Saturday, February 4, 2012

Weekend Stupor Bowl OR Positive and Negative Oscillations

The Big Sur coastline of California looking north toward the Bixby Bridge (right) and beyond.

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This is a Saturn Day Saturday update. I am having some issues this afternoon as a result of last night's dinner at Chadwick's in Friendship Heights, where I went to meet K., her parents, and her nephew and his girlfriend who were visiting from New Jersey, or possibly from the Campbell's Select Harvest New England clam chowder soup I had when I got home hours later from Nellie's.

Late night at the upstairs back bar at Nellie's, Washington, D.C., 1:59AM, Feb. 4, 2012. I guess I find that young man's body type quite appealing. He didn't notice me or the glass beer bottle on the floor that he kicked.

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I also went to Nellie's thereafter and got a bit drunk and walked home along U Street -- which featured its usual 3AM weekend night drunken gyrations and bumpin' and thumpin'.

At the end of what appears to have been an eventful Friday night out, a young lady half falls / sits down on the curb as her friend reaches down to help her at the corner of 14th and U Streets, NW, Washington, D.C., 2:57AM, Feb. 4, 2012.

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Time for the Stupor Bowl Annual American Ritual

I am planning on avoiding the Super Bowl entirely tomorrow as I have no desire to watch this annual American crap-fest.

In short, I find American football an especially vulgar, violent, and pointless sport that I do not like in the slightest.

Nor am I going to pretend -- as you are obliged to do -- to care about the commercial advertisements that are supposed to represent the brilliant artistic essence of billion-dollar corporate sponsors.

Then there is the halftime show.

Remember eight years ago now when The Republic -- still in a post-9/11 pro-Bush delirium -- very nearly collapsed in shrieking media and contrived rightwing GOP talk radio hysteria because of Janet Jackson's wardrobe and Justin Timberlake malfunction?

I preferred it back in the halcyonic 1990s ...

... when Kathie Lee Gifford belted out the National Anthem followed by fighter jets roaring overhead ... the thunderous sound of their billion dollar engines reverberating in a star spangled God Bless America patriotic frenzy in millions of television sets across the U.S. of A. (Note: The video quality of the linked YouTube clip is really bad and the account user's name is posted over it.)

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In keeping with the straight guy topics of sports and money, let's switch from the former to the latter ...

I have decided to be a hypocrite and move some of my 401-K money -- all approximately $800 of it at this point -- into a regular stock market fund rather than all in Treasury bonds and bills.

I might as well since it's not like I'm EVER going to see ANY of that money. I kinda doubt I'm going to reach some fictitious retirement age, and even if I manage to make it to old age, all that money -- not to mention the trillions in Social Security -- will have long since been stolen by the forces of corporate oligarchy that really run America, its libertarian philosophical gibberish notwithstanding.

Given that I am going to make this change, you may expect the stock market to plunge next week.

It has been steadily rising lately, but not because it represents anything of real worth. Indeed, it is still the central fixed casino of our financialized bubble economy pimped so relentlessly by our corporate media for the past quarter century for the sake of the corporate overclass.

Rather, its rise coincides with a belated and desperately needed improvement in the country's employment situation, including in its manufacturing base (the one the GOP couldn't wait to destroy rather than assist as did Obama). Needless to say, the improvement is still far too slow and weak to alleviate the suffering of millions. Taking into account the number of jobs lost in the 2008 crash and population growth, the U.S. needs at least 10 million new jobs need to bring the country back to full employment.

I mention this for the sake of "strict constructionist" corporate legal genius Wall-P since, as we all know, Wall-P doesn't work for his money but rather Wall-P's money works for him. Wall-P values his own value of his existence in a one-to-one correspondence to (1) how well his assets are performing and (2) quarterly billable hours.

Any significant drop in the first factor could adversely impact his upcoming matrimonial contractual arrangement.

He's marrying an Old World poisonous spider you know, and following successful legal negotiations on the prenuptial agreement, he has already picked out the diamond ring he will be giving her.

Pictured at left -- lovingly mounted by the jeweler -- is that diamond ring Wall-P bought for the spider.

This particular ring was the one rated best "Is What It Is" value for his money in 2012 Consumer Reports. Did I mention that the spider will be a June bride?

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A vintage 1940s-era Eskimo fan (possibly still in working condition) and a suitcase with some weird contents. This is a display at the J. Crew store at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, Friendship Heights, Washington, D.C., 5:52PM, Feb. 3, 2012.

