Sunday, October 30, 2011

October in the (Wet) Snow -OR- Shopping For One

**Entry updated 3/17/2019 with content removed  (noted below)**

**Updated with some pics that Mark sent me from near Sabillasville, Md.**

A lady takes a picture of the heavy snowfall amid the autumn foliage in Bellefonte, Pa., Oct. 29, 2011.

This picture and most of the others in this are taken from The New York Times' online image slideshow.


So our very unusual (indeed, in many places historic) October snow event / snowstorm is over and it dropped a wide range of amounts across the mid-Atlantic region into the Appalachians from the Blue Ridge into the Alleghenies and thence into the Poconos and Catskill Mountains of New York state and parts of New England.

Heavy snow slows traffic along the West Side Highway, New York City, Oct. 29, 2011.


The highest amount I've seen reported is 27" in Plainfield, Mass. (It gets the Nixon "Sock it to ME?!" award, see previous entry.) Other high amounts include 19" in West Milford, Conn., 17.2" in Danbury, Conn., and 17" in Lake Hopatcong, N.J., with lots of 12" to 15" amounts in far northern New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania and Connecticut, as well as the Blue Ridge and Alleghenies. 

These are all spotter reported amounts that I found on various NWSFO sites and news articles.

Downed trees and power lines in Belmont, Mass., as a result of the heavy, wet snowstorm, Oct. 29, 2011.


This heavy, wet snowfall also downed lots of trees and power lines and according to this New York Times report, as of today (Oct. 30th), 2.3 million customers are without power in Pennsylvania and parts of New England.

Downed trees and power lines from the heavy wet snowstorm in Glastonbury, Conn., Oct. 30, 2011.


Heavy snowfall in Washington Square Park, New York City, Oct. 29, 2011.


In the Baltimore/Washington National Weather Service ("Sterling" or "LWX") "County Warning Area" (CWA) region, the highest amount I found was 14" at Mount Storm, West Virginia and closer-in, 11.5" in Sabillasville, Md., located right on the Maryland-Pennsylvania line by Camp David. (I love those names.) 

The Sterling CWA regional map showing snowfall totals in the Oct. 28 - 29, 2011 snow event.


Updated with images Mark sent me  

Mark D's Raven Rock property just inside Adams County, Pa., in the October snowstorm that dropped approximately 12" of snow on Sabillasville, Md. Here is Mark's property with about 6 inches on the ground -- right after the power had gone out and as he was leaving to head down the mountain and return to D.C.


Mark's pool on his Raven Rock property, Adams County, Pa., in the October snowstorm, Oct. 29, 2011.


Mark owns the approximately 275 acre spread Raven Rock property located on the Pennsylvania - Maryland line. It is an old Lutheran (Missouri Synod) summer camp (where both Quill and DD separately visited back in the 1980s) that is mostly in Adams County, Pa., but with a postal address / entrance in Frederick Co., Md., technically in Sabillasville. This is where Gary and I went last June as part of our two-day trip all the way up to Orbisonia, Pa., where I met Bryan Wright, the ragtime / piano guy whose radio show "Soundstage" on the online radio network I listen to at work. I wrote about it here.

Two more pictures that Mark sent me:

Mark's pool at his Raven Rock property in the October snowstorm, Adams County, Pa., Oct. 29, 2011.


One more picture of Mark's pool and deck chairs in the snowstorm at his Raven Rock property, Adams County, Pa., Oct. 29, 2011.


Back in D.C. ...

Young children in costumes attend a White House Halloween event in an unusual October snowfall, Washington, D.C., Oct. 29, 2011.

Yes, I live in D.C. but, of course, I found this picture on the same New York Times online slideshow article. The pictures below were taken by me.

The view from my 5th floor apartment during a burst of heavy snowfall here in Washington, D.C., in the rare October snowfall, 4:16PM, Oct. 29, 2011. This is looking at the buildings and trees along New Hampshire Avenue and V Street toward Meridian Hill Park.


