Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Laus Deo" -OR- Spatial and Temporal Perturbations

Trees growing the yard of the house at 3937 Huntington St., NW, Washington, D.C., 5:31PM, Sept. 25, 2011. This is the Friendship Heights section of D.C.

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Late lunch / early dinner at the bar of the Cheesecake Factory (Wisconsin Avenue), Washington, D.C., 4:43PM, Sept. 25, 2011.

Unfortunately, K. wasn't feeling well and wasn't there.

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I started this entry last night and it was intended to be a quick update with a longer post tonight. Instead, it is all getting posted into a single entry tonight (now on the 28th).

A scene at Nellie's on the upstairs deck of Saturday night, or rather early Sunday morning around 2AM, Sept. 25, 2011. (Oooza the Unloved showed up the previous night.) 

This image was taken by (straight) D.G., mostly because he was interested in the two lesbians dancing / kissing.

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The secluded-looking house -- cloaked in trees and shrubbery -- at the corner of Ingomar and 42nd Streets, NW, Washington, D.C., 5:27PM, Sept. 25, 2011. This is actually 4121 Ingomar Street, NW.

I walked from Friendship Heights (after going to the Cheesecake Factory for an early dinner, sans K., though) back to Dupont.

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Another one of my stealth cellphone images of attractive guys ...

... a young, softly muscular, dark-haired white fellow (of that sort I always have found so attractive) with his other young, buff, black friend, as seen at the intersection of 16th and U Streets and New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 3:43PM, Sept. 25, 2011.

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A rather expensive house with a tri-columned portico* at 3728 Harrison **Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 5:40PM, Sept. 27, 2011.

*Remember the SNL skit about buying columns for your house from a place called "Mike's Marbleopolis" in Lynbrook, Long Island ... "People will say, 'Does the frickin' pope live here??'"

**Yes, there are two three-syllable "H" streets in Upper Northwest DC: Huntington and Harrison. I think the "grid" is based off the Harrison one. 

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OK, here is some other stuff. There really isn't any particular rhyme or reason to it ...

The Washington Monument ...

First, I would like to post this YouTube clip from a Euronews clip featuring surveillance camera footage inside the top observation deck of the Washington Monument during the 5.8 earthquake that struck Washington, D.C., on Aug. 23, 2011 and that I blogged about from my own first hand experience here. (I was in my office building less than 3,000 feet from the Monument. I actually thought it was Mr. Sirius having a tantrum over something.)


There was actually structural damage to it -- for a brief period in the 1880s the world's tallest man made object (until eclipsed by the Eiffel Tower), and even today the world's tallest obelisk and stone structure. Yes, it is the tallest non-transmitter tower structure in the District of Columbia.

This is an image of the Washington Monument I took at 10:24AM on April 23, 2010 -- less than a half hour after my successful interview at my current job. I was very happy as I was walking home. I posted the picture originally in this entry.

In the video, masonry is seen falling and folks (including a frightened NPS ranger) running down a flight of stairs that (as I recall) leads to the elevator level. I would have demanded to take the stairs -- which at one time tourists were able to do (and see all the cool commemorative stone objects inside there that were gifts of governments and organizations). That closed back in the 1970s due to concern over vandalism.

Here an engineer rappels down from the very tip of the Washington Monument (there is a little trap door underneath the very tip top) earlier today (Sept. 27, 2011) looking at the exterior for any exterior damage (like on that 7th row down).

The Monument has been closed since the quake.

Of note, the two red winking navigation lights on each face of the Monument used to have a slow, partial "wink" that was out of phase with each other. But since Feb. 1995 when someone installed a synchronizing switch, all eight flash in jarring unison.

BTW, you can't really see the capstone stone or the aluminum capstone tip atop it (surrounded by lightning rods) in this image.

Here is an image of the aluminum capstone itself with photograph Theodor Horydczak admiring it. I'm not sure when this picture was taken. This picture was probably when the Monument was covered in scaffolding in 1934.

Oh, yes, since everyone gets all spooky-weird about Washington's "secret Masonic layout", the aluminum capstone has inscribed on it on the east side: Laus Deo ("Praise be to God" or "God be Praised").You can read about it on Snopes here. Of note, I have not actually been up the Washington Monument since the summer of 1993 or '94 (with Quill).

It is a pain in the ass to go up it because you need tickets and they tend to sell out early. In short, I'm never down by the Mall on early hours in order to stand in line to get any.

I went up the Washington Monument with my dad on my first-ever trip to Washington, D.C., on a bitterly cold weekend in Dec. 1977 when I had just turned 8 years old. We drove down from New Jersey and made it all the way out to Luray Caverns in the Shenandoah.

Speaking of those ruminations about Masonic layouts of Washington, it involves something about a celestial - based triangle formed (coincidentally) by my blog namesake stars Regulus, Arcturus, as well as Spica and the corresponding positions of the U.S. Capitol, the White House, and  the Washington Monument.

We won't even get into what the 19th Century version of today's Teabaggers -- the Know Nothings -- thought about Papal conspiracies and the Washington Monument. Suffice it to say, it resulted in the monument being a stump for years. 

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TV Viewing (Part 1): Terra Nova


Last night, I watched the intriguing opening of the new Terra Nova series on Fox, but once they passed through a "crack" in the space-time continuum in their "time stream" (parallel dimension) and pop out in 85 million years ago smack in the Cretaceous era -- tropical world, dinosaurs, massive bugs, and all -- it was basically like being in a South American jungle cult-compound commune. (You need a parallel Earth, as it were, because going back into OUR past totally changes it, rendering such time travel totally paradoxical.)

