Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer Plans and Summer Places -OR- Home Sweet Away

The yard and side of the house at 1850 Mintwood Place NW, Washington, D.C., 6:24PM, May 31, 2012.

I got off the Metro at Woodley Park - Adams Morgan and walked home after work.


I started this entry last night -- intending to write a full entry - but I ended up spending a combined 75 minutes on the phone with my dad (in two conversations, the first one being interrupted) and by the time I started to compose a new post, it was already after 1130PM and I was too tired. I finally got to bed -- after a TV Land / Hallmark viewing night that concluded with a few funny reruns of The King of Queens -- around 12:30AM.

Stormy sky to the west behind T Street as seen from 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:31PM, May 29, 2012.


However, although I got a good 7-1/2 hour sleep last night and the first hour of the day started OK, it turned crappy for complicated reasons as I headed to work and then I felt lousy all day. This included an upset stomach and very fatigued legs.

Yours truly in the elevator in my old apt. building, Washington, D.C., 11:43PM, May 28, 2012.


Ironically, or perhaps not ironically but expectedly, I think it is my semi-sedentary office cubicle and nighttime all-sitting-at-the-computer existence that is doing this. My eyes were also itchy and I used Visine eye drops a number of times.

It didn't help that there was blazing sunshine all day tonight -- temps reaching about 85F, which isn't that hot for D.C. starting this time of year but there was simply too much sunlight and it was too dry.

NWS/NCEP/HPC U.S. Lower 48 surface forecast map issued 1928Z 31 May 2012 valid for hour 36 at 0000Z 2 June 2012

As it is, stormy conditions are forecasted for tomorrow afternoon into tomorrow night as a potent low pressure system moves out of the Ohio river valley into Ontario, dragging a complex frontal boundary across the Eastern Seaboard with this area not far from the triple point.

Of note, we had a drenching thunderstorms on Tuesday night in the immediate area. Officially, DCA had 0.51" of rain while Dulles/IAD had 0.93" while just 0.12" of rain fell at BWI.

View from the rooftop Beacon Bar & Grill Sky Bar as a storm approached, Washington, D.C., 8:00PM, May 29, 2012. I went there with my co-worker / friend A. and her group on Tuesday night. This is the view looking west across the jumble of buildings toward Connecticut Ave.

As for my phone call with my dad, I semi-finalized plans to visit him in dreadful Flagler Beach in July or August for several days.

I also arranged this week to take a four day trip with Gary to Wildwood, New Jersey -- staying in the Jolly Roger where we've been before.

SO! If this summer works out as planned, I may actually be off work a solid week and be away from D.C. 8 or 9 days.

This is the positive news.

Lightly roiled surf on a summer day, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 1:56PM, Aug. 16, 2010.


The negative news is longer term -- I'm expecting at this point a Romney (R-money) victory and a complete Teabagger / GOP sweep of Congress because of ...

... Red State religio-lunacy, rightwing AM hate radio and Fox News, post-Citizens United kooky billionaires run amok, the forces of corporate oligarchy and Wall Street asset bubble and rigged casino capitalism, and wussy Democrats ...

... all of which will combine in a Perfect Storm of Collapse of Empire.

This will include a rapid financial / economic collapse (within 6 to 12 months) and attendant social unrest married to corporate-fascist takeover and domestic crackdown, all in the name of Jesus. And whacked-out Red Staters will only vote GOP, to the extent elections will remain, all the harder and more frenetically.

I need a contingency plan on how to survive in that reality. As near as I can tell, it involves living with my dad down in that seaside of social wreckage that is north-central Florida. Actually, if I had to move to Florida, it could only be on /near the Florida Atlantic coast anywhere from Vero Beach / Jupiter and points southward.

In the shorter term, the real agony is having to go through the whole mind-numbing election this year. I've had to tune it out as much as possible.

Sunrise as seen from the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Hotel, Deerfield Beach, Fla., Oct. 12, 2011.