Again, these are all spotter amounts. In terms of official climate station amounts, Newark Airport had the jackpot at 5.2" while Central Park in New York City had 2.0", LaGuardia Airport had 1.7", and JFK Airport has 1.5".

In our LWX CWA region, Washington Dulles (IAD) had 0.6" while BWI Airport and National Airport (DCA) had  ... now altogether ...


The DCA total thus "ties" the amount that fell on Oct. 29, 1925 in a pre-DCA Washington, D.C., total.

A bit of gloppy wet October snow accumulates on the cars parked outside my apartment building, 2000 block of New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 4:33PM, Oct. 29, 2011.


This "TRACE" total represents, of course, a huge victory for the usual cast of weather characters: WOODY! at Sterling, Mark Richards (the guy who oversaw obs at DCA for, like, 100 years), and the Sue Palka - cabra creature.

There she is ... What say you, Ms. Palka-cabra??


Nope, she doesn't like snow one bit.

Of note, the daily precipitation totals yesterday were over 1" at DCA, BWI, and IAD -- and DCA clicked over that magic 39.74" yearly total, which is the new 30-year normal (1981 - 2010) for total annual precipitation in Washington, D.C., and therefore we are now in surplus for the entire year no matter hereafter how much or how little falls. DCA also clicked over the 40" mark for the year as well.

BWI Airport is way above its new 30-year annual normal of 41.88" while IAD is still below its new 30-year annual normal of 41.54".

Here are the totals for yesterday at the usual trio of airport stations:

Day: 1.18"
Month: 3.91" +0.74" (3.17")
Year: 40.05" +6.76" (33.29")

Day: 1.09"
Month: 3.31" +0.20" (3.11")
Year: 49.57" +14.56" (34.99")

Day: 1.03" (daily record)
Month: 6.27" +3.24" (3.03")
Year: 39.56" +4.61" (34.95")

Harrisburg, Pa., -- which is already WAY into its wettest year on record -- had 9.7" of snow and 1.39" of liquid equivalent, raising its annual total to 65.97".

As for Boston, I think it actually did not get any snow, just mostly rain.

A bit of wet snow coats the grass and bushes outside the Brittany -- the building located directly across my apt. building and that fronts onto 16th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 4:34PM, Oct. 29, 2011.


It started to sleet here in D.C. where I live around 1PM and snow flakes began falling around quarter to two. It snowed intermittently a heavy, wet snow for a few hours and "accumulated" in a slushy, gloppy mess on grassy surfaces and cars and a bit on the trees (whose fall color leaves are peaking on schedule this week) -- see above pictures.

Today is just a sunny, cool day with afternoon temps around 52F.

The view from my apartment earlier this autumnal, afternoon, Washington, D.C., 3:07PM, Oct. 30, 2011. Any snow is long gone.


**3/17/2019: Content removed**

Yesterday, I took a walk in the wet snow up to the Columbia Heights Target (whose entrance is pictured from a Washingtonian article at left) where I purchased a new winter season jacket (thick enough that if worn with a sweater will be enough to handle most D.C. cold weather).

I also bought two wool hats for $4 each (and promptly lost one at Nellie's last night) and a new pair of gloves. I also bought a new pair of shoes (suitable for work and for walking) at Payless Shoes. I got all this for $116, which was within $5 of what I budgeted.

Thereafter, I walked home, detouring over to the Harris Teeter grocery store in Adams Morgan (on Kalorama Road).

The exterior of the store (which used to be a roller skating rink) is pictured at right from an image I found online.

I went to the hot bar for dinner -- which I ate in the store in the tiny sit-down area. The food available was kind of crappy as it was late in the day and most things were out.

**3/17/2019: Content removed**

Well, OK, that's about all for now. I may be going to the National Press Club tomorrow after work with two co-workers (one is a member) but I'm not sure. My next planned update will be on Tuesday.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Washington Snow in October -OR- "Sock it to D.C.?"

