Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An Unexpected Note to Arcturus*

* Yes, that's a pun on my Arcturus blog old title/URL.

I hadn't intended to post an entry, but a comment that I got on my Arcturus blog in my previous entry an entry.

It is posted
here, with the comment in question.

NO! It's not about Mr. Sirius Deneb. That topic is slowly draining away my life force and I need to leave it.

Yay! I win!

I just wanted to note here that new entry and I direct my three readers there. My next Regulus blog entry update, barring anything noteworthy, will probably be this weekend.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

An April Memorial Day

A corridor at the Riderwood retirement community connecting two buildings, Silver Spring, Md., April 26, 2008.


Today I went to the memorial service (not funeral) for my friend Paul's mom. She passed away earlier this month on April 10 at the age of 78. The memorial service was held at the chapel at the Riderwood retirement community in Silver Spring / Calverton, Md., where she lived. The chapel is ecumenical, but it was a Catholic service held for her.

My friend J/X (not his real name, of course) and I went to the service and the reception afterward. I met him at the College Park Metro station and we drove there as J/X lives in University Park.

Paul's three brothers and their families were all there, as were other relatives and friends, including some rather old folks. Paul and his family lived in D.C.'s Brookland neighborhood and later in University Park.

Left: a jigsaw puzzle in one of the sprawling community rooms in one of the buildings.

At the service there was this very old lady in a wheelchair -- a family friend from long ago -- who kept talking to her friend, who kept trying to shush her. After Communion, the priest went over to those in wheelchairs and walkers who were unable to get up to give them Communion. A few minutes later, while one of Paul's brothers was giving a eulogy, she said loudly to her friend: "Some man came over and gave me a host and I took it!"

Obviously, there were lots of senior citizens there since it is a retirement community. It reminded me of nursing homes and retirement homes that my paternal grandparents lived in in New Jersey before they both died.

Yours truly, Regulus, and a maple tree on the grounds of the retirement community.

I was going to go to the annual Maryland Day event held today at the UMCP campus, but this was much more important. J/X brought me a Claritin, which saved me from either a day of hellish agony thanks to the stratospheric levels of tree pollen in the air, OR being whacked out in a Benadryl torpor. I need to get some Claritin for myself.

The pollen is characteristically sky-high this time of year, and the frickin' rain promised failed to materialize OF COURSE because that's how the D.C. area weather is.

Here is the 2309 UTC (7:09PM EDT) radar from the Sterling, Va. (LWX) NWS office. Everything crapped out, as ever, and that line way west of the D.C. area doesn't look promising.

The weather today was way too warm -- around 84F for a high or about +14F above normal -- as prelude to a hellishly hot and humid (and probably drought-plagued) summer.

I was wearing a shirt and tie along with my favorite but VERY threadbare wool black jacket, a Façonnable I purchased at Nordstrom's for an obscene amount of money in 2001 (the most I've ever spent on an article of clothing). It has two black patches on the back to cover two holes that developed over time.

This old guy came up to me after the service who had been sitting behind me and pointed out the patches. Then he said, "I thought you were doing Oliver Twist with clothes like that."

Look, just because you knew Charles Dickens personally, don't get bitchy with me. When I need fashion tips about how to wear my pants up to my neck, I'll go to you.

"Nice to meet you and I want to thank you for kindly pointing that out. I happen to like this jacket, though," is all I said to him.

There was a picture slide of photos of Paul's mom and family over the years shown at the reception on a wall projector. I never had the chance to meet her.

The reception was pleasant and I had a nice and sociable time. I don't actually interact with families that much, living in the socially and relationally warped D.C. gayborhood and going to a college campus weekly. I will refrain from any mention of one of Paul's nephews, a chef and surfer who lives on the Jersey shore. Trust me, it would be an all - good mention. As it is, Paul, J/X, myself, and two other of Paul's friends all sat at the same table. We were the gay table, I guess.


