Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Interim Update -OR- A View from the End of July (2012)

Picture of a bridge in New York's Central Park that I found online here.


So I am in the process of composing the entry discussing my ill-fated, no, disastrous and cut-short Florida trip to see my insane old father but it is -- predictably -- taking a long time. I only have posted about half the pictures I intend to post and still have yet to create the full content. Honestly, I may not actually finish this entry for several days (possibly to the weekend).

Today I returned to work, although I took the morning off. I also went to the gym this evening and had a decent workout. Of note, I now weigh 179 pounds, so I'm down about 4 pounds from when I started and approximately 6 pounds from my peak weight (185). My goal is 160 to 165 pounds by year's end and to be fit. I'm still too fat.

The weather today was actually NOT disgusting for summer but rather the way summer ought to be -- yes, rather warm (89F for a high at KDCA) but humid (67F - 69F dew point) with a southeast breeze with lots of puffy cumulus clouds and scattered showers. There is a better chance of needed rainfall this week.

NWS forecast for Washington, D.C., 31 July - 03 August 2012.


By the way, an extreme and dangerous heatwave with crippling drought continues to afflict the southern and central Great Plains centered on Oklahoma. This summer is rivaling the Dust Bowl era summer heat waves. The only reason we don't have major dust storms is because of the far superior agricultural land management practices.

Here is the Tulsa, Okla., NWS forecast office's county warning area (CWA) page as of tonight (11:06PM CDT, July 30, 2012).

I haven't heard whether Oklahoma's Sen. James "Greatest Hoax" / "No Gays in My Family for 200 Years" Inhofe is still spewing about "global cooling" from his "Al Gore's igloo." Idiot jackass, not to mention the dumbest Senator of the 100 right now.  But you can be sure Teabaggers everywhere and the rightwing billionaires and forecast of corporate oligarchy behind them are yowling nonsense about it, and Wolf "The Whore" Blitzer will take "an indepth look at both sides of the issue."

Here is the political weather for Tulsa, Oklahoma ...

Bartcop lives in Tulsa ("K-drag," as he calls it). He once described Inhofe (on his internet radio show he used to do) as follows: 

The single small turd sunk at the bottom of the water in an otherwise flushed toilet that you sometimes see in public restrooms. He also uses the descriptor "pissquik" when describing him.


In the meantime, as ever, read Paul Krugman's blog and op-ed columns (scroll down to "columns").

OK, I'll try to post the planned entry in a few days. I also need to post the images Wendy sent me of some of her travels.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

"I Love Her ..." -OR- A Foreshortened Flagler Beach Visit (Part 1)

**Updated 10:17PM 7/29/2014: See below.**

Daytona Beach ("Main Street") pier in its renovated form, complete with "Eat at Joe's" sign for the new location of the Joe's Crab Shack chain that is located there, and the gurgling surf, Daytona Beach, Fla., 2:48PM, July 27, 2012.


I'm back from my Florida trip early ... I had to abort it because my dad is, well, an insane old man -- yes, sex, crack, and old -- who tried to pull a particularly nasty surprise on me with an ambush literally within 3 minutes of meeting him at the Daytona Beach airport (DAB).

Yours truly on the Daytona Beach pier, 2:38PM, July 27, 2012.


It involved the ONE ISSUE around which I drew MULTIPLE bright lines and to which he agreed -- the presence of the the in-and-out-of-jail drug addict ("I LOVE HER ..." the balled up, leathery, 71-year old, pathologically amoral troll yowled in the car during a screaming fight from the airport) and her adolescent daughter.

Crossing the Florida coastline over Daytona Beach on final approach to DAB, 7:41PM, July 26, 2012.


But what the amoral troll thought he could "present" me with -- or, more likely and even worse, did this and was utterly indifferent to my reaction -- helped to form the basis for a two day / two night vacation, of sorts, on the Florida Atlantic caost. I first spent one night in frickin' Flagler Beach in a so-so motel there and the second night, I spent 15 miles or so south in hotel in Daytona Beach. I then return on Saturday, arriving at DCA at 10:25-ish.