Showery, blustery, gloomy, lovely autumn evening, Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., 6:19PM Oct. 27, 2011.


In the above picture, a front had pushed through with much colder temperatures following ... and ...

... drum roll ...


To paraphrase then-candidate Richard Nixon on Rowen & Martin's Laugh-In in Sept. 1968 (with his incredulous and questioning inflection): "Sock it to ME??"

*I'm skeptical.

OK, first thing's first -- there is a VERY early season SNOW EVENT in the forecast for the mid-Atlantic region including portions of the Metro Washington, D.C., and Metro Baltimore areas with accumulating snowfall even in the near-in suburbs and potentially on grassy surfaces within the District itself.

The Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) webpage as of 8PM EDT, Oct. 28, 2011.

Indeed, there is a winter storm warning in effect for all the farther out northern and western suburbs and extending beyond that into the Pennsylvania and West Virginia. There is a winter weather advisory for the immediate northern and western suburbs including Montgomery County, and even for Baltimore City proper but not the District.

It's too early in the winter season and I'm simply not up for writing a big, long, complicated entry (that no one reads) describing the differences in the latest model runs of the NAM, GFS, and ECMWF.

The 18Z 28 Oct 2011 GFS valid at 15Z (11AM EDT) Oct. 29, 2011 showing MSLP, 6-hr precip, and 850mb temp. This shows heavy rain here since the 850mb 0C line is west of here. The 0C line sweeps east of us by 21UTC (5PM EDT) and a period of snow ensues.

The next image is the same model run and parameters as above except 6 hours later at 21Z (5PM EDT).

Anyway, I'll just paraphrase info from the 6:33PM Sterling (LWX) discussion this evening:

The first phase of a "potent and complex storm" will cross the mid-Atlantic region tonight. It will bring mostly light rain and a mix of rain and snow in the Blue Ridge and the Allegheny Front. The second phase -- now a series of small-scale vorticity maxima -- will phase together and help to bomb out a coastal low off Cape Hatteras by tomorrow morning. The phasing will help with cold air advection even as the storm generates its own cold air.

Surface weather map forecast valid at 12Z (7AM EDT), Oct. 29, 2011.

Precip. in the D.C. area should be mostly light and liquid until intensification occurs, at which point it will pick up in intensity. The changeover to heavy snow should occur from the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah to the Potomac Highlands and into the outer suburbs.

By mid-afternoon, it may snow in the District and Baltimore proper.

Totals will range from 4 to 8 inches in the mountains to 1 to 2 in the northern and western D.C./Balt suburbs and some slush and light accumulations on grassy surfaces. The storm will pull out by tomorrow evening with gusty, cold conditions.

The NWS snowfall forecast for 8PM 28 Oct - 8PM 29 Oct. 2011 issued at 6:35PM EDT.


This is about a month out of season (on the early side) and it would mark the first accumulating snowfall in D.C. proper (officially at everyone's favorite, Reagan Washington National Airport) in the month of October since 1979 when 0.3" fell at DCA on Oct. 10th.

In that same event on that same day, 0.3" also fell at BWI Airport and 1.3" fell at Dulles Airport (IAD).

Apparently, that event 32 years ago coincided with Game 1 of the Pirates / Orioles World Series baseball game in Baltimore at the old/long-gone Memorial Stadium.

Also, I believe it rapidly warmed up to around 80F within a few days of that event.

Below are some additional October snowfall numbers for DCA, BWI, and IAD. It is taken adapted from the same LWX discussion. Keep in mind that while the full Washington, D.C., and Baltimore records go back to the late 19th Century (1884 and 1892 for snowfall, respectively), the actual airport locations date back to (I believe) 1941 and 1950. For IAD, it is 1962.

Anyway, here are the numbers -- and, no, the picture below is not a D.C. autumn snow picture. I'm hardly likely to have found one of those. I think it is from near Boulder, Colorado.

No, this is not a autumn snow picture -- I'm hardly likely to find one of those. It's near Boulder, Colorado.