Thereafter, J/X drove me back to the College Park Metro station, but not before we took a detour through the lovely residential enclaves of University Park and College Heights Estates. J/X knows "UP" and "CHE" in intimate historical and gossip detail. The following pictures were taken on the drive.

The 7000 block of Chansory Lane, College Heights Estates, Md., April 26, 2008. The owner of a local company that performs an essential service apparently lives here.


The house at the corner of Calverton Drive and Chansory Lane, College Heights Estates, Md., April 26, 2008.

The owner of a well-known local business lives here. Of note, while Calverton Dr. dead ends, the "secret" footpath in the woods that connects the campus and the otherwise only indirectly accessible CHE/UP runs between the Mormon center (the College Park Institute of Religion of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS) and the dead end of Calverton Dr.


The intersection of Van Buren St. and Queens Chapel Rd., University Park, Md., April 26, 2008.

The Metrorail Green Line runs directly beneath Queens Chapel Rd., and the street is closed off to through traffic. Originally, it was closed off for construction of the Metro in the late 1980s, but the town of UP managed to keep it closed.


The "plantation house" dating from the early 19th Century, the sprawling grounds of which later became University Park. This place is sometimes called Bloomfield or Deakin's Hall, the latter for the family that once lived there.


The next two pictures have sad and awful 9/11 connection. Though the five people involved all lived in University Park, the four people from the first house and the person in the second house very likely did not know each other, but their destinies intersected at 9:44AM on Sept. 11, 2001 when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.

The 4100 block of Tennyson Rd., University Park, Md., April 26, 2008.

A family of four, including a mother who was a professor at Georgetown University, her husband, and their two young girls, ages 3 and 8, were on their way to a six month stay in Australia for a the mother's fellowship at the Australian National University in Canberra. Source
here. I don't normally give actual street addresses, but the address -- 4111 -- was sort of ironic.


The house in the 4200 block of Sheridan St., University Park, Md.

A lady lived here (with her partner) who worked at the Pentagon. She too was killed when Flight 77 crashed into the building. Source


On a happier note, J/X said that this house on Tuckerman St., Univ. Park, Md., reminds him of the one in Mama's Family, about which I've written on my Arcturus blog.


Lastly, bringing it full circle, here is the house in the 4300 block of Sheridan St., University Park, Md., where Paul's mom lived for 20 years from 1983 - 2003, during part of which time Paul and his brothers also resided there.

And that concludes my photographic tour of College Heights Estates and University Park, EXCEPT to note that in my entry on April 17, 2008, I incorrectly identified the location of the house on Wells Parkway as being in CHE when in fact it is in UP. J/X also told me that a famous sports person lives there.


A Side Detour ...

Here is my first attempt at embedding a YouTube clip in a blog entry. It's Billy Joel's "I Go To Extremes," which I've had in my head since I heard it yesterday.

My version for no one in particular would be slightly altered. For instance, the following stanza:

"Darling I don't know why I go to extremes / Too high or too low there ain't no in-betweens / And if I stand or I fall / It's all or nothing at all / Darling I don't know why I go to extremes!"

would instead become:

"Damn it, I don't know why I buy these jeans / Too tight or too wide there ain't no in-betweens /And if I shop at this mall / It'll have to be at Big and Tall / Damn it, I don't know why I buy these jeans!"

That's not for anyone in particular, so don't think it is. I mean, if anybody has an obsessive body building goal to look like, oh, I dunno, John Cena, that's their business, and God bless 'em for it. I wish I had such dedication.

As it is, I don't dare appear shirtless in public, except rarely at the beach going in the ocean, nor, come to think of it, in private that much.

But the effect at, say, age 50, when the ratchet effect that governs metabolism and weight has really kicked in and Earth's gravity and too much free radical oxygen, not to mention life's age clock are doing their things, well, the net effect might be startling.


Well, that's all for now, except to say that the radar now looks a bit more promising for thunderstorms tonight.

