Sunday, May 13, 2012

All Summer in a Day (Part 2) -OR- The Washington Weekend Sweetheart Tree

Summer Afternoon on a Lake by Jean-Léon Gérôme, c. 1895


Not a lot to talk about today.

It is a sunny, pleasant, breezy Sunday spring afternoon with temps around 78F here in the Capital of the late-stage American Empire where I reside. Washington, D.C., that is.

The view from my apartment -- except looking to the northwest past the Brittany and the opulent-looking Camden Roosevelt (I've never been inside it) toward Meridian Hill Park -- on a pleasant May day in Washington, D.C., 2:04PM, May 13, 2012.


I am home home composing what I intend to be a short entry (but I always intend that and it seldom happens). I am listening to the RCN Music Choice channel 891, the easy listening one. At the exact moment I type this sentence, the song playing is the Robert Mandell version of My Blue Heaven.



Weather Update

It looks like it is going to get cloudy soon and the forecast is actually a rather wet one tonight into Tuesday night.

Here is the NWS forecast panel from the Sterling (LWX) webpage for the grid point 2miles NNW Washington, D.C., valid May 13 - 17, 2012.


Of note, the NWS is redesigning this page.

Here is what the new version of that will look like. I hope Sterling at least got "buy in" from the Sue Palka - cabra she-creature.


All Summer in Day -- Film Adaptation

OK, right now the music instrumental playing is a version of "Summertime" (sung most memorably by Sarah Vaughan).

And in that spirit, and as a follow-up to my previous entry, I would like to post the three YouTube videos of a 1982 adaptation of Ray Bradbury's short story All Summer in a Day. (Actually, I intended to post it anyway.)

The total run time is about 28-1/2 minutes. It is overall faithful to the short story, except the story is not set on a "rain world" version Venus but another unnamed rain world planet in another star system. The duration between times when its Sun emerges is 9 years rather than 7 years. The protagonist Margot talks a lot more than in the story and she is from a specific town in Ohio (Willard) rather than just being from the state.

And the whole part about picking flowers and giving the bouquets to Margot -- and the forgiveness she shows toward her tormenter in the end when he is shamed and shunned by his classmates for locking her in a room -- is not in the original story.

As it is, in the Bradbury short story, the vegetation of rain world Venus was nothing like Earth's -- and there would be no suddenly flowering meadows in which to run around, frolick, and pick flowers that immediately bloomed after 7 (or 9) years of non-stop rain.

All that aside, and without further ado, I give you the videos ... (the image quality is rather dark as well so just bear with that) ...

Part 1, All Summer in a Day


Part 2, All Summer in a Day


Part 3, All Summer in a Day


The Tree of at U and 3rd

Looking up into the leafy boughs of the spreading willow oak tree that grows in the yard at the corner of U and 3rd Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 6:40PM, May 12, 2012. For explanation, see below.


As for my weekend, I really don't have much to say about it. I actually took a walk with two co-worker friends and another person yesterday (we made an unlikely quartet) to find a large tree that grows in LeDroit Park and that I can see looking east see waaaaay down U Street (north side) from 16th Street NW.

Here is the tree -- I've now no doubt that it the one I can see between 13th and 16th Streets NW looking east down U Street -- as seen from a short way down the block of the 300 block of U Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:41PM, May 12, 2012.


It appears to hang in mid air slightly to the right/south of the "vanishing point" of the street, but that disappears behind other objects (trees and buildings) once you get to about 12th Street. (I had actually located the tree on July 31, 2011 as discussed in this entry I but never actually walked there.)

The tree as seen from a block away at the intersection of 4th and U Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 6:57PM, May 12, 2012. Yes, it was kind of a vapid early evening in terms of the available light.


The tree actually is in the yard of the house at 1922 3rd Street, a large, detached home that is being thoroughly renovated after what I am sure were decades of decay. It is located in LeDroit Park at the corner of 3rd and U Streets, and given how the main part of U Street dead ends at Florida Avenue, you have to walk in a somewhat circuitous route -- ours took us past Anna J. Cooper Circle in that lovely but erstwhile dangerous, now highly gentrified section of D.C. (It can still be a sketchy area where you have to be cautious and would not want to gad about at night.)

The house at 525 T Street NW, Washington, D.C., 6:30PM, May 12, 2012. (Isn't this a Mansard roof in Second Empire style??)

The reason we ended up on T Street is because of how Florida Avenue intersections / cuts off U Street for a period, running toward the east-southeast.


A house on Anna J. Cooper Circle at T and 3rd Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 6:35PM, May 12, 2012.

Again, the light was not very good at this time of day. I also did not get a good photo of the small sidestreet circle itself or the small holly tree that grows at the geographic center of the circle.

Here is a picture of Anna J. Cooper Circle looking down from one of upper floors of the houses along it. The picture is from flickr here.

The circle is named for Anna Julia Hayward Cooper who lived there (at 201 T Street). She was one of the great African American figures of the late 19th Century -- not to mention a graduate of the Sarbonne, where she earned her Ph.D. You may read about her life here and here.

She died in 1964 -- at the age of 105.


A rather ornate looking -- or at least ornately painted -- row house along Florida Avenue at the edge of LeDroit Park, Washington, D.C., 6:26PM, May 12, 2012. I think this is the 600 block of Florida Ave. NW but I'm not exactly sure.


Thereafer, we all went to Nellie's for food and drink. I ended up staying longer than them -- indeed, I was there until about 130AM and then walked home.

While there one of the members of the 17th Street gay mafia showed up.

I refer to "C.H." or "CSH" -- pictured here at left.