Of course, if I lived in Florida, it wouldn't be at the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Hotel.


Changing topics totally ...

I wanted to mention that Chester and I may do something interesting next month on a Saturday or Sunday, specifically, look for the northeast corner point of Baltimore City.

Here is a 1996 map from the (then?) Board of Supervisors of Elections of Baltimore City showing the precincts, wads, and councilmanic districts. A really huge version of this map is available here.


I'll have more to say about this in a subsequent entry. I looked for it once before way back in 1994 but sort of got lost in the tangle of woods just south of Garnet Road in Parkville at the edge of Double Rock Park.

Here is a Google aerial map of the northeastern geographic corner of Baltimore City -- whose present boundaries were apparently set in 1918 or 1919 and are (approximately) shown in this image -- and part of Parkville in Baltimore County, Md. (The county and city are separate entities.)

Garnet Road is the curving last street at the edge of the forested area. The area just inside the city boundary is Parkwood Cemetery.


Here is the Google aerial map of the northwestern geographic corner of Baltimore City -- shown in this image -- and part of neighboring Pikesville in Baltimore County, Md.

As for the northwest corner, that was is easy to find -- as I discussed in this entry here from the early days of this blog.

Here is the picture I took on Aug. 23, 2008 on a Baltimore outing with LP. The circled object is what I believe to be the northwest geographic corner marker of Baltimore City.

Ideally, such a daytime jaunt would on the Capital Pride weekend (June 9th - 10th) in order to get the hell out of D.C.

I wonder if Oooza the Unloved will be featured again on the Pride Guide cover.

About that 17th Street D.C. Gay Mafia, recently I heard there were some changes in its long-time power structure made by the Boss and involving the Capo (Oooza).

I also know that Mr. Sirius has a new feathered nest while still being part time in the 17th Street gay rookery.


Sanford & Son

OK, that's all for now. I'm watching a very funny episode of Sanford & Son called "Home Sweet Home" in which Fred's green causes him and his neighbors to lose out on a chance for Japanese family to buy up the block at a profit to them for a brewery ...

Some funny lines ...

(Miss Funai, while he was eating fish eyes that he thought were grapes:)

"Good! Very good, Mr. Sanford! You like the fish eyes!"

(Fred when a young man was approaching him with two large needles to do acupuncture:)

"Hold back! I know kung fu! I never miss, I never miss a show!"

(Fred talking on the phone to Julio, imitating Miss Funai's Japanese accent, trying to pretend he and his greed weren't the reason the brewery deal fell through:)

"And it's not Fled's Flault ... No, it's not Fled's flault! ... FLED! ... FLED!! I SAID 'FRED' YOU BIG DUMB PO'TA REEKAN!"

I understand that in real life the four-times married Redd Foxx was twice married to ethnic Korean woman.


OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will be over the weekend or possibly not until Monday night.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday's Suburban Maryland Tranquility Bay; In Memoriam to a Forgotten Mental Hospital

The life-affirmingly high spring green-cloaked tranquil yard just outside the house of my friend Chester located in Ellicott City, Md., 3:27PM, May 27, 2012.

As described below, I unexpectedly spent yesterday mid to late afternoon in suburban / rural Maryland in Howard and Carroll Counties yesterday.


Today is Memorial Day 2012. I am home since it is a Federal holiday and I have the day off from work. It is also hot, humid, and D.C. shitty outside with temps. already around 90F and dew points in the mid 60s to lower 70s Fahrenheit, giving a heat index well into the 90s Fahrenheit.

Here is the Sterling (LWX) NWS CWA map as of this afternoon, valid as of 349PM EDT.

I'm surprised WOODY! the Woodcock actually allowed a heat advisory to go into effect, since in pharisaical-style, we are not likely to meet the strict daytime definition of a heat index of at least 105F. 