Here is the 0106 UTC (9:06PM EDT) LWX radar.

There seems to be stuff forming just west of the immediate D.C. area, which is the way it typically has to happen, though the "force field" that seems to deflect so much weather from us should soon kick in. There is also more stuff on the radar because it gets more humid at night as the temp. drops but the dew point stays about the same.


I had my Sat. night steak, potatoes, and peas dinner and now I'm watching the PBS - aired Britcoms on WETA and MPT. It's actually not pledge drive time. Gary and Kristof are supposed to come over in about an hour and then the plan is to go to Cobalt.

Tomorrow, I am going to LP's place to help in store some stuff and tidy up a bit. He is paying my broke ass self a bit of money for that. I paid my May rent and it wiped me out.

My office is closed all next week for spring holiday in Japan (!) but I will be working from home or school. I have about six assignments, including attending two hearings on Capitol Hill for two bills and writing up memos.

I need to update my Arcturus blog with that second entry related to my chance near - passing with Mr. Deneb last Tuesday that I have already mentioned.

-- Regulus

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

April Showers, April Flowers

My friend Gerry took this picture of some Kwanzan cherry trees at floral peak the other day near where he works in Crystal City (Arlington), Va.

OK, I just wanted to post a quick update. I won't be able to post a proper entry until this weekend. My final paper for my environmental project course is due 1159PM Friday -- that's "midnight Saturday," although everyone insists on saying "midnight Friday," though that would be actually be the minute after 11:59PM Thursday.

I am going to try to post that final entry on my Arcana From Arcturus blog I intended to post. I already have posted the first of the two part entry. I direct any readers I have there for that entry. Those are the ones about Mr. Deneb (who there is referred to as Mr. Sirius). I saw him yesterday in passing by chance, my first Sighting in 5 months to the day -- Thanksgiving, Nov. 22, 2007 to Earth Day, April 22, 2008. Then there is a certain four year anniversary one month hence (May 22/23) of a certain catastrophe involving him.


Any anniversary dealing with him is an unhappy one.

I was sick as a dog this morning: fevered, fatigued, flush, and felt like I was going to faint. I thought I was going to have to go home from work. I drank too much last night (again), but I also had a shot of Jägermeister at some point -- which is a BIG no no for me. I get very ill. It was my fault for not paying attention.

I'm watching the back-to-back Will & Grace episodes on Lifetime. There was a National Geographic program on cults and then another on the Unabomber earlier tonight. Worshiping any human only leads to disaster, even one who says he is God, or that one foolishly holds up as a god, even when he never asked to be.

Just sayin' ...

I also had a nice phone chat with my mother. Yesterday (Earth Day) was 4 years to the day of what I thought was the final break in my relationship with her, but about two years later we had a reconciliation, and it has been basically fine since, though we don't actually talk that much.

Did I mention I mostly hate anniversaries? At least this one need not be remembered.

Oh, yes, my mom is TOTALLY PRO-HILLARY! This is a total shock to me considering how she (and her husband, my stepfather, who hasn't changed) felt about Bill and Hillary Clinton in the 1990s.

I am very pleased that Hillary won the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, but it is still unlikely she will be the nominee. As for the mediawhore narrative, I figured it would be, "EVIL LESBIAN DEVIL STEALS EVERYTHING, BURNS BRIDGES THAT OBAMA TRIED TO BUILD! BITCH!" Just wait until Obama is the nominee and then the whore-narrative will shift to, "WHO IS THIS CRAZY OBAMA WHO IS RUNNING AGAINST WAR HERO MCCAIN?!"


We had a nice two day rain event that totaled officially 3.84" at Dulles Airport (IAD) -- the most in a two day period since the June 2006 deluge, although there was a 5-day period with more rain in Sept. 2006. Dulles, which had the driest year ever in 2007, had been in a prolonged drought. National Airport (DCA) had 2.07" in the event earlier this week and BWI Airport (BWI) had 1.97" of precip.

