays attention to that kind of sentiment and doesn't like it …

Third and final view of S and 19th Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 4:18 p.m. January 26, 2020

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The only downside is that I am basically as heavy as I've ever been -- a semi-dwarf short, pudgy man -- and I feel put out and annoyed by it because it occurred in the context of 7-1/2 years of going to the gym regularly. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know … What's more, in the end, you can only fight against metabolism, genetics, body morphology, time, age, and destiny so much.

Intersection of S and 18th Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 4:20 p.m. January 26, 2020

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I'm now 50 years old, and, well, that's life and the ship of youth as sailed. I'm not going to kill myself just to look pathetically bony (because that's what would happen rather than looking all trim and athletic).

Actually, speaking of the gym, as alluded to already, I went there tonight -- straight from work, taking the Metro to U Street / Cardozo. I then went grocery shopping at the Yes! market that I've been going to for several years -- only to walk all the way back here with gym bag and grocery bag.

1800 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 4:26 p.m. January 26, 2020

That's that tree -- either a swamp white oak or a swamp chestnut oak -- that I've talked about in previous entries, most noteworthy, here and here.

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I'm going to try to go again tomorrow night, but this time do weightlifting rather than a jog. Ideally, I would continue to go twice a week.

So, January is coming to an end -- and it is shaping up to be about +6.7F above normal and with virtually no snow. (KDCA's seasonal total is still a silly 0.6 inches with no snow in the offing.)

Precipitation (rain)-wise, though, we're about average, which is good for going into the spring.

I'll post the January numbers when they're finalized (i.e., at the start of February).

Mid-Atlantic region snowfall total for winter 2019 - 2020 through Jan 28th; source: Ian Livingston / CWG entry.

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The Darlington House ground-level bar, Washington, D.C., 10:19 p.m. January 26, 2020

There's a fancy restaurant upstairs. The bar part is one of two different places I went this weekend, Magnolia Bar & Kitchen being the other (the bar part).

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OK, signing off for now.

-- Regulus

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Jukebox Saturday Night for January 25th, 2020: The Don't Say No, Waiting Game, and You Made Me Love You Edition -OR- Moved Out ... And In

Yes, this Jukebox Saturday Night edition (my first in seven weeks see here) has a thematic topic involving the fact that in the past two weeks, I found and have just moved into an excellent new place to live -- in a still walkable convenient but better neighborhood here in Washington, D.C., at a reasonable rent (to include utilities). Hopefully, the song titles are self-explanatory to the underlying theme of this blog entry …

First up, a relaxing, gentle smooth jazz piece …


"Please Don't Say No" by Nicholas Cole ft. Tim Bowman from Cole's release Endless Possibilities (2012)

This song was playing on one of those Music Choice channels when I stopped for an iced coffee at Soho coffee shop on P Street to look at available apartments and fill in an application …

Of note, Nicholas Cole is very young -- he was only 18 when his Endless Possibilities album was released in 2012.

That's impressive to create a whole album of songs of this quality genre at such a young age.

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Next up, a very nice song by a wonderful duo …


"Waiting Game" by Swing Out Sister from the group's album Kaleidoscope World (1989)

I featured Swing Out Sister back in this Oct 2017 JbSN edition, in particular, another song from the album Kaleidoscope World. Prior to that, I featured them in this Aug 2016 JbSN edition. I love both those songs, too.

It was during Kaleidoscope World's making that the Swing Out Sister then-trio of Corinne Drewery (vocals), Andy Connell (key-board), and Martin Jackson (drums) became the duo they still remain when Jackson departed.

This was shortly after their breakout hit "Break Out."  

As for Waiting Game, what a wonderful song and video -- the song so upbeat and the video featuring scenes of Drewery and Connell happily running around Paris 1989, past its landmarks so famous, they need not even be named.

There is one scene of the Eiffel Tower with lighting display reading "100 ans" -- so this was filmed in 1989, assuming it refers to the completion anniversary.

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Finally, I'd like to feature a famous song … It is an unusual version of it, which I'll unpack after the video …


"You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)" by, impromptu, Terry "Maude" McGann on The Carol Burnett Show (circa 1977)

So, what do we have here? Again, it's a fair amount to unpack.


Before I begin, let me say it is possible that the two ladies were in cahoots on the matter. Regardless, I don't think Carol Burnett herself planned this.

It begins with one of the memorable audience Q&A sessions that marked the opening of The Carol Burnett Show -- I can't pinpoint the episode right now but circa 1977 -- when the lady pictured directly above (who might be named Gladys) apparently randomly asks Carol if ANOTHER lady in the audience (pictured at left) is Maude, or rather, the legendary actress, Bea Arthur.

Bea Arthur, of course, played the titular character on the 1970s TV show Maude -- 10+ years before her equally famous period on The Golden Girls.


There follows a bit of back and forth in which -- all of a sudden -- the "Maude look-a-like" is up on stage doing a duet with Carol of the song "You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)." The lady -- Terry McCann -- performs it very well ("In the Key of G!") with a good and strong singing voice combined with an appropriate comical touch for the song and situation -- and enhanced by Burnett's adroit ability to play along and improvise. In all, an excellent rendition.