Washington, D.C. (DCA)
2.2 inches -- 30-31 Oct 1925
1.5 inches -- 19-20 Oct 1940
0.3 inches -- 10 Oct 1979

Baltimore, Md. (BWI)
2.5 inches -- 30 Oct 1925
1.3 inches -- 19-20 Oct 1940
0.3 inches -- 10 Oct 1979

Dulles Airport (IAD)
0.1 inches 19 Oct 1972
1.3 inches 10 Oct 1979


Why I Hate the Stock Market

I had planned to write more about my week and to complain about the agony of the past few weeks in having to suffer through this 15 to 20% rise in the frickin' stock market -- that penultimate embodiment of the financialized economy and society that only blows asset bubbles (popping with increasing violence), the instrument of corporate oligarchical intrigue in the late stage American Empire.

I despise the Dow Jones average (the DJIA) and all those indexes as the daily barometers of everything wrong with our Empire. It is morally offensive to every value I hold. (My own little 401-K that I was compelled to start about two months ago is 100% in Treasury bonds and bills, and I don't really care what you think about that.)

It is particularly dreadful to watch as "the market" "soars" on a given day or week -- such as because the GDP number inched up 2.5% in a meaningless way ...

... or the stupid Europeans came up with YET ANOTHER purported solution to the historical and tragic mess that is their euro dream [READ: As aptly described by the Great Paul Krugman, a 21st Century continent-wide version of a Gold Standard, a fiscal straitjacket run by German bankers, made unworkable by asset bubbles and uncontrolled capital flows, and its ruination guaranteed by the ECB and more generally the elite pundit class of "Very Serious People" with their "expansionary austerity" ideology, itself ultimately a global tool of deflationary economics -- as benefits the rentier class].

Ha ha -- Married ... With Children screenshot.

This is because it means a continuation of the American historical agony because it extends the awfulness of our time, if only because the Great American Classless Society Middle becomes duped YET AGAIN by the forces of oligarchical overclass intrigue of the supremacy of the Empire and its ways (even while really just being a tool of it).

Let's put it this way: The nano-second any middle-class office park cubicle drone needs his or her retirement, their stock portfolio will crash to pennies on the dollar as the oligarchical overclass steals it and enslaves them. And it's not just the GOP -- it's the Robert Rubin / DLC wing of the Democratic Party.

God Bless America. And The Washington Post.

The Washington Post. 

The elite rag that waves the Flag-of-Empire and the essence of corporate media amorality, false equivalencies, warmongering, and always-wrong-about-everything editorial nihilism.


My Week

Other than that, I actually had a decent week. The work function party I attended on Wednesday night at the Hyatt Regency in Capitol Hill was pleasant enough, except I went with some co-workers to the nearby bar My Brothers Place.

The main central hall of Union Station, Washington, D.C., 6:27PM, Oct. 26, 2011. (I went there heading over to the Hyatt Regency.)


My Brothers Place ... I have a storied history with that place involving, yes, Phil back when we were friends back in the mid-1990s). I should not have gone there. First of all, I was about 18 years older than most of the people there. Secondly, the shot I had was a mistake and I was in agony the next day (I even had to go into work 2 hours late).

The Center Cafe in Union Station at gloomy evening, Washington, D.C., 6:40PM, Oct. 26, 2011.


I didn't really stay that long, and instead, I took a cab (I'm not sure why) to K and 17th Streets and then walked up 17th Street before going home through the Gay Forbidden Zone. I'm not sure if I saw Mr. Sirius. BTW, I keep picturing him wearing that mask and in those Batman Underoos, or whatever that costume he was wearing in that Metro Weekly pic.

Gloomy fall evening, 1900 block, Washington, D.C., 6:26PM, Oct. 27, 2011.


OK, I think that's all for now. I am doing my laundry and watching funny reruns of Married ... With Children on TV Land. I will likely go to Larry's Lounge and/or Nellie's later.

