Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More Summertime Swamp & Blogging Fevers

I updated my nutty Arcturus blog first and this one is mostly but not entirely a repeat of it, if only because I'm tired and need to go to bed.

A dense area of swampy, arboreal greenery along a spur of the Mount Vernon bike trail beside the Potomac River (hidden from view here), 4:09PM, July 26, 2010.

Many of the pictures I posted here are from my Monday walk from King Street Metro to National Airport via Old Town Alexandria and the Mount Vernon bike trail.


The Old Town Alexandria Marina, Alexandria, Va., 3:27PM, July 26, 2010.


The precarious "boardwalk" path over a particularly swampy area along the Mount Vernon Bike Trail (or a spur of it), Alexandria, Va., 4:11PM, July 26, 2010. You expect some swamp creature to explode out of the murky abyss -- which is probably just a foot deep, but you wouldn't want to fall into it.


It continues to be unpleasantly warm and humid -- today temps reached 93F at DCA and 94F at BWI and dew points in the 67F to 72F range, making it feel basically oppressive. And I'm feeling so slug-like fat and migraine headachy lately, especially during midday hours when I venture outside.

I actually prefer remaining hunkered down in my air conditioned office with its windows that face L'Enfant Plaza's north side. I share the office with two other fellows and we have a fan -- and all three of us prefer the overhead fluorescent lights off.

The job itself has been busy with the consumer fact sheet series and so far, so good, but no final decisions yet have been made about my status after mid-October.


A seemingly very good news item ...

There was a New York Times article today stating that the vast amounts of oil from the BP/Deepwater Horizon disaster are disappearing like crazy (at least at the surface) due to a series of fortuitous reasons, which are wonderful ...

The Gulf of Mexico seashore, Dauphin Island, Ala., July 26, 2010

... unless this too is another Big Lie designed to help the Corporate Overclass while the Underclass ("bribed tools of reactionary intrigue," to quote Marx, Karl, not Groucho) teabags itself into a frenzy over silly and irrelevant crap and is party to its own destruction.

Wait, now I got off topic and lost the "good news" angle.


Well, I had more things I wanted to say ...

Why do I keep watching Touched by an Angel when I don't even like / really believe in God anymore?

I was thinking of starting to listening -- except it's on in the middle of the night -- to listen to that weird radio call-in show Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, formerly with Art Bell, who started it in 1984.

The listeners are the UFOs and aliens are among us/ "9-11 was an inside job" / conspiracy theory crowd. They form a sort of weird subculture that probably flourishes in the wee hours.

I think I'll start believing that stuff.

I will go ON AND ON about the U.S. Government's Roswell vast cover up, the "Greys" among us, alien abductions, the Bilderberg Group and Skull & Bones, and the "controlled demolition" that brought down the Twin Towers. It'll make me feel better because it will give my world and my life more profound meaning.

If anything I should have started listening to it during that 15 month period as an "independent contractor" when I often worked all night and slept the bulk of the day.


Some other stuff ...

My mom used to have all these old records -- the old vinyls that will, much like the incandescent light bulb in the coming decades, become a rare collectors item. One was by Neil Diamond. It MAY have been his 1976 album "Beautiful Noise."

On the back was this write up about New York City's famed and now vanished "Tin Pan Alley." That "music row" of small publishers and songwriters actually existed from the late 19th Century into the mid-20th Century, perhaps as late as the 1950s along W. 28th St. between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

But on the back of the album was this poetic description that Neil Diamond wrote in which he described his life as a young musician on Tin Pan Alley in the 1960s and tying it into the social upheavals of that era. I just remember reading its flowery description about how it affected him as a young man and "everyone who passed through its noisy but beautiful portals." The "portal(s)" refer to the time period, not Tin Pan Alley itself.


Oh, yes, I met one of the two wonderful people behind the Hippograms blog. We had a very nice lunch at Chadwick's in Friendship Heights on Sunday -- right as that violent storm blew through the area.

An interesting composite NOAA GOES weather satellite and NASA MODIS land surface images as the thunderstorms appeared around 4:15PM EDT, July 25, 2010. The storms look a lot worse over southeastern Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey, IMHO. More info here.


The storms killed at least four people including someone in Rockville -- a community activist and father of two named Carl Henn -- that my office mate knew professionally. Mr. Henn was struck by lightning.

LP and Kevin both lost power in suburban Maryland for two to there days -- LP still might not have electricity.


More Monday walk pictures ...