That's the song featured above.

As for Ms. McCann, she apparently lived to the ripe old age of 100 -- passing away in June 2016, according to this web posting on the "Lucy Lounge" site by someone identified as Little Ricky II (link embedded): "Maude" #2 Has Passed Away at Age 100.

That posting includes both a reposting of McCann's obituary but also to link to a March 2011 blog entry by a blogger named Ben Verbeck who includes an autographed humorous picture of Terry McGann to Glady (see left). It's confusing, though, because Little Ricky II seems to be under the impression that Verbeck is by one of McCann's (dozen) grandchildren.

Further confusing matters, Verbeck's posting is unclear on who exactly is Gladys. However, based on what he replied in the comment section, he is the grandson of the lady who asked that memorable question, i.e., of Gladys. The issue seems to be that in the initial Verbeck posting, he was unaware of The Carol Burnett Show angle to it -- so he might not have even known that Gladys, his grandmother, was once in the audience.


"You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)" is a popular song from the year 1913 written by James V. Monaco with the lyrics being written by Joseph McCarthy.

It was introduced by Al Jolson in the Broadway revue The Honeymoon Express (1913) and used in the 1973 revival of the musical Irene.

There have been numerous renditions of it by famous artists since at least 1937.

OK, with that, I'm signing off -- except to say, I'm all moved into my new place, but I've not fully resolved the issues, legal or quasi-legal, with my old place. As for my next entry, that will be either on Monday or Tuesday night.

--Regulus

Friday, January 24, 2020

Finally ... After 15 Years in the Void of a Timeless, Meaningless Present, While Staring Into the Sun-Bedazzled but Vacant Reflection of a Dead Past ... A Meaningful Move for My D.C. Near Future

Dazzling low-angled sunlight in a bright, cold, clear winter sky appears above the Dupont Circle central fountain, Washington, D.C., 2:55 p.m. January 20, 2020

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The pictures in this entry are primarily from my walkabout down New Hampshire Ave into Foggy Bottom and into Georgetown on Monday, although the first two (below) were taken Sunday evening. Except for the lead one, they're posted chronologically.

Dusk sidewalk view, 2000 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 5:52 p.m. January 19, 2020

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Monday was a cold but brilliantly sunny winter's day (temp around 34F). I had the day off for the Martin Luther King federal holiday. It was also Jan 20th -- which, HOPEFULLY, marked the one-year mark until Trump leaves office (but I won't be shocked if that doesn't happen).

Another dusk sidewalk view, 2000 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 5:52 p.m. January 19, 2020

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So, tomorrow (or rather, later today) I get the keys to my new apartment and can move out of this damn building and neighborhood after 15 frickin' years, most of the totally miserable … True, I've been in three separate apartments in this building, but it has been the same building and neighborhood.

Brilliant winter sunlight, 1700 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 2:41 p.m. January 20, 2020

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It goes without saying that 15 years in one place is way too fucking long, especially in an urban, single, troubled, middle-aged life and world such as mine. Not surprisingly, I've grown to hate Shaw and especially the disgusting U Street Corridor.

To be clear, I'm not moving that far distance-wise -- easily walkable -- but it is a much better neighborhood closer to Dupont Circle and near Georgetown.

Dupont Circle on a cold, brilliantly sunny, winter's day, Washington, D.C., 2:41 p.m. January 20, 2020

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I've already changed most of my mailing and billing addresses, although the USPS one screwed up because it sees, ironically enough, a discrepancy in a billing address for that $1.05 charge to forward mail and get on another e-mailing list.

The George Washington equestrian statue at Washington Circle lost in dazzling late afternoon winter sunlight, Washington, D.C., 3:12 p.m. January 20, 2020

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Tomorrow, Gary is supposed to help me move the plastic bins (I've eight in all, six of which I got from Fred and Aydin) tp include all clothes, folders of various papers, important and otherwise, kitchen stuff (I don't have much), and sundry bathroom notions and potions.

The incongruously green and sword-dominated, all-around unpleasant-looking flag of Saudi Arabia atop its embassy, Washington, D.C., 3:21 p.m. January 20, 2020

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On Saturday, I move my bulk items, specifically, pathetic two tables and four chairs, two lamps, small flat-screen television, and box fan that count as my sad furnishings. (The fan is the very important.) (As for the a/c, it belongs to this building -- and I have one in the new place.)

An infestation of Canada geese by the winter sun-bedazzled Potomac River by the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., 3:27 p.m. January 20, 2020

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I'll split the bedding stuff -- which, remember, is all on the floor. About that, I went to the Columbia Heights Target earlier tonight and bought a new memory foam bedding cushion and quilt, both of which I'll open tomorrow. It was a pain in the ass toting those items plus a new frying pan and lamp and a couple other items down 16th Street.