Another tranquil view of Chester's yard, Ellicott City, Md., 3:34PM, May 28, 2012.


The highlight of my otherwise garden variety weekend, in-a-decades-long-endless, Washington, D.C., severely rutted life was meeting Chester yesterday in Mayland and going to his house in Ellicott City, then taking a walk along the freight train tracks and past an abandoned mental institution in a neglected part of Patapsco State Park, and finally having a pleasant dinner at a nearby diner.

Chester is a friend of mine from my meteorology graduate school days and a faithful reader of this blog. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and two children (a five year old son and a two year old daughter).

A pile of firewood along the back fence to Chester's yard in Ellicott City, Md., 3:33PM, May 27, 2012. He lives on a "woodsy" sidestreet off Columbia Road.

Both the setting and interior of house (which I did not photograph) was so peaceful compared to my D.C. life and setting. I forgot out peaceful it can be in the Maryland suburbs.


Here is a backyard fountain / miniature manmade pond on Chester's deck. There is a frog in the image at the edge of it next to a flowering water lily, half under a flattened rock.

Apparently, the total lack of winter weather last year caused a mini-ecological crisis with a runaway frog population that required intervention and transporting one large frog in particular to a nearby stream.



Chester and his wife M. also showed me the pics of what it was like during one of the three blizzards during the legendary winter of 2009 - 2010. The second blizzard was in particular worrisome for Chester as M. was a couple days away from giving birth to their daughter and it wasn't clear they were going to be able to get out to go to the hospital in time -- or, if necessary, if the 911 first responders would be able to get to them. Everything worked out well, though, and that situation did not arise.

As for me, I couldn't enjoy those blizzards, trapped as a 1099 "independent contractor" in the agony of the exploitative Bethesda Japanese turkey farm, itself a kind of intellectual sweatshop engaged in cheap research and, to the extent that it could, low-rent corporate espionage with illegal taping during rare interviews with industry reps or agency officials.

This was the sick place that Wall-P DEMANDED I remain at indefinitely.

"Eh. Eh. Eheheh. You were failing to add value to society. Therefore, failing that obligation, it was incumbent upon you --"

Ohhhh, shut-up, Wall-P, you thimbleful of corporate stoogery. 


Another view of Chester's tranquil, sunlit-and-shadowed yard in a placid green-cloaked suburban Maryland setting, Ellicott City, Md., 3:31PM, May 27, 2012.


A couple more driving images ... with tangentially related commentary ...

Here we were driving along Rt. 29 in Howard County approaching Ellicott City, 3:20PM May 27, 2012.

As the sign states, if you take this exit to Rt. 100, you will get to Glen Burnie, Maryland.

Glen Burnie, not only the Royal Family Jewel of Anny Runnell Kenny, Merlin ...

...  but also the 1980s Center of My Moral Universe and where -- although I am from New Jersey -- I spent a hideously unhappy and maladjusted high school period at shitty Glen Burnie High School, graduating in 1988.

I hate the memory of "GBHS" and will NEVER attend a reunion again (I attended either the 10 or 15 year event, I actually can't recall).

I also want to say how much I regret filling out the caption for my senior year book (which I long ago trashed) and having a "shout out" ("AUF WIEDERSEHEN!") to frickin' Kenny Burkman (we were in German class together), as if he were my friend when he was nothing of the sort. Of note, not one person mentioned me in their senior year book captions. Frig them.

I did enjoy, however, volunteering at the annual Big Glen Burnie Carnival event put on each year by the, yes, Glen Burnie Improvement Association with Mike and Luther ("ANCIENT G.B.I.A. SECRET, EH??") at the large food stand.


Sign for Baltimore, cropped image, location unsure -- somewhere in Howard County.


Forgotten Crazy and Sick along an Old Train Line ...

Thereafter, Chester and I then took a walk in a forgotten part of Patapsco State Park on the Howard - Carroll County line along an old freight train track and past an abandoned old mental institution and -- prior to that -- a tuberculosis sanatorium called Henryton State Hospital.