The George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Va., as seen from the King Street Metro platform, 2:11PM, July 26, 2010.


View from the King Street Metro station, Alexandria, Va., 2:10PM, July 26, 2010.


The 1100 block of King Street (walking east), Alexandria, Va., 2:25PM, July 26, 2010.


The Union Street Public House, Old Town Alexandria, Va., 3:10PM, July 26, 2010, where I had lunch.

Public House is where the English get the term "pub."


Speaking of England, Kristof returns to the U.S. from there on August 24th! And Damon has settled in with his wife in Australia for their year stay. I have neglected to keep up with his Crocodile DG blog the past few days, but I noticed some of you have! Another friend (Roger) has settled into his planned year long stay (a sabbatical) in Puebla, Mexico. I'd like to visit both people / places.


Kristof will be returning via Dulles not National Airport, but ...

The old (original) terminal at National Airport, 4:48PM, July 26, 2010.


The walkway between the old and new sections of Reagan Washington, National Airport, 4:52PM, July 26, 2010.

I was actually disappointed to see that 9/11-themed painting -- done in a sort of Soviet Realism-style -- showing George W. Bush leading a vast array of political figures, firemen and other emergency responders, surviving victims and others from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. It was kept in an alcove with two little lights on it along the left wall of the above passageway. The painting is now gone. I've mentioned it and even posted a picture of it on my blogs before but I can't look for it right now.


National Airport's B Terminal, 4:57PM, July 26, 2010.


I'm watching, or rather listening to RCN Channel 891 easy listening -- "elevator music," but I don't care what anyone thinks -- as I write this. Think Mantovani and Beegie Adair, the latter performing "Old Cape Cod." Magical.

A small mimosa tree growing at the edge of the swampy area near Daingerfield Island along the Mount Vernon bike trail, Alexandria, Va., 4:14PM, July 26, 2010.


Electric sunset over Washington, D.C., as seen from my 5th floor apartment, hours after the Sunday storms, 8:31PM, July 25, 2010.

Another view of same sunset minutes later as seen outside from the intersection of 16th and U Streets, NW, and New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 8:35PM, July 25, 2010.

This was looking west down U Street toward Adams Morgan / Kalorama.


And lastly from earlier this thickly humid, oppressively warm evening ...

Two bulldogs -- an English and French one -- passing one another as their respective daddy and mommy walk them on the sidewalk of the 1800 block of New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 6:54PM, July 28, 2010.

I'd like to get a small English or French bulldog some day.


That's it for now. My next planned update will not be until about Sunday.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Up A Lazy Potomac, July 2010 -OR- Mental Health Day

The Potomac River from Alexandria, Va., looking north toward Washington, D.C., 3:53PM, July 26, 2010.

The white speck on the horizon midway across the river is the U.S. Capitol Building as seen from about six miles away.


This is just a quick update.

I did not go to work today as I was not feeling well, although in the end it was more of a "mental health day" -- watch me be fired tomorrow -- and I took a nice walk in Old Town Alexandria and long the Potomac River to National Airport.

Yours truly while walking along the Mount Vernon bike trail -- or rather a spur of it that runs directly along the Potomac River on the north side of Old Town -- in Alexandria, Va., 3:55PM, July 26, 2010.


The storms on blew threw the area yesterday were brief but violent with nearly 60MPH winds that knocked down a number of trees in suburban Maryland, upper Northwest, and Northern Virginia. Power was knocked out to at least 400,000 homes and businesses -- and many places are still without electricity.

Two people were killed in the thunderstorms -- a lady in College Park and a child in the NoVa suburbs.

"Official" rainfall totals were as follows: 0.64" at DCA, 0.41" at BWI, and 0.46" at IAD. This was more than I figured National Airport would get.

The Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) control tower as seen from the adjoining Metro station platform, 5:03PM, July 26, 2010.


I will update this blog in a day or two, along with some of the two dozen or so pictures I took today. I plan to be in work on time and all diligent the remainder of the week.


Oh, yes, I have to post this ...

Ha ha

G'Night (or G'Day, as the case may be when you read this).


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Somewhere in (Endless Frickin' Hot Summer) Time

No, this is not the view outside my apartment today, though I wish it were ...

This is a picture of a heavy, wet snowfall in April 2007 in Kennebunkport, Maine I got off a blog to a place called the Green Heron Inn.


