Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Flighty Italian Lady and a Lazy Gabonese Hippo

**Second update 11:45PM 6/24/2014: See below.**

Updated 5:00AM 7/3/2011: See below.

The planet Venus and a very young crescent Moon as seen at dawn just before sunrise over Izmir, Turkey. The body of water is the Gulf of Izmir (Smyrna) at the edge of the Aegean Sea. This was today's APOD.


This has been a very slow Saturday at the start of the July 4th holiday weekend that I've spent almost entirely at home watching a Frasier marathon on the Hallmark Channel.

It was another crummy hot, sunny day with highs around 91F and no frickin' rain. It's never going to rain again this damn summer. Except for when I'm at the ocean, I hate summer and mostly hate Washington, D.C., in the year 2011.

Anyway, among the Frasier episodes was a particularly funny one entitled "Look Before You Leap" that I am embedding here -- conveniently in a single YouTube clip running 22min 44 seconds (the length of an episode sans any commercial).

**Updated 11:45PM 6/24/2014: Dead YouTube link removed and not replaced.**

This episode references (at 13:14) Verdi's three-act opera Rigoletto in that Frasier was supposed to sing La Donna è Mobile ("Woman is Fickle") (he never does). I found this 1982 version of it with the late Luciano Pavarotti playing the Duke of Mantua. See bottom of the entry for YouTube clip.

While I was home most of the day, I went to a solo dinner a short while ago at that quiet little Pines of Florence restaurant on Connecticut Avenue near the Chinese Embassy and the Taft Bridge.

Oh, yes, my walk took me past the Embassy of Gabon.

Here is the Embassy of Gabon at 2034 20th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 6:20PM, July 2, 2011. This is at the complicated intersection of Wyoming Avenue, Columbia Road and 20th Street.

Interlude: Hippos & Gabon

Speaking of things Gabonese ... Here is a Gabonese hippo ...

Actually, it's a picture I (of course) found online of a hippo lurking in the surf of the Atlantic Ocean along the coastline of Gabon. (The hippo itself isn't a Gabonese national ...)

This image, which I've previously posted, has always raised a question in my mind: What happens when a hippo swims in salty (ocean) water rather than its usual swampy freshwater abodes? Does the hippo know to not drink the water?

Here is a map of Gabon -- and the national park where this pic was probably taken is right on the Equator.

That hippo may have actually been right ON the Equator. North of Gabon is Equatorial Guinea.

I had a professor in one of my environmental policy seminars in public policy school who said of the President of Equatorial Guinea -- Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo -- in a flat, matter-of-fact voice:

"Some leaders have good and bad qualities. The leader of Equatorial Guinea is a MONSTER."

FYI: The guy's first name is suspiciously close to my last name. They both mean Theodore.


Anyway, I've been to this Pines of Florence restaurant now with Quill, K., and Chris T. The place has a busy take-out component that makes up for its quiet eat-in side. I like that quiet eat-in side. I sat at the table near the wall air conditioner -- I love its somniferous whooshing sound and gushing coolness. I had a nice dinner, although the cappuchino was pure water.

The Pines of Florence restaurant interior, Washington, D.C., 6:32PM, July 2, 2011.


Today, I have not been feeling that well: I have a headache and feel fatigued in addition to a flare up of the intermittent pains I've been experiencing in my abdomen. I don't know if it is some kind of pulled muscle or something more serious.

Yours truly at Pines of Florence restaurant, Washington, D.C., 6:56PM, July 2, 2011.


As I've mentioned before, I'm now 41, flabby and feeling deeply stuck in a D.C. rut.

On the other hand, I am also concerned about real disruptions in the next 6 to 12 months as the Teabaggers and GOP crazies may finally bring out a genuine financial and economic collapse while Obama sits there burbling empty platitudes while being endless extorted by an insane and radicalized opposition.

Bachmann represents the fundie - Jacksonian populist tradition of America, updated to an appalling time such as now. The real powers, though, are the shadowy billionaire corporate oligarchs who run everything (e.g. the Koch Brothers).