The Henryton Tunnel along a line of the CSX network (formerly part of the B&O line), approaching from the east end on foot along the tracks, Patapsco State Park, Md., 4:48PM, May 27, 2012. I think it is technically in Carroll County.

The tunnel was originally built circa 1850 and rebuilt in 1903 (the date carved atop the entrances). The train tracks and tunnel are still in use -- and apparently the tunnel has the distinction of being the third oldest train tunnel in the world still in active use (as considered from the original construction).

The place -- located in unincorporated Marriottsville -- is a bit sketchy because it is both abandoned / overgrown and yet so many local teenagers plus vagrants and addicts hang around the spot. On a hot day such as yesterday, there were 20 or so teens swimming in the nearby Patapsco River.

Above: The view approaching one of the larger buildings at the complex.

I guess there is more than a touch of the Blair Witch Project feel to the location. That too was set in Maryland farther up in Burkittsville.


Another view of the abandoned grounds of the Henryton State Hospital, Patapsco State Park, Md., 5:03PM, May 27, 2012. It looks a little like something out of a 1970s horror movie -- Burnt Offerings, anyone??

The Wikipedia article on the old institution is here. According to the article, the State of Maryland can't get anyone to take the place off its hands.


"Can Matthew Henryton come out to play??"

Yours truly at the abandoned Henryton State Hospital, Patapsco State Park, Md., 5:04PM, May 27, 2012.

Mr. Henryton wasn't home, but I saw this erstwhile patient roaming the railroad tracks.

It's OK to post this since no one on Planet Earth cares about my blog, and therefore no one reads it.


A group of teenagers walking toward the west end of the Henryton Tunnel, Patapsco State Park, Md., 5:11PM, May 27, 2012. As I mentioned, a lot of teenagers hang around this area.


This picture didn't come out very well owing to the glare of the Sun and my own crummy-quality cellphone camera but this was taken somewhere along a bucolic stretch of Howard County (unsure of location or road), Maryland, 5:38PM, May 27, 2012.


Chester and I then had dinner at the Double T Diner in Ellicott City, where I talked his ear off about, well, everything. Then he drove me back to Forest Glen Metro.

Driving along Rt. 29 in the ambiguous, far-flung Wheaton - Glenmont section of Montgomery County, Md., looking at the top of an approacihng line of thunderstorms coming down from Pennsylvania at dusk, 8:01PM, May 27, 2012.


Scary Underground Forest Glen Metro

I have to say that Forest Glen Metro is scary -- especially going into it, taking the elevators down into its deep subterranean bowels (the deepest in the whole Metrorail system, it is so deep that there are no escalators) and imaging all manner of terrible things happening.

The Forest Glen Metro station, one of the two Red Line platforms.

And then waiting for the train to come on the eerie underworld platform. The station manager is way above at ground entrance-level and only technology keeps you tethered to the world above. And then finally when the train comes -- making all kinds of weird noises in the tunnel as it approaches -- and you get the hell out of there, you are relieved, esp. going back above ground just before Silver Spring.

Thereafter, I went to Nellie's -- just as a thunderstorm arrived from the north north west. It rained for about an hour and as I estimated, it dropped about 0.2 to 0.3 inches of rain, although, although at DCA with its vicious rain gauge, this translated into just 0.05 at DCA proper. Area wide, BWI got 0.24" and IAD 0.30" of rainfall.


Turning to the weather ...

(The following part of this entry was written around 1PM this afternoon.)

Here is a NOAA satellite image of Tropical Storm Beryl as it was making landfall early this morning (shortly after midnight), May 28, 2012. I'm not sure which one of the GOES satellites this was or the exact time since I found this on a Yahoo news site and it wasn't specific.