I think the currency at the beginning in an ecologically dying, overcrowded, dystopian and "blandly fascistic" world (see Matt Zoller Seitz's funny Salon piece here) -- set initially on Sept. 26, 2149 -- featured Barack Obama on it. That's funny for a couple of reasons.


Anyway, if you COULD travel back then, it might be preferable to be in the Cenozoic Era, specifically, in its Paleocene or maybe Eocene Epoch, rather than the Cretaceous period.

An Eocene Epoch scene 34 to 56 million years ago.

It was a time of grasslands / savannas and gradual cooling as the continents repositioned themselves and orogenies were underway rather than globe-spanning torrid tropical forests teaming with massive carnivorous dinosaurs and insects the size of Volkswagen cars. 

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TV Viewing (Part 2): Pan Am

Speaking of other debuting TV shows (of the sort I really never watch but did this week) ... 

I also quite enjoyed the first episode of the new Pan Am series, set in the world of 1963 (featuring computer-generated refurbishments of the old Pan Am "Worldport" at then-Idlewild Airport).

It reminds me a touch of my own childhood mid-to-late 1970s trans-Atlantic travels between JFK to Brussels and worlds of my dad/grandparents/New Jersey and mom/Belgium (including the first time in 1976 on Pan American World Airways and later in 1977 and 1979 on likewise-defunct SABENA).

Yes, the world had changed by then but 1976 was "closer" to 1963 than it is to 2011.

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Obama Speaks (and it's Actually Worth Hearing)

I was impressed with Obama's comments on Rick Perry's climate change denialism and the hate mongering of the yowling yahoos in the GOP debate audience -- cheering dying uninsured people and booing gay soldiers in Iraq. Here is the quote:

"Some of you here may be folks who actually used to be Republicans but are puzzled by what's happened to that party, are puzzled by what's happening to that party. I mean, has anybody been watching the debates lately? You've got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change. It's true. You've got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don't have health care and booing a service member in Iraq because they're gay ... That's not reflective of who we are. This is a choice about the fundamental direction of our country..."

Speaking of that state that's on fire ...

Here is an image that has been going around the internets showing smoke across the horizon from the fires burning outside Bastrop, Texas earlier this month (Sept. 2011 but unsure date). Bastrop is located about 30 miles southeast of Austin.

But at least the Teabaggers and their crazy would-be saviors can assure us that there is no climate change. We can all breathe easy now. Idiots.


Oh, by the way, and speaking of Obama and a very different Perry, I liked David Sirota's response to Melissa Harris-Perry's silly bullshit about "liberals not supporting Obama being the most insidious kind of racism." Silly jackass. She should just stick to filling in for Rachel Maddow.

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Sunshine State Trip Preview

Actually, the whole reason I started this entry was to note a slight change in plan regarding my upcoming Florida trip. I'm not going to go into great detail on this topic, though, and I'm (re)posting images from earlier Florida visits.

Evening towering cumulus cloud approaching Flagler Beach, Fla., from the sea, 7:47PM, Sept. 7, 2010.

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As you know, I am set to go down to Daytona Beach to visit him in Flagler Beach on Oct. 4th and stay there until Oct. 8th, at which point I am to take a train from Deland to Deerfield Beach and meet Gary, returning with him on Oct. 12th to D.C. from Ft. Lauderdale.

My dad silhouetted in his former place in Flagler Beach, Fla., 10:40PM, Sept. 4, 2010.

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I have decided instead to get a motel in Ormond Beach and/or Daytona Beach for four nights rather than staying with him (and the in-live girlfriend who is half his age and her 13-year old daughter). I can't handle that. And I can afford the motel. 

My dad walking on the beach with a couple and their dog in the foreground in Flagler Beach, Fla., 6:46PM, Sept. 5, 2010.

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A trailer park in Bunnell, Florida -OR- "The horror, the horror ..."

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I also arranged through Amtrak to take a taxi from Daytona Beach to Deland on the 8th (it only costs $35 plus $5 fuel fee and, I guess, tip).

The surf at Daytona Beach, Fla., 2:39PM, Sept. 7, 2010.

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There was a big argument on the phone between us and he even had her call and leave me a message. Obviously, I didn't take her call or talk to her. Last night, I told him my lodging plans, end of story. He was actually just glad I was still coming down.

Yours truly in the surf at Deerfield Beach, Fla., 12:37PM, Aug. 2, 2009.

Yes, I was gazing off down the beach looking toward a very distant lighthouse (the Hillsboro Inlet one) that I could see during the day (and winking at me at night) on my trip there in August 2009. 

Here is the lighthouse.

Just kidding.

Here is the actual Hillsboro Inlet Light, 2:26PM, Aug. 2, 2009.

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It was initially a nice walk with my dad along the beach (recall we had gone to Key West and stayed in Deerfield Beach before I departed from Fort Lauderdale).

The gurgling, lightly roiled Atlantic Ocean surf of a South Florida summer day between Deerfield Beach and Hillsboro Inlet (Pompano Beach), Florida, 2:01PM, Aug. 2, 2009.

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But it turned kinda hellish on the return walk, as I recounted here. If I walk there this time, it will only be half way to the strange lavender-hued beach house and thence returning on the beach.

Another view of the Hillsboro Inlet Light and the coast guard station grounds where it is located, around 2:30PM, Aug. 2, 2009.

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Anyway, after the Daytona / Ormond / Flagler Beaches part, I will be going to Deerfield Beach to meet Gary for a four day stint and return to D.C. (DCA) via Fort Lauderdale (FLL).

OK, that's all for now. I'm signing off with my next planned update not until this weekend.

--Regulus

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