I'm so tired ... I need to be to bed by 1230AM. I don't know if I'm going to get that next entry up in time on my Arcturus blog. It might just have to wait a couple more days.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Carbon Free Energy - OR - April Chiaroscuro

Updated, 4/20/2008: I just couldn't let my Arcturus blog sit there as a pathetic empty shell, so I posted an entry there. Obviously, I'm not trying to "hide" here or there.

I'm home on this welcome rainy - stormy day here in Wash. D.C., searching the online UMCP library database of business journals (!) trying -- with little luck and unable to focus -- to do the assignment my boss's boss gave me about determining what are the "big issues" today facing businesses. I hate nebulous assignments such as this, and on a topic I know little about. Maybe she'll fire me if I don't Think Big Thoughts and come up with a Big Idea. Is this why I get paid $12 an hour??


Continued from yesterday ...

The Carbon Cycle in fluxes of Gigatons (1 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent) per year. Note that the fossil fuel component (5.5 GtC/yr) is a bit lower than the 8 Gt/yr figure quoted below. The 5.5 refers to atmospheric emissions and the remainder comes from land use changes, esp. deforestation. In addition, the human-related figures have risen since this image was created by NASA.


So last night, something very bizarre occurred at the informal Maryland Public Policy School "prom" that was held in an overheated back room of the "Regional Food & Drink" (or just "RFD") restaurant on 7th St., right in the Chinatown - Verizon Center heart of Washington that is our miniaturized answer to NYC's Time Square, and a Lego Toyland version of what you would see in Hong Kong or Tokyo.

What happen did not involve me except in a very, very indirect and innocent bystander's way. However, it did involve one of my two professors -- both of whom were there -- and an incident at the front door as one of them tried to get back in, clearly intoxicated. There is an extra wrinkle to this, too, though THANKFULLY this does not involve me.

It's SOOOOOOOOOO nice to not be the guilty party for once in some late night drunken stupidity. OK, it hasn't happened that much with me, but enough, too much in my life, worst of all with Mr. Deneb.

I'd like to write more about it, but I think it better if I do not, at least not now. I am a bit worried because it involved my project course professor, though.

I called my dad as I walked back via downtown and Logan Circle to Dupont Circle and told him about it, as well as Gary.

It was a 65F balmy 1130PM Friday night hour after an obscenely hot April day, temps. reaching 85F at DCA and BWI. I hate April heat.

In fact, I hate heat in general, but so many other people seem to like it. I like cool, variably cloudy, intermittently showery weather this time of year with all the flowers in bloom.

And, yes, ultimately, what we are seeing IS due to global climate change ("global warming").


Speaking of Mr. Deneb, and related to global climate change in a meta - phorical way, that boy has taken to posting pictures of himself on his blog, including those for a local t-shirt company for which he has on occasion modeled.

He is a very beautiful boy, although he knows it and if you could harness his ego as electrical power equivalent, you could, metaphorically speaking, probably easily power the electricity needs of all humans on Earth.**

**See below

While I have long posted pictures of myself on Arcturus blog -- which is now in a draft state dormancy but to be revived at some point in the next few weeks or months -- somehow it doesn't seem to have the same effect. That is, I don't photograph as nearly as well as he does. Because I don't look anywhere near as good as he does. Plus he is in a shape that I never have been in and never will at least not in this life.

Please, I ask certain blog readers to spare me any comments on this particular subject.

Yesterday was two years to the day of his posting on my then-infant blog telling me to fuck off that included his threat to ban me from Cobalt (his bar's sister establishment) if I tried to contact him at all in any way. And so I have not done so in that time.

See previous blog entry for additional background information.

As for his blog, I hope it is a big, huge success. And I hope he doesn't end it in the same way he ended the last one.