While sometimes a bird, this image captures his essence as that of the horse's backside in this or any other reality.

Of note, I have not seen the three key members of that mafia, to wit, the Consigliere Donald "the Duck" and his Co-Consigliere the Turkey Vulture and the Capo (or Caporegime) himself, Oooza the Unloved. And you never actually see The Boss himself -- he lives a deeply secluded life.

Here Oooza the Unloved gets ready for his close-up in the 2011 Capital Pride Guide video take ahead of last year's frickin' D.C. Capital Pride. I realize that annual bullshit is coming up soon -- time to suffer through another yearly installment of it.

As it is, I guess Metro Weekly will have to fill its required quota of Oooza images during the whole dreadful event.

An image of the actual little brood of Oooza chicks from which he was hatched circa 1974 (he's the middle one), I believe in Southern California, although he looks more New York.


Another Robert Rubin / Alan Greenspan - style "Master of the Universe" (Temporarily) Falls to Earth

Story here.

JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon's reputation is -- for now -- badly damaged after his firm loses $2B in credit default swap financial chicanery gone wrong. JP Morgan is -- as Matt Taibbi so famously described of Goldman Sachs -- another "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity" investment bank.

Taibbi's current blog entry on Dimon is worth a read, too. An excerpt:

"If you're wondering why you should care if some idiot trader (who apparently has been making $100 million a year at Chase, a company that has been the recipient of at least $390 billion in emergency Fed loans) loses $2 billion for Jamie Dimon, here's why: because J.P. Morgan Chase is a federally-insured depository institution that has been and will continue to be the recipient of massive amounts of public assistance. If the bank fails, someone will reach into your pocket to pay for the cleanup. So when they gamble like drunken sailors, it's everyone's problem."

Dimon -- pictured here in a $1,000 suit in his JP Morgan mugshot corporate photo -- is one of those Wall Street crooks who have only amassed more money and power in their parasitic financialized bubble machine that still defines America's economic and financial structure today -- 4 years after the crash that nearly brought on a Second Great Depression (and in fact brought what Paul Krugman aptly calls "the Lesser Depression").

But don't expect anything to come of this. that's because "too big to fail" JP Morgan will, if necessary, be immediately bailed out at taxpayer finance, and go right back to plundering trillions for the Wall Street financialized oligarchical elites.

Uh, oh ... Wall-P is rolling itself over and it's going to say something in its know-it-all, rapid-fire, binary-speak way...

"Eh. Eh. Eh. Investment banking and its financialized instruments such as collateralized debt obligations are the basis of wealth generation and therefore underlie and undergird all morality from a standpoint of shareholder value --"

Ohhhh, shut-up, Wall-P, you thimble-full of nonsense.


Ross Douthat: Rightwinger Who Makes A Good Point

BTW, Ross Douthat, a rightwinger pundit in The New York Times who occasionally has good insights, has an interesting op-ed in today's print edition -- available online here -- stating that the Obama administration is actually RELYING on cultural warfare issues including on supporing gay marriage and highlighting the GOP's long-running War on Women to fire up its base and distract attention from the shitty economy, thus mimicking in an inverted way George W. Bush's 2004 strategy.

Now Douthat also states that Obama is being "demagogic" in talking about how the GOP wants to destroy Social Security, not to mention Medicare, but that's just media whore-speak for anyone who points out the basic truth that the Republican Party itself is very open about: The destruction of those last two vestiges of the social democratic compact that exists between the Federal Government and the American citizenry.

Social Security and Medicare remain the two programs on which the vast majority of the 99 Percent relies as a foundation for its survival in a brutal and amoral oligarchical corporate capitalist economy run for the benefits of plutocratic and oligarchical interests. Instead, the GOP seeks to return to an updated 21st Century 19th Century-style corporate oligarchical system dependent on wage slavery for those in the working / laboring class.

And to the shitty libertarian types who say, "That's how it should be," they and their philosophy are as stupid as they are immoral.

Where I agree with Douthat (and I'm adapting what he said slightly to makie my own point) is that it is dangerous for Obama to run this sort of campaign when the economy is so bad since it openly rejects any attempt to reach out to the beleaguered white working class. Instead, it relies on the effectiveness of appealing to progressive cultural issues for gays and women that, however laudable, will not win him a single blue collar "Reagan Democrat" vote.

Rather, the combination Obama's cultural liberalism and the "otherness" with which he is (unfairly) viewed by these voters will ensure he loses states such as West Virginia and Kentucky by 20 to 30 points in the general election to a multi-millionaire corporate robot whose estimated $250M wealth equals the per capita income of 11,000+ residents of each state.

Look, FDR didn't win reelection in 1936 by promising to give blacks in the viciously apartheid-ridden South full civil rights equality, or by pledging to ensure all states had no-fault divorce laws. This is the 2012 updated equivalent to Obama's reelection strategy. FDR did it by delivering economic hope to suffering millions.

The Obama strategy is the EXACT OPPOSITE of FDR's strategy -- and for that matter, it's sort of the inverted version of Nixon's Southern Strategy, or at least what an updated version of it would be. And it is a foolish and risky one to follow in this economy.


OK, I think that's all for now. My next planned entry will be either on Monday or Wednesday night (I have at this point plans on Tuesday night). My next entry will be my 666th one on this blog. Just sayin' ... Oh, yes, and I also discovered that so far I have used 30% of my allotment of 1124Mb of available image space.

I should be at this rate good for another 5 years (unless that old rule about a 1,000 blog entry limit holds, in which case I would run out of blogging ability here in about 2-1/2 years).


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