My maternal grandmother had one of those Eskimo fans in the 1970s in her house on Henry Street in South Amboy, N.J.

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The Weather, Positively and Negatively Speaking

The weather today is overcast, dull, and gray and a bit chilly (around 44F at the 1PM hour) although we continue to have an unseasonably warm, blah winter across most of the Lower 48 including the mid-Atlantic region. Rain and maybe mixed with a bit of snow is forecasted for tonight. 

Schematic diagram of the positive and negative NAO modes.

I would like to return to the previous entry topic in which I mentioned the observation that the North Atlantic Oscillation is apparently out of phase with the Arctic Oscillation -- they are presently positive and negative, respectively -- and how I didn't realize that was possible since I thought they were both measuring the same thing. However, they are in fact somewhat different concepts.

Note: that is a highly scholarly / technical publication that defines these climate indices in terms of mathematical constructs such as "EOFs" -- empirical orthogonal functions -- that really won't make sense to most lay people, including myself.

Yeah, yeah, we know Kristof: you get it.

Here is a schematic diagram (taken from the Wikipedia article) showing the positive and negative AO phases. As a point of clarification, positive AO is associated with lower air pressures over the Arctic and negative AO is associated with higher air pressures in that region.

The NAO is associated with the difference in air pressure across the North Atlantic Ocean between the Azores and Iceland. It is positive when air pressures are higher over the Azores and lower over Iceland (i.e., the Icelandic low is stronger/deeper) and conversely it is negative when air pressures are lower over the Azores and higher over Iceland (i.e., the Icelandic low is weaker).

Negative NAO's are associated with cold and snowier winters along in eastern North America.

In the current situation, we have a positive NAO but a negative AO. The plot below that Gary made for me illustrates this situation.

This is a polar plot of the 500mb heights and 850mb temperatures at 0Z 02 Feb. 2012 (7PM EST Feb. 1, 2012). Note this situation clearly shows a positive NAO while the AO may be considered to be negative since there is so much Arctic air penetration across the middle latitudes of Eurasia.

Indeed, it has been a brutal winter across much of Russia and Europe that has resulted in many deaths.

And indeed here is the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) / NWS / NOAA plot of observed NAO and ensemble 7-day, 10-day, and 14-day forecasts. Despite some weather model run suggestions yesterday, it doesn't really look like any major pattern shift is imminent.

This shows a positive NAO since October with the index still slightly positive but trending down. Click for on image for larger version. 

And here is a CPC plot of the AO:

This shows what I believe to be a negative AO. It went out-of-phase with the NAO about two weeks ago (although, as noted above, the NAO is trending down).

However, I may be misinterpreting this chart since the vertical axis is a plot of above and below surface (1000mb) normal pressures and by the AO definition, the Arctic should now be in a positive phase (the same as the NAO).

Could one of my meteorology / atmospheric scientist guru friends clarify all of this for me?

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A beer on the counter top at The Saloon (the curious little bar on U Street with NO televisions), Washington, D.C., 6:51PM, Jan. 31, 2012.

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OK, I think that's all for now. I am still feeling a bit -- well, let's just say that I've been visiting my bathroom a lot this afternoon, counting the tiles and perusing my Michelin North America 2004 Road Atlas (the lead image of this entry is the same stretch of coastline as on the cover of the atlas) .

One last item -- my work week was actually a good one and I was quite productive.

A blurry picture of my TV screen tuned to a Soul Train episode aired on Centric TV this afternoon.

Right now I am watching TV as I write this entry. The Centric channel is showing a Soul Train marathon, prompted by the death of Don Cornelius earlier this week. It's odd watching 1970s black pop culture. Over on TV Land is Murder, She Wrote. (By the time I actually posted this entry, it was closer to 7PM).

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OK, that's all for now. It's now about 5:30PM and it's shaping up to be a rainy, chilly February night. There may be a touch of wet snow as well but basically nothing to accumulate, esp. here in D.C. proper.

The view from my apartment -- familiar to my regular blog readers -- looking at the intersection of 16th and U Streets and New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 5:30PM, Feb. 4, 2012.

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I'm going to try to meet Quill for dinner tonight at Woodley Cafe and then perhaps meet Gary at Larry's Lounge. I was going to update this blog tomorrow but given the length of this entry, I shall probably wait until Monday or Tuesday.

--Regulus

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