Monday, April 16, 2012

Joan of Arc in the Park Gets a Makeover and the Six Million Dollar Man(sion)

The fully renovated Joan of Arc statue in Meridian Hill Park, Washington, D.C., 5:26PM, April 15, 2012.

To my surprise, the statue had been totally renovated since the last time I was in the park. She even has her sword back, or rather a new one to replace the one missing for many years. I saw the sword from the distance (from V Street) and had a feeling the statue had been renovated, and went there before going to the Harris Teeter grocery store.

Here is another view of the renovated Joan of Arc statue, Meridian Hill Park, Washington, D.C., 5:25PM, April 15, 2012.

By contrast, this is what the pre-renovated statue looked like (and what is still on the Wikipedia article about the park). I'm not sure when the statue was put there -- probably over 80 years ago -- and it had oxidized green* and the sword long gone. (The statue has lots of statues ranging from Dante to Pres. James Buchanan.)

As for Meridian Hill -- not Malcolm X -- Park, it was in its usual Sunday eclectic melange state with that African Drum Circle thing going. The very warm spring weather made the crowd that much larger.

*Does this mean that the Statue of Liberty was originally dark copper brown instead of oxidized green?? Yes.

The Sunday crowd in Meridian Hill Park, Washington, D.C., 5:26PM, April 15, 2012.


Oh, and here is the terraced fountain on the southside of Meridian Hill Park, Washington ,D.C., 5:22PM, April 15, 2012.

Oddly enough, the fountain shut off as I was walking up the steps.


This is my planned Monday update.

I took today off from work because I was not feeling well this morning as my allergies / head cold flared up badly. In addition, last night was an excessive night at Larry's Lounge, although it was fun. But I am still chagrined at myself for missing work. I hope I don't get into trouble. There was nothing in my e-mail to suggest that. Indeed, the head manager was in the Maryland office.

The turrets on the house the corner of 17th and V Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 1:47PM, April 16, 2012.

My cellphone camera was taking blurry pictures this afternoon -- maybe it is crapping out and will revert to that shitty camera quality I had in my cellphone camera back in 2008 and 2009.


I'll try to make up the 8 hours over the course of this half-monthly pay period that just started today. I took a Zyrtec instead of the Allegra or Claritin.

I ended up taking an afternoon walk over to Georgetown and back, having a late lunch at a mid-afternoon Monday week day nearly empty Mr. Smith's, where I talked to the bartender.

The weather was sunny and hot today with highs in the upper 80s Fahrenheit -- about 20F above normal. Again. In fact, it reached 90F at BWI -- the first 90F day of the season and tying the 90F daily record set in 2002.

DCA reached 89F (its daily record of 92F set in 2002 stayed safely intact) and 88F at IAD (its daily record of 91F set in 2002 also unchallenged). It reached 91F at the Maryland Science Center but there isn't a 30-year climate normal for that location yet. (As I vaguely recall, that station was commissioned at some point in the late 1980s or early 1990s).

If the old Custom House station (once and for many years Baltimore's official record-keeping spot) were still recording, it would've surely reached 92F or 93F on a day such as today.

The Russian Cultural Centre located on Phelps Place in the Kalorama section of Washington, D.C., 2:24PM, April 16, 2012. There was a big burly guy with a noisy leaf blower blowing leaves, dust, detritus, and pollen on the sidewalk.

I hope the fact I posted that image and text doesn't attract all kinds of strange hits and crap from and God-knows-what.


The spring drought continues a pace but there is a chance HOPEFULLY of a closed / cut-off low developing over the Southeastern U.S. on Saturday and lifting across the mid-Atlantic by Sunday. However, as noted in the Sterling LWX afternoon discussion, that is still five days away and the model runs (GFS and ECMWF) are inconsistent both internally (today's 12Z GFS was much wetter than the 18Z GFS for the mid-Atlantic) and with each other on that feature, so it's best not to play up that possibility right now.

The 12Z 16 April 2012 GFS run showing 3 hour precip., MSLP, and 850mb temps valid for hour 150 (18Z 22 April 2012).

IF this scenario pans out, it would give us a couple of inches of badly needed rain. Now it is possible that none of this may come to pass and the drought will only intensify.

In the meantime, there is also a chance of rainfall tomorrow night into Wednesday as a shortwave trough moves across the Carolinas with some Gulf Mex moisure perhaps reaching as far north as D.C.


Political Polling ...

As a quick political note, I wanted to point out that the Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of polls for Obama and Romney shows the following for today.

The current difference between Obama (blue) and Romney (red) is +3.2 for Obama (47.3 versus 44.1).

The fact that it is this close speaks to the insanity and disturbing reality of America in the early 21st Century but that's a whole separate topic.

And here is a list of the individual polls making up the average. I'm unsure if they are all equally weighted. Click on image for larger version.

In terms of the state by state polling, the current configuration has 227 either strongly for or leaning toward Obama (161 and 66, respectively) and 170 either strongly for or leaning toward Romney (131 and 39, respectively) and 141 as toss up. The magic number, of course, is 240.

The TPM site's polls consistently show Romney ahead because it disproportionately represents the daily Rasmusseen tracking poll, although apparently the Gallup daily tracking poll just instituted for the 2012 election also have Romney ahead.