On what may be the hottest day of this evil hot summer that refuses to end, I'm hunkered down in my small air conditioned apartment right now listening to RCN "easy listening" channel 891 right now -- Ron Goodwin playing the theme from Somewhere in Time.

I wish I were somewhere in time OTHER than the early 2010s in WaSHITington, D.C. I don't really belong in this place, and I never have.

Here is an image of the beach / pier / ocean at Deerfield Beach, Fla., that Gary just sent me.

He is away again this weekend, this time in South Florida to visit his mom and grandmother. I haven't been down there since last August.

He and I along with LP are supposed to go to Wildwood, New Jersey, in about three weeks for a three day vacation. Actually, we're going to Wildwood Crest to the Jolly Roger Motel where we went last year.

Thereafter, I'm planning to go to Flagler Beach (about 150 miles north of Deerfield Beach), Florida over the Labor Day holiday to visit my dad, whom I've also not seen in a year.


Back to the crappy here and now ...

As noted, it is criminally hot outside today, and this entry is going to be very bitchy because of it and some other things that always upset me.

Yours truly at the corner of 16th and U Streets and New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 2:46AM, July 24, 2010.

I was walking back from the nearby gayborhood bars. I went to Cobalt and Fox & Hound with Jamie.


Noon Sun Time Temps, July 24, 2010 ...

At the 1PM EDT hour (which is the "noon hour" for standard time*) it was already 99F at National Airport (DCA)and BWI Airport (BWI), and 94F at Dulles Airport (IAD). The previous daily record highs for July 24th were 96F at DCA, 97F at BWI, and 97F at IAD. Thus, DCA and BWI have already torpedoed their old records and Dulles will in an hour or so.

*But we have the stupid and useless -- if not outright counterproductive -- artifact of having to go on daylight savings time each year.

1PM EDT hourly regional observations, July 24, 2010


Highs should reach and maybe eclipse 100F at DCA and BWI and perhaps IAD, and temps could upwards of 103F in downtown D.C. and Baltimore.

The dew points are currently rather high for midday hours, between 70F and 72F, making for heat indices already in the 106F to 108F range for DCA and BWI, and thus rapidly approaching the 110F excessive heat warning criteria for our area.

I'm not sure if BWI will reach the 105F it set earlier this month on July 6th, but who knows. DCA should at least tie the 102F set on July 6th (which was not a record since the daily record for that day was 103F set in 1999).

On a personal note, if I'm going to live here, I really need some big, thick drapes or something to cover the windows outright rather than just the blinds. My west/northwest-facing apartment gets nothing but goddamn sunlight for hours in the afternoon and evening, esp. this time of year when the Sun is "so far" north and it never frickin' seems to get dark.

The total solar eclipse of July 11, 2010 as seen from above the small town of El Calafate in the chilly, wet region of Patagonia in far southern Argentina near the tip of the South American continent and Andes Mountains. The eclipse occurred near sunset, making for the unusual and sublime scene.

This was the July 15, 2010 APOD.


Washington, D.C. / Baltimore Area Historical Hot Weather Info ...

The ALL-TIME record highs for any day for Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are both pre-airport records and are 107F and 106F, respectively, when the weather stations were located in warmer downtown locations.

The 106F was set in D.C. on July 20, 1930 and prior to that on August 6, 1918.

The 107F was set in Baltimore on July 10, 1936.

In just looking back at the past 30 years or so, the 105F that occurred earlier this month on July 6, 2010 at BWI tied for the hottest ever at the airport itself along with a previous 105F reading set back on August 20, 1983. As for DCA, it reached 105F on August 17, 1997, and this was also the hottest ever at the airport itself.

Dulles records only go back to about 1963 and are more straightforward since the station spot has never been moved, or at least not in some big way from the airport itself. The hottest day ever at Dulles was 104F set August 20, 1983 and again on July 16, 1988.


The pineapples and bananas on sale in the Corcoran Street Safeway, Washington, D.C., 8:54PM, July 23, 2010. This store is always delightfully cool in summer time.


More Historical Hot Air ...

DCA has had 40 days of 90F or higher temps through July 23rd -- tying the 1991 and 1994 records through July 23rd. The record number of 90F or greater days for an entire calendar year was 67 days in 1980, so we're about 60 percent of the way there.

For BWI, it has had 37 days of 90F or higher through July 23rd -- surpassing the 36 days through July 23rd in 1991. The record number of 90F days for the entire calendar year was 54 days in 1988, so it is already over two-thirds of the way there.

The summer of 1980 was a legendary hot one across the U.S.