Towering cumulus cloud near Macon, Georgia -- at the edge of a large thunderstorm complex -- 6:58PM, July 26, 2012.


I need to collect my thoughts on all of this and post a lengthy entry, complete with at least half of the 45 pictures (some rather nice, mostly in Daytona Beach or of clouds) that I took. I have posted eight of them in this entry. It may take me a while, so to my THREE readers who look at this blog, DON'T BE SURPRISED if the entry isn't posted until Thursday.

Daytona Beach boardwalk looking north from the edge of the pier, 3:29PM, July 27, 2012.


The whole debacle cost me about $434 extra beyond what I planned to pay, but I had a cushion of $150 built into my budget plus another $100 from a reduced monthly defaulted credit card payment settlement (it's $25/month but I've been paying $100+ per month and was going to pay $150 -- I'm half way finished).

**Updated 10:17PM 7/29/2014: Content removed.**

Passing near / around a thunderstorm located close to the Florida - Georgia border just off the coast near Jacksonville, 5:34PM, July 28, 2012.


I want to send a big thank you to all my friends AND to my mom who were so there for me during my very difficult two days. And thank you, Gary, for picking me up at National Airport tonight. As for that flight -- from Atlanta Hartsfield (Stonewall?) Jackson -- I saw an incredible lightning display on the way back. Oooh, and the incredible view of Metro Atlanta at night I had from the jet on take-off ascent from the airport.

The Daytona Beach pier, southside, and the lightly roiled Atlantic surf, 3:22PM, July 27,2012.


OK, that's all for now. I PLAN to post another entry sometime between later today (Sunday) and midweek (Wednesday). I have a lot of details that I want to add, including about the folks I encountered while down there and my thoughts and views on things. Oh, yes, I will be reposting at least some of the pics from this entry in addition to the many others.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pan Am World Airways Flight 001: Idlewild Airport to KXFL -OR- Off to Flagler Beach

My apologies to my readers but I totally ran out of time ahead of my visit to see my dad, and I did not get a chance to post another entry. I refer in particular to the images that Wendy sent me (sorry, Wendy!). I will post them after I return.

Well, I only have a few minutes at home this morning before I head over to Pan Am's Worldport at Idlewild Airport* to catch my flight to Beirut via Paris National Airport to catch my scheduled flight to Daytona Beach via (frickin') Atlanta Hartsfield. The airline will be serving pâté de foie gras and lobster with champagne a packet of peanuts and a thimbleful of watery soda pop.

*OK, technically, it was known as New York International Airport - Anderson Field, but still.

I suspect we will be doing the downriver take-off today, so no view of D.C., even though I got a window seat on the correct side for an upriver takeoff.

OK, that's all for now. I'm off to visit my dad in Flagler Beach ... Sigh ... It IS on the Atlantic Ocean, though.

It is unlikely I will update this blog before my scheduled return on Tuesday night, July 31st.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Entry #700: Runaway Greenland Melting -OR- Sallying Forth and Movin' On Up ...

Satellite measurements of surface and near surface showing melting anomalies on July 8th and July 12th, 2012.


OK, sweetie, there's A LOT to talk about, but alas it is 12:07AM as I start this entry and I'm tired and drunk, having had a few drinks at Larry's Lounge with Kristof -- but AFTER a decent gym workout tonight -- my third in three days running.

Alas, I will not be able to go to the gym tomorrow and not until the day after I return from my Florida trip, which makes it next Wednesday (one week away).

I think that I've lost about 5 pounds now -- I'm definitely down to 180 pounds even from what was probably 186 pounds, but let's round it to 185 pounds.

I need to update this blog before I head down to Florida (Flagler Beach ... to see my dad ... *sigh* ... I'm not exactly thrilled but it is something I have to do.)

But right now, there are important things that need to be referenced ...



First off, two satellite-based sensors -- one aboard ISRO's Oceansat-2 and NASA's MODIS -- indicate that at least the uppermost part of the icesheets of Greenland appear to have undergone a runaway melting episode for several days earlier this month across virtually the entire surface -- and this follows record heat across its glacial interiors.

