Friday, April 6, 2012

"Ballin' the Jack" and Walkin' the D.C. Sidewalk Track

I wrote this entry mostly earlier tonight but didn't post it until about 1:20AM on Friday.

The late 19th Century corner house at 1623 16th Street NW -- at the corner of Corcoran Street between Q and R Streets -- this evening, 6:56PM, April 5, 2012.


This is just a quick Thursday night update. I wanted to post some pictures that I took while walking home from work this evening. I walk home typically once and sometimes twice a week -- I never walk to work in the morning as I NEVER have that much time. However, my normal route is up 12th or 13th Streets NW and stopping at No. 9 for its two-for-one happy hour and then home.

The decrepit cement steps that connect D Street SW and L'Enfant Promenade, Washington, D.C., 5:57PM, April 5, 2012.

L'Enfant Plaza -- a sprawling architectural abomination next to an equally ghastly freeway (I-395) ... the offspring of warped mid-20th Century urban planning and the the related  Le Corbusier / Modernist "Form Follows Function" crypto-fascist architectural crimes against human and environmental decency. (Of note, the architectural designer I.M. Pei is still alive at 94 years of age.)

The Smithsonian castle as seen from the Enid Haupt Garden, Washington, D.C., 6:03PM, April 5, 2012.


This evening I followed a route -- into the blindly bright early evening sun -- west northwest from L'Enfant Plaza to the White House and thence north up 16th Street and home. It's about a two mile walk but across the tourist-clogged National Mall and traffic-clogged / semi-chaotic downtown at rush hour, and so it took almost an hour.

The Washington Monument silhouetted with a dazzling Sun sinking toward the western edge of the world, 6:06PM, April 5, 2012.


I have been having a busy work week, except ONCE AGAIN one of the two tasks I do is drawing most of my time and detracting from my ability to concentrate and finish up a recommendation report for a small school district in Oregon. I really don't want to be pulled off that task but it should not take me 7 weeks to two months per report from start to finish -- that's just too long -- and I'm going to be called on it at some point.

Tourists -- likely a father and son -- walking along 12th Street NW just off the National Mall heading toward Constitution Avenue, Washington, D.C., 6:08PM, April 5, 2012.

The son was probably about 12 years old -- and already 5'10" and about 210 pounds. I guess it's that corn / corn syrup, all-fried McDonalds-centric and Wal-Mart-friendly American diet.

More generally, tourists descend on D.C. in the springtime -- to adapt a profound phrase in a very different context -- "in monstrous infinity."


The weather in the D.C. area and much of the eastern U.S. just remains dry, dry, dry -- we are quickly setting up the antecedent conditions for a nasty summer drought given the dryness of this spring. DCA is already 3.78" / 40% below the year-to-date normal of 9.47" on precipitation.

The warm winter and abnormal / record-setting March warmth has given way to seasonal weather and it might actually be a bit below average next week as an upper level low stalls / retrogrades off the New England coast.

The view from 15th Street (a block from the White House) looking east-northeast "up" New York Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., sunlight glinting off a building's window, 6:33PM, April 5, 2012.


It was actually quite a nice day today with deep blue skies, brilliant sunshine, and temps. around 60F -- a good 15F cooler than yesterday -- but we really need rain in the spring for both the trees, vegetation, and agriculture, not to mention for hydrological reasons ahead of summer. However, all the impulses / shortwaves that have been transiting the Lower 48 and affecting the mid-Atlantic are very weak and moisture starved.

The Sterling LWX NWS crew and their pet Sue Palka-cabra she-devil dragon creature are thrilled at the prospect.


The 18Z GFS shows the next chance for measurable precip. here on Tuesday and then a much bigger and wetter system next Friday, April 13th, but that is 8 days away and a lot can change.


I'm watching the reality TV show Mary Mary on We TV about the eponymous named sister singer duo.

I've really become fascinated by Nicki Minaj lately -- ever since that stunning, genuinely shocking performance she gave at the Grammy Awards in late February. As described last week in a New York Times article A Singular Influence, it was "part exorcism and part Broadway spectacle."



J. sent this YouTube video link to me of the adorable baby pygmy hippo "Monifa" at Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney.

Oh, and on a related note ...

Here is a related video of the hippos at the Berlin Zoo being fed. The larger one on the right bears an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Sirius, in particular when he expects / demands / collects his nightly bar tips.


Musical Interlude

'Ballin' the Jack ...'

Oh, and I was listening to the Soundstage program with Bryan Wright on and he played the song Ballin' the Jack -- and it was stuck in my head while walking home, so I'll just post the lyrics:

"First you put your two knees close up tight,
Then you sway 'em to the left, and then you sway 'em to the right,

Step around the floor kind of nice and light,
And then you twist around and twist around with all your might,
Spread your lovin' arms straight out in space,
Do the Eagle Rock with such style and grace,
Put your foot way 'round then bring it back,
Now that's what I call 'Ballin' the Jack' ...!"

The song first came out in 1913. Yes, it is an odd phrase -- and it sounds a bit obscene, but apparently all it means is dancing and having a great time, although it may have actually come from a railroad expression "going at full speed" (see here). Any dirty connotations came later.

Here's Brenda Lee performing Ballin' the Jack in 1960.


I'm supposed to meet Gary and Kristof tonight in a little while at Larry's Lounge. I'm supposed to meet my mom and Ray on Saturday at the College Park Metro station and then go to Annapolis with them for dinner and then stay overnight at their place in Millersville before returning to D.C. on Sunday (probably via New Carrollton station).

The Out White House as seen from Lafayette Park, Washington, D.C., 6:33PM, April 5, 2012.


Another view of 1623 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., earlier this evening, 6:56PM, April 5, 2012.


OK, that's all for now. I will try to post an entry on Saturday night but there is a chance that I may not update this blog until Monday night.


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