Obviously, as of today, the figures will be 41 days and 38 days, respectively.


Record Warm Low Temps ...

There were also record high low temperatures early this morning for all three regional airports including 81F at DCA, 82F at BWI, and 78F at IAD, surpassing the previous "record high lows" by 3F, 5F, and 4F, respectively.

I'm not even going to touch the whole topic of "record high lows" for nighttime temps, except to say it is a whole topic unto itself and that regional and global climate change signals are actually strongest here.

The LWX (Sterling) county warning area (CWA) map as of 12:12PM, July 24, 2010.

There is an excessive heat warning in effect for much of the Washington / Baltimore area and a heat advisory for the extended mid-Atlantic (or more properly, northern "Southern Atlantic") region as well as a large chunk of the eastern third of the United States.

Here is the national map showing advisories and warnings.

The scarlet color are excessive heat warnings and the orange are heat advisories. The "hole" in these advisories and warnings is the area of the Appalachian Mountains.


Even the arrogant, know-it-all, overly legalistic LWX (Sterling) forecasters for our region decided they couldn't avoid an excessive heat warning today (since they usually go on and on about whether the "criteria" will be met as they did in the heat wave last month). For the National Weather Service's Baltimore / Washington area, it is 105F for a heat advisory and 110F for an excessive heat warning. These differ in different parts of the country.

View from my apartment, Washington, D.C., 3:22PM, July 24, 2010


Saint Cloud ...

The only saving grace today is that there are actually quite a few fair weather cumulus clouds in the sky -- as the picture directly above shows -- instead of haven't "mixed out" as drier air infiltrates, as it often does in these set ups when the culprit Bermuda high is essentially overhead rather than centered in the western Atlantic. That's the flip side around here, I guess, of 72F dew points.

The other saving grace is the power grid -- thank you, PJM Interconnection -- is holding up today despite what must be an enormous strain upon it.

Think of all those megawatts of power generation occurring today by whatever source (coal, natural gas, nuclear, even wind and solar) and being carried through giant high tension wires as the giant skeletal metal towers bake in the hot Sun.


James Inhofe's Frickin' Igloo

We not mention Senator James Inhofe, arguably the stupidest U.S. Senator ever, who Bartcop once described (on his radio show as follows (and I'm trying to remember from 7 years ago):

"Have you ever gone into a public bathroom the stall, and looked down into the toilet and seen just one small turd at the bottom of an otherwise clear bowl of water? THAT'S James Inhofe."

Inhofe is having sociopathic right wing fantasies and delusions about "global cooling" even now, and that gets the mainstream media whores excited.

And when the pussy Dems lose big in November -- as they deserve to do -- and the teabagging crazies (think of the Thelma and Louise political duo of Sharron Angle and Michele Bachmann) and corporate fascists (think Newt Gingrich and any one of a thousand fake "Astroturf" front groups run by Dick "Elephant" Armey) of the GOP take charge, Inhofe will head the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

I wonder if the Inhofe family -- which according to James "Mountain" Inhofe has had to homosexuals in it in over 200 years -- will be building his "Al Gore Igloo" on the Capitol grounds today.

As for the U.S. Senate, it produces nothing of value anyway.

It is a sick and broken institution wherein interior low population and Southern states have completely hijacked the body just waiting for a future authoritarian president (think a competent and clued-in version of George W. Bush) to usurp its powers.

The most recent example is the catastrophic cave-in by Sen. Harry Reid on climate and energy legislation.

Maybe President Obama will give another gosh-darn good speech and then proceed to do nothing.

He has become (as I figured he would be), the All-Talk Great Disappointment. And it must be time for Rahm Emanuel to drop some more "F-bombs" at the progressive Democratic caucus while "reaching out across the aisle and down Pennsylvania Avenue" to Republican cult-like crazies.

That gets Fred F/ckhead Hiatt at The WaHoPo all tingly all over, but no one else. Then there's those two former Postie jackasses Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris.

With money from rightwing billionaire Robert L. Allbritton, they started POLITICO in 2007, a political news publication here in D.C. that is the condensed essence of everything vapid, mind-numbing, and nihilistic about The Post's "objective" political news and analysis.

A typical such story goes like this: "Today Republicans laid out three bold claims: first, 2+2=5; second, there is strong evidence of global cooling; and third, Nancy Pelosi personally hid Iraq's WMDs. Even some unnamed Democrats operatives privately agree but we're not going to tell you who. As it is, we PROUDLY take no stand on anything except to say there are partisans on the right and left, but the most recent opinion polls show the public sides increasingly with the GOP."