G'night, all.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

High-Heel Races and Tightrope Walks -OR- Sunday in the Park & Midweek Good Reads

Updated 4:11PM 5/30/2014: See below.

The annual piles of pumpkins outside Allan Woods Flowers on Connecticut Avenue, NW, near Woodley Park Metro, Washington, D.C., 7:26PM, Oct. 22, 2011.

I say "annual" because there was a similar pile outside the place last year that I posted back then.


So what to write about? 

I think in this entry I'll just post several links to columns / op-ed pieces I read this week that I like. But I would also like to post some additional pictures that I took this past weekend. I'm still very remiss in posting the remainder of my Florida pictures.

The enormous house -- which resembles more one of those "residential" nursing homes -- at 3808 Huntington St., NW, next to River Rd., NW, Washington, D.C., 6:15PM, Oct. 22, 2011.

This house is located next to the one at 3816 (posted in my previous entry). I was walking with K. from our early dinner at Chadwicks -- and I walked all the way back home.


Updated 4:11PM 5/30/2014: Content removed


Sunday in the Park

Here are some images I took this past Sunday in Meridian Hill Park.

The bottom fountain of the network of terraced fountains in Meridian Hill Park, Washington, D.C., 4:50PM, Oct. 23, 2011.


No, I will never call it "Malcolm X Park" (as the D.C. Government has tried to do at times since the early 1970s) no matter how good of a man Malcolm X ultimately turned out to be.

However, for starters, above is an Google map aerial view of Meridian Hill Park showing it in relation to its surrounding Washington, D.C., neighborhood, with the park's boundaries highlighted in light green -- and my own building circled in red.

The park sits between the U Street corridor, Adams Morgan, and Columbia Heights.


For starters, the park's name is Meridian Hill for important historical and geographical reasons, specifically as quote from this NPS site, "because it comes from a proposal in the early 1800s to establish an official meridian or longitudinal base point, for map-making and other purposes, through the mid-point of the White House. A plaque at the upper entrance to the park from 16th Street takes official note of an 1816 meridian marker which stood on the proposed meridian."

The bottom fountain at Meridian Hill Park, Washington, D.C., 4:50PM, Oct. 23, 2011.


In addition, the park sits on the very East Coast fall line as it passes through D.C. between 15th and 16th Streets, and it is consequently very near the meridian that connects the North and South Cornerstone of the original Federal Territory of Columbia; and (2) the "Malcolm X" name, though dating to the 1970s, bespeaks of a certain 1980's sensibility and mindset during the heyday of Mayor-for-Life Marion "Mobuto Sese Seko" Barry.


Two white oak trees at the northwestern corner entrance of Meridian Hill Park ("MHP") at the corner of 16th and Euclid Streets, Washington, D.C., 4:35PM, Oct. 23, 2011.


A walkway on the west side of Meridian Hill Park on a pleasant fall day, Washington, D.C., 4:35PM, Oct. 23, 2011.


I don't have any images of the park's wide assortment of statuary of famous historical figures from Dante to James Buchanan, except for the one of the hapless Joan of Arc (see below).

The Joan of Arc statue on a Sunday fall afternoon, Meridian Hill Park, Washington, D.C., 4:40PM, Oct. 23, 2011.

The statue has been missing its sword for decades (long before I came to Washington and first saw it). I can actually see this statue, ironically enough, with the window open in my bathroom. I can see it between two buildings at the top of the rise atop which it she sits.


As it is, the park features a weird and eclectic hybrid of bums and homeless people, granola neo-hippies, weekend D.C. yuppies, Hispanic families, and that Sunday African drum circle crowd. For as "Occupy Wall Street" liberal as its crowds can be, it also can be a really dangerous place at night (one does not walk through it after dark alone).

To begin with, there were (as ever) a bunch of people practicing tightrope walking ...

Tightrope walking in Meridian Hill Park on an autumn day, Washington, D.C., 4:45PM, Oct. 23, 2011.