By contrast, the WaPo / ABC polls have Obama well ahead (7 points in a poll earlier this month) owing to a massive gender gap created by the GOP's "war on women" involving demonizing those who even use birth control. Astonishing. But America is just nutty enough that the strategy might work. I mean, it's guaranteed to get at least 40 percent of the electorate. Then it's just a battle of half of that last 10 percent.



Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- taking a break from her non-stop grueling schedule -- dancing and enjoying herself in the Cafe Havana in Cartagena, Colombia on April 15, 2012.

This was at the end of the Sixth Summit of the Americas that brought together 34 countries in the Americas except Cuba. The U.S. position of excluding Cuba from the summit was bitterly criticized by other nations.

Here is another picture of Secretary of State Clinton in the Cafe Havana in Cartagena having a beer and enjoying herself.


Political Elections from Years Gone By ...

The RCP site has an interesting feature showing the Electoral College map results for all U.S. presidential elections back to 1972.

The 1972 map looks like this. This magnitude of a victory makes the Watergate scandal -- and the paranoia of Richard Nixon that led to it -- seem so ridiculous.


Here is the 1976 map, showing what a different dynamic was in place compared to today's "red/blue" split. Jimmy Carter -- from Plains, Georgia -- swept the South except for Virginia. And New Jersey went for Ford. (I vaguely remember this election. I was living in Long Branch, N.J., and my grandmother was for Carter and my grandfather was for Ford.)


Atrios' 10 Year Blogoversary and the Wanker of the Decade

Speaking of the Wa(Ho)Po, the blogger Atrios -- whose blog Eschaton is celebrating its 10th anniversary tomorrow -- has had the "Wanker of the Decade" award series. It has started with no fewer than 10 runners up with the actual Wanker of the Decade to be announced tomorrow.

The runners up list is here. The Mark Halprin is Runner Up #4. The write up for him -- direct link here -- is very funny.

The 1st Runner Up for the Wanker of the Decade is none other than Fred Hiatt, the long-time editorial page editor of The Washington Post. Direct link is here.

I just want to post a few excerpts of that piece. In this part, he was discussing the unsigned WaPo editorials rather than the signed op-ed columns from his stable / brothel of neocon imperialists and apologists for the oligarchical overclass.

"Some years back I had a wee epiphany when I realized that, for the most part, we aren't supposed to to read the WaPo editorial page. It isn't actually for us.

"It's a means for certain elites to send messages to each other, a way for the 'Gang Of 500' to take their battles public, to signal their interests and priorities. There are some exceptions to this, some columnists who write for readers, but for the most part it's simply a conversation by and for elites. If you're good enough, smart enough, and, doggone it, Fred Hiatt thinks you're important, there's no limit to the amount of bullshit you can have blessed by him. On his page is where the Washington Consensus is defended daily, truth be damned.

"Krauthammer. Broder. Hoagland. Kristol. Novak. Cohen. Lane. Cupp. Thiessen. Kurtz. Samuelson. Diehl. Kelly. Noonan. Will. Ignatius. Parker. Marcus. Milbank. Gerson.

"Some of these people are no longer with us, and I have no idea which ones Hiatt is really responsible for, but I'm a lazy blogger so I'll just throw them all in his column. Imagine assembling this collection of horrors, and being proud of it..."

Although not listed, if only because he is no longer part of the main D.C. pundit-scribe crowd (he lives in Connecticut) and never was a key player per se, I would add James K. Glassman. However, this is a long topic, appropriate for a stand-alone entry. (I once knew Glassman back in the 1990s.)


The (mostly empty) Spanish Steps fountain at the dead end of 22nd Street NW in the Sheridan - Kalorama section of Washington, D.C., 2:27PM, April 16, 2012.


A couple other items ...

On Saturday night, I got a ride from A. and I. back into D.C. from the barbeque in Arlington (just beyond Ballston in the residential area). I was in the back of A's car -- a nearly 40 year old Volkswagen with those white straps that reminded me of my mom's green Volkswagen. There was no seatbelt, esp. as the car's old gears were slipping and we were tearing along on I-66 to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge, so it was a bit dicey. The backseat was down and I was seated on it while holding her dog, who had come to the picnic as well.

Downtown D.C. (or rather, the area just south of Dupont Circle) was in its usual weekend nighttime club-goer filled chaotic state.


The Spanish Steps from the top, Washington, D.C., 2:29PM, April 16, 2012.


I'm home tonight watching the line up of reruns of The Golden Girls and Everybody Loves Raymond. But I am profoundly tired and need to go to bed.

Looking up into the spreading boughs of a massive oak tree that grows next to the Spanish Steps just off 22nd and S Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 2:31PM, April 16, 2012.


Oh, yes, I'm supposed to have that firewall added tomorrow (it was supposed to be today but I didn't go into work). So I will find out if it has any adverse effects on my blogging abilities or site metering observations.

CORRECTION: Quill informed me that these flowers are irises, not tiger lilies, growing in the plot next to the Miller House - also called the Argyle Guest House -- at 2201 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 2:35PM, April 16, 2012.


The house at 3033 N Street NW in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 2:55PM, April 16, 2012.

I found online that this 9-bedroom, 8-bathroom house was appraised at $6.33 million. I don't think I'll be buying it anytime soon.


OK, that's really all for now. My next planned update will be on Wednesday night.


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