**Weird Detour, Part 1: Ego-Generated Electricity and Climate Change Mitigation

There are 439 commercial nuclear power plants (units) in operation on Earth at present (and another 5 currently in long-term shutdown and another 35 under construction not included in these statistics) that have a combined net capacity of approximately 372 Gigawatts (or 372,000 Megawatts or 372 million kilowatts) that have an annual electrical net electrical generation of 2600 billion Kilowatt-hours.

The above picture is of the cooling towers at the Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant in France.

This includes 104 reactors in the United States with approx. 100 Gigawatts (100,000 Megawatts or 100 million kilowatts) of capacity that in 2007 generated 806 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.

This image is of the core of the Advanced Test Reactor (which is not a commercial reactor) at the DOE Idaho National Laboratory, and the cobalt blue glow is from Čerenkov (Cherenkov) radiation
generated in the fission process in the reactor core.

These figures represent only approximately 18 to 20 percent of total electricity generation -- put at 17,350 billion (or 17.35 trillion) kilowatt-hours (globally) and 4000 billion (or 4 trillion) kilowatt-hours (the United States) in recent years (2005).

Source here.

The rest mostly comes from coal-fired power plants.

Since I, metaphorically speaking, estimate Mr. Deneb's ego to have an equivalent electricity generating capacity at 55,000 billion (55 trillion) kilowatt-hours, that's more than triple the current global electricity generation -- and all carbon free, too.

In 2006, humans released approx. 8.4 Gigatons (that's 8.4 billion or 8,400 million metric tons) of CO2 - equivalent, of which approx. 1.6 Gigatons came from the U.S. and about as much from China.

If China generated CO2 at the same per capita rate as America, it would generate about the same as current total global emissions (since its per capita rate in 2004 was 1.05 to America's 5.61). Source here.

There goes Greenland melting into the sea, with a quick 20 foot rise in global sea levels. (Source here.)

Yay. I'm for that.

Since fully 40 percent of these emissions come from fossil fuel-based electricity generation (mostly coal-fired power plants, the dirtiest by far coming from China), if we could harness Mr. Deneb's ego, we could go a long way toward addressing anthropogenic global climate change. That means climate change caused by people.

Yay, he wins.

Of course, much like nuclear reactors have that waste and waste disposal problem, all that ego - generated power would produce its own by-products of hurt and jilted feelings. The good news is this blog is so far undiscovered, and there does not appear to be any serious attempt to find it.

Yay, I win.

Of course, an actual star generates orders and orders and orders and orders of magnitude more energy than what humans do.

The Sun's "capacity" (output) based on its fusion rate is 386 billion billion Megawatts, which would give a yearly power generation (x 8760 hours) in the (ridiculously small) unit of the kilowatt-hour of 3.38 billion billion billion - kilowatt hours (3.38 octillion kilowatt - hours).

A star such as Deneb is on the order of 100,000 times as luminous as our Sun, so its energy output should theoretically be a factor of 100,000 or so higher than the Sun -- that would put it on the order of 386 million billion billion Megawatts, and its yearly power generation of 338 nonillion kilowatt - hours.


One last Mr. Deneb-related item. His boyfriend's family dog just died. I am sorry to hear that. I know what that's like to lose your dog. It's just awful, heart wrenching.

His boyfriend posted on his blog this nearly 11 minute YouTube clip entitled All About My Dog -- Marimo, which I found directly from YouTube here. It is actually part of a larger Japanese film Inu no eiga made in 2005. (This image here is not from the movie.)

It's very hard to watch, a real tear-jerky, what with the painfully adorable puppy, the violin music, and the young girl who loses her dog, as told from her perspective and the dog's perspective. I cried the whole time watching it.

The Japan connection is kind of interesting for me -- no, not because of fact that "Mr. S," my previous name for Mr. Deneb, is also the name of a strange Japanese progressive rock band trio, and nothing to do with Godzilla, but rather for another, totally unrelated but important reason.