Here is a direct link to the NASA article.

Image at left: Greenland melt day anomaly, 2011 versus 1979 - 2010 average, source here. This shows the extreme melting at the edges of Greenland.

Could this be it??

Could this be the start of the catastrophic melting / breakup of the Greenland icesheets that leads quickly to a thermohaline catastrophe and new Younger Dryas??

We know, Kristof -- "WE NEED MORE DATA!"


A few other items ...

America's first female astronaut Sally Ride -- who rode aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in June 1983 and later in 1984 -- has died at age 61 from cancer.

Sally Ride aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in June 1983 on her maiden voyage into low Earth orbit.

BTW, Sally Ride was gay and lived with her partner for many years. So the first American female astronaut in space was a lesbian. Here is her New York Times obituary.

I think that's awesome. (A gay guy likely couldn't do it -- 'cuz he drinks too much and had emotional / neurotic problems.)

Speaking of (maybe) gay, actor Sherman Hemsley, forever known as the diminutive, aggressive, bigoted George Jefferson from The Jeffersons -- and earlier than that, All in the Family -- has died at age 74. I mention it this way because in all likelihood the reclusive Hemsley was gay. Here is his New York Times obituary and here is his Newsday obituary.

OK, those cover the main topics I wanted to discuss. I will try to update this blog tomorrow (Wednesday) night or Thursday morning before I leave. I still need to post the images Wendy sent me.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

All Global Cooling in a Day -OR- Summer Heat, Now and Then

Birdbath in the small, shrub-filled yard of 1734 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 7:02PM, July 21, 2012.


Entry #699

In this entry, I would like to discuss the weather, in particular, the delightfully cool and showery conditions we had across the Washington / Baltimore area this past Saturday, July 21st, 2012. The pictures include those that I took while wandering about my Dupont neighborhood.

Damp and delightfully cool day, 1900 block New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 6:55PM, July 21, 2012.


It was the coolest July day in at least a decade and comes immediately after the relentless record heat of this summer (not to mention the past two summers). I also want to post some observations about the summer of 1930 -- the supreme record-holder for 100F+ days and all-time record high of 106F in Washington, D.C., but I've already discussed the latter topic (it was really 105.6F, which we effectively tied on July 7th this year).

I had intended to avoid a political discussion -- other than to note Paul Krugman's excellent climate related op-ed on Monday in The New York Times, but upon reflection, that is neither possible nor even desirable. If this bothers my few readers, then just skip the content and look at the pictures.

This past Saturday (7/21/2012), under cloudy, misty, occasionally beneficially showery skies region-wide, it only reached 71F at Reagan Washington National Airport station (KDCA). BWI Marshall Airport station (KBWI) and Washington Dulles International Airport station both reached 69F. All three were record low highs for the day, that is, "min maxes." How rare are those types of records today??

The view of from the inside of Cosi on Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D.C., 7:23PM, July 21, 2012. It was very peaceful there as I had a TBM sandwich and listened to a kind of fusion jazz music.


This was not only the coolest high temp. on July 21st ever at these spots, but it was the coolest July high at KDCA since July 26, 2002 (also 71F) and the coolest at both KBWI and KIAD since July 29, 2001 (69F and 67F, respectively).

Cue the Fox News / GOP Death Star / VRWC shrieks of "GLOBAL COOLING!" while Teabaggers start yowling about Al Gore claiming to have invented the internet and the latest feverish bullshit about Obama's birth certificate.

Then cut to George F. Will writing some pseudo-erudite bullshit WaHoPo piece that starts as follows: "Cicero states in De re publica, 'True law is right reason in agreement with nature.' Liberals, by seeking to bend nature to their desired outcomes at the expense of true liberty, show themselves to abhor both right reason and nature ..."

And Fred Hiatt and  Ruth "Mother" Marcus get all tingly all over.

Say Mr. Will, has your current wife tossed your possessions out the window again lately for your latest infidelity?? Make sure you discuss THAT when talking about the "vulgarian" Bill Clinton. Note to readers: I personally LOVE the topic of rightwing sexual hypocrisy, esp. among public figures. It's the gift that never stops giving.  