They do this tightrope walking barefoot -- and, in fact, a significant number of the crowd seemed to be without shoes or socks on. I don't quite get that. The tightrope guy, who was actually kind of attractive, seemed to be one of those people who looked like he could walk over a just-barely-cooled lava field sans shoes. Or through a grungy urban park. Not I.

Of course, I couldn't balance myself on a tightrope to save my life.


Congo Bongo ...

The African Drum Circle in Meridian Hill Park, Washington, D.C., 4:39PM, Oct. 23, 2011.

Apparently, this drum circle directly stretches back to the 1960's Civil Rights era and -- according to this Washingtonian article -- actually goes all the way back to the immediate post-Civil War period when freed slaves would beat drums at MHP and in Fort Reno.

With my apt. windows open, I can sort of (unwanted) hear this regular Sunday event.

Usually, I just keep my windows shut, have my window a/c turned on, and listen to the jazz and/or singers and swing channel on my RCN.



The southeast side of Meridian Hill Park at the corner of W and 15th Streets, NW, Washington, D.C., 4:52PM, Oct. 23, 2011. This is less than 1,000 feet from where I live.


Some columnar good reads ...

While ANYTHING by the Great Paul Krugman is worth a read, both on his regular New York Times-hosted blog and in his biweekly print edition column that is also available online, his Oct. 24th one, "The Hole in Europe's Bucket" is great.

Key excerpt:

"The story of postwar Europe is deeply inspiring. Out of the ruins of war, Europeans built a system of peace and democracy, constructing along the way societies that, while imperfect -- what society isn’t? -- are arguably the most decent in human history.

"Yet that achievement is under threat because the European elite, in its arrogance, locked the Continent into a monetary system that recreated the rigidities of the gold standard, and -- like the gold standard in the 1930s -- has turned into a deadly trap."

Apparently the little sign the Berlusconi doll is holding states, "I am innocent. The accusations do not touch me."


Some other good reads...

Michael Lind on why Bush's sky-trillion dollar, million-dead U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has been an unmitigated disaster four (if not six) ways to Sunday, so to speak, for the U.S.

Yes, this is an image from my Aug. 13, 2008 entry featuring photos of Bush drunk at the Beijing Olympics.

David Sirota on why America is (as I always like to say) an Imperial power, possibly in the late stage sense, in the traditional sense of that word.

Alex Pareene on Fred Hiatt and The WaHoPo's latest pile of steaming media poop: Its new political blog "The Insiders" to be co-written by two mindnumbingly compromised corporate whores of the sort that would be the envy of uber-corporate whore James K. Glassman (my analogy). It even quotes Fred Hiatt promising a civil debate and how much "fun" their bullshit will be to read.

Speaking of James K. Glassman, there was this story about a man, Mark Lindquist, severely wounded and badly maimed in the Joplin, Mo., tornado last April who lacks health insurance and has now $2.5 million in medical debt without a prayer of paying -- and who was just turned down for workman's comp. by Accident Fund Insurance Co., though the bad press caused the company to change its tune.

Aside from the fact that this is what the howling GOP base would love -- in particular if the man just died -- let's see what James K. Glassman has to say:

**Updated 4:11PM 5/30/2014: Content removed**


Yes, Metrorail car 1000 -- the first numbered in the original 1976 1000-series and "married" to car 1001 -- on the Greenline yesterday nearing U Street / Cardozo station, Washington, D.C., 11:36AM, Oct. 24, 2011.

I rushed home from work briefly.


Here cars 1001 and 1000 are seen accelerating out of the U Street / Cardozo / African American Civil War Memorial Station, Washington, D.C., 11:40AM, Oct. 24, 2011.


OK, that's really all for now. However, I would like to end with a particularly lovely Florida image. LP took this one with his digital camera -- rather than another one by me with my little cellphone camera.

Minutes after sunrise over the tranquil Atlantic Ocean as seen from room 421 of the Wyndham Hotel in Deerfield Beach, Fla., around 7:15AM, Oct. 12, 2011.


OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will be on Friday or Saturday.