I love the hilly town and seaside imagery from wherever it was filmed in Japan.

By the way, "Marimo" is a strange name for a dog because the word is the Japanese version of what in English we call, variously, a Cladophora ball, a lake ball, or a moss ball. These are spherical velvety clumps of green algae that grow in lakes in certain places, including Japan.

Well, I suppose the velvety, soft ball description might befit a small puppy, though not the green part.


Political Cartoons

For the rest of this entry, I will just post some political 'toons taken from recent editions of Bartcop.

Barack and Hillary go fishin', circa 1963.

Just kidding.

I'll be glad once the frickin' Pennsylvania primary is over on Tuesday. Then it will be time for Hillary to drop out (sigh) and Obama to be put on a glide path to the nomination, only for this ignorant country to do EXACTLY what you know it will in Nov., and elect Grand Keebler Elf McCain.

You just know this is what is going to happen.


Ha ha


Just wait until the GOP Death Star goes into overdrive against Obama in the upcoming general election campaign, esp. with those comments he made.


Is this a real picture?

Cue Lee Greenwood: "And I'm proud to be an American / Where at least I know I'm free ...!"


The Bush Twins Legacy -- this about sums it up.

And with that, I will end this entry. I should not have written this entry, wasting about 5 hours in the process, as I actually have both school and job-related work to do this weekend.

I also need to do my laundry and I need to be on time for tonight's surprise birthday party group dinner at Buca di Beppo on Connecticut Ave. to which I've been invited.

It's supposed to be a rainy day tomorrow and into tomorrow night, with this 80 - to 85F shitty April heat ending. Good.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

“Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point.”

An empty table, La Madeleine restaurant, Bethesda, Md., lunchtime, April 16, 2008

The French mathematician, poet, and philosopher Blaise Pascal said in his Pensées: “Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point.”

The Pascal quote translates loosely as, "The heart has reasons whereof reason knows nothing."

Fountain, Bethesda, Md., April 16, 2008

And that, Dear Reader, sums up why I started this new blog while putting my Arcturus blog in a temporary hibernation. That's actually what I did -- all 408 entries have been saved into draft.

I'm not actually trying to hide this new blog -- that's not even necessary because Mr. Deneb (that's his new name here as Deneb is a most remarkable star) and any of his friends who read my other blog are not going to put any real effort into finding this new blog. And if they should find it, at some point in the future, I'll have already made my point.

The pictures included in the rest of this entry are from the approx. 15 mile walk (!) that Gary, Gerry, and I took on Sunday on a circuitous route from College Park, Md. (where we went on the Metro) back into D.C. via College Heights Estates, University Park, Hyattsville, Brentwood, Mount Rainier, and across the D.C. line via Michigan Park and Brookland, around Soldiers' Home and west on Upshur St., NW, to 16th St., NW, where we caught an S4 bus back to the gayborhood.

And just what is that "point"?

Well, let me explain.

Recall that in early December, I changed the URL to my blog so that I would remove the option he had of choosing to NOT read my blog. That's because it's when he stops reading that I get upset. But my effort to hide my blog failed because he and/or one of his friends who reads my blog found it via the profile page, which did not change (I forgot about that).

Speaking of hidden things ... behold the "hidden passage way" between the UMCP campus and College Heights Estates (CHE) that gives you walking access to CHE and University Park. It was like finding the Northwest Passage when I discovered it, after having been told about it.

The problem now is that by my reckoning, he stopped again -- around the first day of spring last month was probably the last time he read it directly, although he has one or two friends who read it who tell him what I write about him -- and I (unwisely) made a fuss about it on my blog.

In basically admitted to knowing that he was for most of the past two years a semi - regular reader of my blog and I can't say I blame him, esp. to see what I was writing about him, which was rarely anything bad, he has probably completely vanished from my blog.