"I just report what I'm told."

Expect a
POLITICO "insider" story on Monday that "addresses the controversies" surrounding "global warming" with the following "sources": James Inhofe's chief of staff, two unnamed GOP operatives, some Heritage Foundation asshole, Liz Cheney, a NOAA press release from a couple months ago, and Rahm Emanuel "on deep background" -- except it's always patently obvious who it is.


OK, I'm going to wrap up this entry. The weather is supposed to turn a bit cooler and there is a bullshit "chance" of some thunderstorms by Sunday evening as a front moves closer.

But I'm sure next week will feature more disgusting intense summer heat, our Dadaist-like absurd political climate, and a skyrocketing stock market -- I hate when that fucking Dow Jones rises because it is nothing more than a proxy for the multi-trillion dollar criminal racket known as the "financial sector" that is (to use Matt Taibbi's famous description of Goldman Sachs) "is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money..."

As for my job, it actually went well last week. I was quite busy with the consumer fact sheet series. I still don't know if the job will be made permanent beyond October -- and if it is not, I will still be leaving D.C.

Sunrise at the Jersey shore.

OK, that's all for now. I'm going to take a shower and get ready to go to Cobalt early tonight because my favorite bartender is working the Saturday happy hour shift, and I'll get drunk early.

Here I am in the elevator last night in my building heading to my apt, 2:49AM, July 24, 2010.

Tomorrow, I'm hopefully meeting in person here in D.C. one of the two hippos behind a certain blog, but I probably won't write a lot about out of respect for her privacy.

My next planned entry will be around Monday or Tuesday. However, I will update this entry with today's final temperature numbers later.

Updated 7/25/2010: The highs yesterday (for 7/24/2010) were as follows: 101F DCA, 101F BWI, and 99F IAD, all daily records. The humidity was a bit higher and cumulus cloud cover slightly greater than anticipated, so it didn't get to 102F/103F as expected.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Seasons Change Already

This is my 365th post -- except it shows up as 364 posts since I "removed" one by saving it in draft owing to some "sensitive" things I spoke about regarding some dumb area club and someone that I know who works there. Thus, I have "one year's worth" of entry stretching back to March 2008 when I began this blog.

This entry will be -- and I mean it -- very brief. I need to be in bed by about 10PM because I have to be at DOE at 730AM tomorrow morning to help out at the all day workshop. As it is, I was at Cobalt too late last night, drank too much, and didn't get to bed until nearly 130AM. I got into work just about on time but I'm tired.

I wanted to write a happy entry but I've just spent two hours watching Keith Olbermann and his fill-in anchor Lawrence O'Donnell plus Olbermann himself in a special comment, and then Rachel Maddow go on and on about the Shirley Sherrod disaster -- and how pathetic President Obama looks as a result.

I'm referring to the latest Andrew Breitbart / Fox News bullshit "scandal" that was -- like the phony ACORN one last year -- completely manufactured but that the "mainstream media" ran with and from which Dems / Obama cowered in fear.

A tribute to the media and such a wussy administration.

The only one who looks really gracious and "the winner" in all of this is Ms. Sherrod herself. Here is a
link to Glenn Greenwald's take on the matter.


The weather -- pure crap.

This frickin' summer is never going to end.

It's non-stop heat, humidity, and dashed expectations of welcome rain (just the odd, hit-or-miss explosive thunderstorm that ALWAYS misses the stupid DCA weather spot).

Let me just say that we are in the hottest time of the year right now climatologically -- the average National Airport (DCA) official Washington, D.C., high is 89F from July 16 to July 27 and the average low (which we ALWAYS are above these days) is 71F from July 19 - 27. Source here. Note the "thermal lag" of about one month from the actual summer solstice.

Yes, Kristof, this image again -- and I'll keep posting it until this summer is over.

For the highs, this means the midway point, or the "summer peak of peaks" is, yes, July 21st and 22nd. In point of fact, it's been in the 90s Fahrenheit for weeks with the 102F readings a few weeks ago.

I couldn't make it but for air conditioning and no silly do-gooder is going to make me give it up.


But rather than going on and on about that, let me just say that I'm listening now to that easy listening instrumental music on RCN channel 891 I so enjoy and it is peaceful. And I need to go to bed.

It's Lawrence Welk!


My next planned update will probably be Friday or Saturday.