Tropical Storm Beryl formed a few days ago and made landfall shortly after midnight today near Jacksonville (at Jacksonville Beach), Florida with 70MPH winds just under hurricane strength (which has a threshold of 74MPH sustained winds).

Here was the Jacksonville (JAX) NWS radar (in enhanced base mode reflectivity) at 12:47AM EDT May 28, 2012 as Beryl was making landfall.


The system, was initially designated a subtropical storm initially, and follows the mostly bogus Tropical Storm Alberto last week located off the South Carolian coast.

The system as of 1PM EDT is a tropical depression centered over Hamilton County in north Florida along the Georgia border. It is exected to recurve sharply / rapidly to the right ahead of an approaching strong upper level trough / cold front and graze the SC - NC coastline before rushing out to sea.

National Hurricane Center 5-day track for now-Tropical Depression Beryl issued at 11AM EDT 28 May 2012.


Through early afternoon, Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) has 2.21" in the past two days with top wind gusts recorded around 40MPH. Damage was minimal with mostly downed trees and power lines.

Flagler Beach, where my dad lives, was south of the center of circulation by about 50 miles. It had a wind and rain last night but it was an offshore flow there. Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) appears to have had only 0.40" in the past two days.

Jacksonville NWS (JAX) NWS radar (in standard base mode reflectivity) at 12:38PM EDT, May 28, 2012.

Owing to the shape of the U.S. Atlantic coastline, hurricane strikes on the northern Florida coast are rare. I believe Hurricane Dora in 1964 was the last hurricane to strike Jacksonville proper, though Hurricane David in 1979 got close.


OK, that's all for now. I shall end this entry with one more tranquil suburban Maryland picture from Chester's yard ...

...this one showing a bird feeder next to a fence. It was taken yesterday, 3:27PM, May 27, 2012, technically in Ellicott City, Md.


Well, this entry ended up being the main one I intended to write, so my next planned one will not be until Wednesday or Thursday.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Star Child and Star Wars at 35 -OR- Shoo the Hoodoo Away

Updated 11:45 May 17, 2015: See below.

Ah, yes, the most iconic scene in the whole Star Wars saga featuring a young Luke Skywalker watching the twin suns of Tatoo I and Tatoo II setting over the endless, pole-to-pole desert wastes of Tatooine.

A planet orbiting such a binary stellar system would be in a circumbinary or "P-type" orbit, which is likely gravitationally unstable and some more stable configuration would be required. In addition, the two stars appear so close to each other that there would be powerful gravitational tidal interactions between them.


"A Long Time Ago In a Galaxy Far, Far Away ..." (Part 1)

**5/17/2015: Content removed.**

I noted that it was the 35th birthday of MH ("Mr. Sirius") and added a bunch of other stuff that at this point, 3 years on, I think is best just flushed down the memory hole (to the extent that is possible).

** 5/17/2015: Additional content removed.**

Yours truly looking south along the Atlantic shore in Deerfield Beach toward Hillsboro beach, Fla., 12:37PM, Aug. 2, 2009.


"A Long Time Ago In a Galaxy Far, Far Away ..." (Part 2)

Today is ALSO the 35th anniversary -- released on the same day as Mr. Sirius was born -- of the release of the original Star Wars movie, and I do remember that.

I was a big fan of the first three movies. The next set years later, well, those should have never been made.

Also, I've come to agree with a certain view about George Lucas concerning the myth-making in which he so shameless engaged as the original triology unfolded.

It was Steven Hart who wrote it so aptly in a 2002 article in Salon: Lucas is a a galactic gasbag, all the more so in the way he pimped out the late Joseph Campbell (a philosophical bullshit artist himself) to create ex-post facto all the purported mythological underpinnings of the Star Wars saga.

More to the point, the Star Wars Universe is basically Nazi Germany and the Catholic Church (in its Spanish Inquisition-incarnation) writ large.

Ask yourself: Would you rather live in a Star Wars Universe or a Star Trek Universe? For any sensible, thoughtful, non-sociopathic person, that's not even a serious question.