So to recoup what little dignity and control I have left, I have started a new blog. Specifically, "Arcturus" is in a sort of cyber -hibernation after I laboriously took all 408 entries and put them back in "draft" mode. I also took down the links and profile description/image. The blog can be recovered. Nothing is deleted.

A house on Chansory Lane, College Heights Estates, Md., April 13, 2008.

In this way, I am deluding myself, but hopefully in an internally mentally affirmative way, that I am keeping him and his friends from finding the new blog (or at least for a while), and thus -- even if it's all theoretical and ultimately nutty on my part -- taking away his option of choosing to not read it, ending the whole blog reading episode on my terms.

Got it? There's a certain internal logic to it, at least as I see it.

I will probably "re - awaken" Arcturus in a few weeks and may even merge these two blogs. There is a way to do it with a swapping of administrative privileges between two users (who can be the same person).

A weeping cherry tree in full floral bloom in a yard of a house along Wells Parkway, College Heights Estates, Md., April 13, 2008.

The rest of this entry just contains pictures from the walk. Oh, except for one last thing: that dream of a heavy presence and someone knocking on a door or window -- but no one was there -- was, I like to think, the Ghost of My Blog and My Feelings Rejected.



Woodberry St., University Park, Md., April 13, 2008. I have a friend who lives on this street.

*Technically, since the east-west running streets in Univ. Park and Hyattsville are alphabetized 3-syllable, many extending disjointedly out of the District and thus a continuation of the "third alphabet," "Woodberry" is the 3-syllable "W," although the D.C. 3-syllable is "Whittier." The 3-syllable "V" matches up between suburbia and the city, though: Van Buren St.

The floral-named (not syllable-based) "4th alphabet" does not extend out into Maryland at all but remains in D.C. proper (Aspen to Verbena).


A house on the weirdly named street "Claggett Pineway," Univ. Park, Md., April 13, 2008. Note the Obama AND Hillary signs in the yard. Alas, that's probably not going to happen, and I'm increasingly confident that America, which ALWAYS does the stupid thing, will elect Grandpa Keebler Elf McCain, thus accelerating our late stage Imperial decline.


Behold below a blue gazing ball, also known as a yard globe ... though its origins stretch back deep into the Middle Ages ... they are the quintessential American lawn furniture, along with plastic chairs, pink flamingos, and lawn jockey and/or Virgin Mary statuary.

This is in the 6200 block of 44th Ave. in what is technically a small part of Riverdale Park west of Rt. 1 - Baltimore Ave., though more typically it's referred to as the Hyattsville, Md.

Yes, the "44th Ave." refers to the fact it is 44 blocks east of the U.S. Capitol (0,0) origin for the D.C. and suburban Maryland address system (Arlington is on a separate grid). The north-south numbered thoroughfares are "street" in D.C., not "avenue."


This is the house my long ago friend D. used to live in. It is located at the corner of 44th Ave. and Oglethorpe St., in Hyattsville. There are two 3-syllable "O" streets (Oliver and Oglethorpe) -- not sure why. Riverdale Park's little fragment west of Rt. 1 ends at Oliver St.

There is a sweeping view to the south and southeast toward (awful) Prince George's Hospital Center on a hilly rise near Bladensburg and Cheverly (though still technically Hyattsville), Md.

D. used to live here for a time in the early 1990s (before I knew him). The last I heard, D. was living variously in Windhoek, Namibia and Boise, Idaho. D., once one of my best friends, was the guy I drove across country with that Memorial Day weekend 1999 from Seattle back to D.C. It didn't go well.

He is also the one who dumped me off during a fight waaaay southwest of D.C., by like 30 miles and 17 miles from the Vienna Orange Line terminus, in the wilds of Prince William County, just west of the Manassas Battlefield on a cool, lovely day in April 2003.

That effectively ended our friendship, though we've since talked and even had dinner once (at McDonald's on 17th St. in the gayborhood) when he was passing through D.C.

Phil rescued me. As he has many times since.