Long story short, I'm assuming my current job has maybe a year left in it, and my D.C. life could end with that current job if I've not found something new and enduring.

A reward sign for a stolen bike in the 2100 block of 20th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 7:19PM, July 2, 2011. I removed the last four digits of the phone number from the image (NOT the sign).

Having had about 5 bicycles stolen in my years in D.C. -- including 3 in 2004 -- I have come to believe there is a professional bike theft ring in the city.


Anyway, my plan is to watch a few more episode of Frasier and some of the Britcoms that are actually on MPT later tonight -- rather than endless pledge drives. Later on, I plan is to go to Nellie's. Last night, I was at Larry's Lounge with what turned out to be a large group with K., Jamie, Kristof and Chris T. As for tomorrow.

Screen shot of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival website. Not to be confused with this one.

I think K. and I are going down to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall and try to watch the National Symphony Orchestra perform its final rehearsal concert on the Capitol grounds as part of the annual "A Capitol Fourth" extravaganza.

I am NOT going anywhere NEAR the Mall on the actual 4th of July (Monday). It's far too mobbed, pointless -- and ALWAYS but always overheated.

When you have lived in D.C. for years (decades) on end, you tend to do that early on a few times and then never again.


A mottled altostratus cumulus cloud deck as seen above The Ashley at the intersection of California Street and 18th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 7:23PM, July 2, 2011.


Here is the YouTube clip of Pavarotti singing the main aria La Donna è Mobile.

**Updated 11:45PM 6/24/2014: Content (two images) removed.**

The lyrics:

La donna è mobile
Qual piuma al vento,
Muta d'accento — e di pensiero!

Sempre un amabile,

Leggiadro viso,
In pianto o in riso, — è menzognero.

[Refrain:] La donna è mobile
qual piuma al vento,
Muta d'accento e di pensier!
e di pensier!
e di pensier!

È sempre misero
Chi a lei s'affida,
Chi le confida
— mal cauto il cuore!

Pur mai non sentesi
Felice appieno
Chi su quel seno
— non liba amore!

[Repeat Refrain]


OK, that's all for now. My next planned update won't be until early next week.


Updated 5:00AM 7/3/2011:

Non-Native Son -OR- Standin' in the Rain ...

The Sterling (LWX) radar in composite mode, 3:43AM EDT, July 3, 2011 showing thunderstorms moving into the D.C. area in the wee hours of a Sunday morning.


So we ended up with an unexpected heavy rainfall in the wee hours of this Sunday morning. I even went outside and took a half hour walk, although that turned out a bit odd. It was raining heavily when I started the walk, but it quickly stopped and was just a light rain and I figured it was over. But when I got back to my apt. building (2000 block of New Hampshire Avenue), it started to rain heavily and the cloud-to-cloud lightning intensified.

Cute gay guys outside club Town, Washington, D.C., 3:05AM, July 3, 2011.

Earlier tonight, I went to Nellie's and then to Town.


I stood outside the building for about 15 minutes -- and then I saw this (very) old black guy who lives in my building standing in the lobby looking at me suspiciously, intently, as if I was committing some crime.

I unlocked the door (quick wet) and he lifted up his cane as if to protect himself as I walked up the three lobby steps toward the elevator.

I looked at him from about 20 - 30 feet away. I hate shit like that. This is precisely why life itself is a nightmare in the United States of America: you give one wrong look to someone and the next thing you know, you're wrongly locked up in this empire' sprawling prison (to borrow a literary title) "archipelago" of death for life and being murdered while Nancy Grace looks on approvingly.

"Did I do something wrong?" I asked him flatly.

"No ..." he said.

"What can I say?? I like a rainy night. It's always hot and sunny here in the summer. It never rains. I like it when it rains," I said again flatly as I got on the elevator.

I half expected the police to come roaring up -- and I would have gone downstairs immediately and given my side of it. Unless, I just imagined the whole scenario in my head.

The Sterling (LWX)radar in composite mode (looking more dire than it actually is as it shows cloud activity as well as what is falling out of the clouds), 4:47AM, July 3, 2011.



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