I mean, George Lucas and his vapid corporate myth factory or Gene Roddenberry, creative visionary??

The Guardian of Forever in The City on the Edge of Forever, Star Trek: The Original Series


May 25th is also National Missing Children's Day ...

... because it is when Etan Patz went missing on May 25, 1979 in New York City. I was living in Long Branch, New Jersey (at age 9) and I have distinct memory of that whole event and how it dragged on into, if I may say it, "monstrous infinity."

It triggered everything that since followed including milk carton images, recovery memories, panics and hysteria, amber alerts, online lists and registers, and a full-throttled punitive, no, brutual state with its own vocabulary.

But just yesterday -- essentially 33 years to the day later -- there may have been an actual break in the case.


The following is reposted from my March 22, 2012 entry since it is sort of related to one of the themes of this entry.

From the Department of Partial Nuttiness ...

Oceania 1984 Meets American Gay Urbania 2012

With profound apologies to George Orwell (and only because I'm obsessed with the twin but unrelated topics of the social aspects of gay society and America's oligarchical overclass) ...

The Theory and Practice of Gay Oligarchical Collectivism

by Regulus

Chapter One

Gay is Straight

"Throughout the past 4 decades, and probably since World War II when gay discharged soldiers began to gather in large numbers in San Francisco, there have been three kinds of homos in the world, the A-List, the Average, and the Trolls. They have been classified and reclassified in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from bar to bar, but the essential structure of gay society has never altered.

"Even after enormous strides in widespread social acceptance and seemingly irrevocable positive developments, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way or the other.

"The styles and attitudes of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable..."

Adapted from the actual text here.


As performed by the Ambrose Mayfair Hotel Orchestra - Shoo the Hoodoo Away (1930)

Shoo the Hoodoo Away
By Ted Snyder and Charles K. Harris
©1930, Pegasus Records
Record release: Happy Days Are Here Again

Come on you darkies, I'm wailin',
There's sure a hoodoo around!
Lordy, Lordy
There's sure a hoodoo around!

We [--] folks, he is wailin',
But we must run him to the ground!
Brothers, sisters
We must run him to the ground!

Don't let your heart grow too heavy
Keep smilin' and maybe
We'll shoo the hoodoo away!
Though devil sure in a' harbour,
The good Lord keeps cover
He'll shoo that hoodoo away!
You’re always sweatin', frettin', hurtin'
Swearin', darin', Satan!

Oh, hear us Lord, Hallelujah!
For we're prayin' to Ya
To shoo that hoodoo away!


Sanford & Son episode "The Surprise Party" on YouTube, Part 2 at 6min 22sec

Fred, upon his return from St. Louis, gets wasted drunk when he overhears Lamont telling Grady that he was just as good at running the junk business and the house as Fred. Here he bumps into Aunt Ester in the middle of the night.

Aunt Ester: "Fred Sanford, you oughta be ashamed a yo'self! Just look at you ... Pants all baggy! Face all dirty! You just a messy fool!"
Fred: "And you just a cessy pool!


The weather continues to suck in that all the rain has, of course, missed D.C. proper, or at least that pure evil rain gauge at National Airport. And now it's just going to get too damn hot (90F-ish for highs) and too sunny.


Memorial Day Weekend 2012: Five-Sided Stop and Jazz Music

So tomorrow, I'm actually supposed to take a tour tomorrow with my friend / co-worker A. of the Pentagon. A mutual friend (in her group) works there. I've never been there in the nearly 20 years I've lived in and around the D.C. area.

Then I think we're supposed to go out thereafter, possibly starting at the Jazz in the (National Gallery of Art Sculpture) Garden. The Summer 2012 season kicks off today with the Tom Principato Band.

Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, 1999
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

OK, I think that's all for now. My next planned update may not be until Monday. It is the Memorial Day weekend and I have off Monday.