The 4100 block of Longfellow St. (yes 3-syllable "L"). My friend Gary lives near Longfellow and 16th St., NW (in D.C.), which is 41 + 16 = 57 blocks west of this spot.


More gazing balls / yard globes, this one in the 4000 block of Longfellow St., Hyattsville, Md., April 13, 2008.


Cozy house in Hyattsville, Md., April 13, 2008. It was a cloudy, cool kind of day.


We then reached Upshur Street as it runs through Mount Rainier Md., the small, working class enclave named for the awesome Mount Rainier some 3,000 miles away in Washington state. I've written about this on my other blog. I used to live in Seattle, Wash., and I've been to the base of Mount Rainier (Wash.) three times.

The Mount Rainier - Upshur Neighborhood Mini Park in Mount Rainier, Md., April 13, 2008.

The name "Rainier" has special meaning to me, as does the name Upshur, which is the 2-syllable "U" name, named for the ill-fated Secretary of State Abel Parker Upshur, who died an untimely death. My reason is purely coincidental to this park/street/town combination and involves Mr. Deneb, but I won't say anything more. The M-NCPPC stands for the Maryland - National Capital Park & Planning Commission.


Gerry and Gary on a see-saw in aforementioned Mount Rainier - Upshur Neighborhood Mini Park, April 13, 2008.


Gerry on a swing in the same park.


More sad irony for me ... the street sign at the intersection of Upshur St. and Mt. Rainier Ave.


Eastern Ave., marking the DC - Maryland line, as seen from Barnard Hill Park on the DC side looking toward the Maryland side. (Upshur St. disappears for a time. Randolph St./Bunker Hill Rd. runs on the south side of this park and Varnum St. on the north side.)


The 3800 block of 26th St., NE, as seen from Randolph St., NE, just inside Washington, D.C. Randolph St. is called Bunker Hill Rd. on the Maryland side. Bunker Hill Rd. then reappears at 24th St., NE, heading off to the WNW, it being a much older route to the regular grid. Randolph St. makes a slight turn to continue due west.

Got it?


A taped up sign in a storefront in the 2000 block of Bunker Hill Rd., NE, for a business that moved.

The Burma Shave part is VERY funny if you know what that refers to -- that was a witty sense of humor the person had who taped up this up.


This is a view of the above-ground portion of the Metro Rail Red Line tracks between the Brookland - CUA Metro Station and Fort Totten Station, as well as the CSX/MARC Brunswick / Amtrak train line that parallels it. This is from the Taylor St., NE, bridge, one of three bridges between Michigan Ave., NE, and Riggs Rd., NE. The campus of Catholic University of America (CUA) and the grounds of the National Shrine (about which I've written a lot -- oh, yeah, Pope Benedict XVI is in D.C. this week) -- are in the distance on the right beyond the red brick building (one of the buildings on campus).


One of the structures on the grounds of Soldiers Home National Cemetery / Armed Forces Retirement Home, located in the "unit block" of Harewood Rd., NW, just across North Capitol St., which divides the District into its NE and NW quadrants.


The entrance to Armed Forces Retirement Home at 2nd St. and Upshur St., NW, at Rock Creek Church Rd., NW. I've written about this spot before, and posted other pictures, including in the early days of my Arcturus blog.

The view looking west "down" the incline of Upshur St., NW, from the 200 block. There is a strangely out of place restaurant at 200 Upshur St., NW, called The Hitching Post.


And the last picture ... the 1500 block of Upshur St., NW, approaching 16th St., NW.


We caught the S4 bus for the remainder of the way back to the Dupont area. I live close to the intersection of 16th and U Sts., NW,(that would be the "first alphabet" or single-letter "U" street), on New Hampshire Ave., NW.


A few other items ...

I'm actually going to campus tomorrow instead of work, but it is work related as I have to do some research in the library. The policy school is having an informal "prom" tomorrow night at RFD in downtown D.C. Then on Saturday night is a group dinner party.