The winter seasonal ice skating rink at Washington Harbour in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 3:34 p.m. January 20, 2020

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I've actually thrown out quite a bit of stuff including old photos, way too many cards, some newspaper clippings (especially all those turn-of-the-millennium ones since that was hardly a good period for me and I remember nothing of it fondly), and the like. This included, by the by, that stupid-ass 2006 "hot gay bartenders" calendar -- I quite enjoyed ripping up that.

Crap paper good only for recycling rubbish bin 

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Indeed, I move out of this building with significantly less stuff than when I moved in -- precisely because I tossed out over 99 percent of what was once a self-parodying enormous written "journal" that ran for 30+ folders and contained a few tens of thousands of pages. (In my dreams these days, I'm forever trying to organize those papers -- except the numbering is all screwed up or duplicates.)

Tony & Joe's, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 4:19 p.m. January 20, 2020

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Today, only one folder remains containing maybe 150 pages -- covering the period 1992 - 1996 -- along with other personal papers.

This blog serves, I suppose, the function of that journal. I've kept everything involving my paternal grandmother.

The winter seasonal ice skating rink at Washington Harbour in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 4:20 p.m. January 20, 2020

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I should note that in the past six to eight years, my mother has inundated me with her own tossing out of the past -- mailing it to me -- to include high school and grammar school pictures,  a few wedding pictures (unframed), birth and death certificates, really old pictures from her childhood and that of my uncle (her younger brother), and sundry material grandparents matters (I never knew my maternal grandfather) in that dark vortex of Old World Polish misery.

Yet another view of the winter seasonal ice skating rink at Washington Harbour in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 4:20 p.m. January 20, 2020

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I even have copies of my maternal grandfather's stint in an Army mental hospital on Long Island right after World War II (he was born in 1909 but served in WWII including in European and North Africa campaigns as a mess cook).

Susheria, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 4:42 p.m. January 20, 2020

This restaurant is a sort of Japanese - Peruvian fusion place. I tried to explain the whole Thor Heyerdahl Kon-Tiki expedition thing to the young manager, but I don't know if he understood -- in part because I had trouble explaining it on the fly.

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Speaking of things paternal, this Thursday (Jan 23rd) was my dad's 79th birthday. I'm going to visit him down there in Florida in April or May. For his 80th birthday, I think we're going to try to take a vacation somewhere tropical outside the United States. I'm considering Colombia's Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia, and Santa Catalina -- at least one of those islands in the western Caribbean.

Susheria, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 4:57 p.m. January 20, 2020

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Back to the present, right now, I'm doing six loads of laundry to include all the bedding I will bring over. And I'm in my soon-to-be-vacated (quitted rather than impossibly "cured") place watching late night old TV -- in particular, the MeTV line up (The Carol Burnett Show, Perry Mason, and The Twilight Zone). Antenna TV is on a Barney Miller-marathon, so no wee-hours Becker, Dear John, or Wings.

Ally backside of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Georgetown at dusk, Washington, D.C., 5:18 p.m. January 20, 2020

The 160-foot smokestack on this building is part of what was once an incinerator long ago.

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For tomorrow (Friday), my plan is to pick up the keys early afternoon. I may try to go to the gym in between that and when I meet Gary, but I'm not sure. My gym schedule the past month has been quite poor -- but I intend to maintain going there (YMCA Anthony Bowen) at least twice a week despite the fact it will no longer be in my neighborhood. I'll just go there directly after work on weekday nights or a weekend day.

Filomena restaurant front entrance, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 5:24 p.m. January 20, 2020

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OK, that's all for now. My internet should be set up on Sunday in my new place, but I intend to post my JbSN edition (which I had intended to post last Saturday night) earlier on Saturday before I remove the computer from this apartment.

The stairs at Rí Rá pub, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 5:52 p.m. January 20, 2020

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Updated before posting …

New apartment near Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., 2:12 p.m. January 24, 2020

Over there on the floor is my very clown doll and terrier dog doll, as well as my Sunshine Buddies from my late friend Bryan. The two dolls actually belonged to my namesake uncle Richard who died back in 1963, so they are at least 60 years old.

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It's 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon and I'm very happy to write that I was able to get the keys to my new apartment with no issues.

However, there are still a few unresolved matters, legal and quasi-legal, with my existing landlord, so I still need my attorney for the time being. My plan is to be entirely out of here by tomorrow evening.

I've also spent a lot of time changing my addresses everyone -- to at least a dozen different organizations / entities from credit card companies to bank to student loans to DC Board of Elections, among others.

What's more, as I mentioned above, the U.S. Post Office one FAILED to work because its system is either having a problem with my previous versus new address as listed on both cards I attempted to use OR because it doesn't like the order of apartment number versus street location in the new address.

Considering the whole point of this $1.05 charge is to get a change of address going for mail forwarding purposes, this seems rather odd.

OK, I need to get this entry posted and commence with packing the items I want to move today.

New apartment near Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., 2:12 p.m. January 24, 2020

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OK, that's all for now.

--Regulus