About that Arctic sea ice cover, here is an update:"Death Spiral Watch: Arctic Sea Ice Takes a Nosedive". And here is a UK Guardian article whence I got the above images.

And the Whore $treet Journal editorial board will vomit up some rhetorical Exorcist-like pea green soup that Howie "Mistah" Kurtz will feature in his "balanced" segment between some rightwing corporate pundit a-hole and the USA Today science reporter, who won't dare take a side.

Mr. Sirius / a.k.a., Matthew H., on vacation on the Barents Sea, Novaya Zemlya.

But before I get too far down a political road -- especially since (1) the month is still averaging area-wide through Sunday +4.2F to +5.0F above normal, and (2) considering how absurd it is on the face of it to assume anything about the global climate from a couple of spots -- but let's review the summer of 2012 through today ...

So far in 2012 at KDCA

No. of days with 100F+ highs: 7 days;
No. of days with 95F+ highs: 18 days;
Record number of 100F+ days: 11 days - 1930;
Record number of 95F+ days: 28 days - 1980;

So far in 2012 at KBWI

No. of days with 100F+ highs: 6 days;
No. of days with 95F+ highs: 18 days;
Record number of 100F+ days: 6 days - 1988, 2010, and 2012 (so far);
Record number of 95F+ days: 23 days - 1991;

The 11 days in 1930 has also certainly been cited by inside-the-Beltway corporate whore climate change deniers-on-the-Koch Brothers / Bain Capital payroll.

A gas lamp outside 1904 R Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:44PM, July 21, 2012.


Baltimore and Washington Summer 1930 Heat Records*

*I just don't have a lot of good images for this section.

Postcard of Baltimore Inner Harbor Harbor and downtown, circa 1929. The city probably was not this clean -- certainly not the harbor water.


But that's not the angle I want to take. Rather, I want to discuss the D.C. versus Baltimore records of 1930. First off, D.C. had 11 days of 100F+ or higher while Baltimore had no more than 5 days (since 1930 is not included, so it cannot be any higher than 5).

Another Baltimore Inner Harbor view from the 1940s. I think this is a postcard image. It's hard to tell in these "colorized" old images.


This is at least a 6 day difference which seems very hard to believe because the two cities have the same climate and are close enough that the weather in events such as heat waves is for all intents and purposes the same. Anyone who lives in this area and follows the weather will understand what I am saying.

Baltimore skyline, circa 1963

Assuming the 6+ day difference is real, then it has to be due to some microclimate effect. For starters, in 1930, neither National Airport nor BWI Airport existed and the recording station in D.C. was located in downtown D.C. (either on G or M Street NW) and in Balitmore was located at the U.S. Custom House. Source of information here.

Aerial view of Federal Triangle and the National Mall, Washington, D.C., 1935.


While the downtown D.C. location may have been warmer than the current KDCA spot, which is located along the tidal Potomac a few miiles south of the city, the U.S. Custom House spot was a notoriously warm one right up until it was decommissioned at some point in the 1990s (and replaced by the KDMH one at the Science Center).

The only conceivable microclimate location I can think of is air pollution. Yes, air pollution. Consider that at the time, Baltimore was a city filled with heavy, belching smokestack industry including legendary Bethlehem Steel. By contrast, D.C. was not.

Sparrows Point Bethlehem Steel plant belching back on a winter's day, January 1973.


So it may have been the case that the air was just a lot more smoggy / "overcast" in Baltimore than in D.C., and this actually reduced the temperature. But this is only a guess on my part, and I will never know.

One last item on the summer of the 1930s -- the Dust Bowl. The anomalously hot and dry conditions over North America's Bread Basket was undoubtedly worsened by the bad land management methods of the time, resulting in the giant "dusters" that blackened the skies. In that sense, the Dust Bowl had a "human" finger print.

Scary-looking dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas, April 18, 1935


OK, that's all for now. Oh, yes, one last tidbit about Saturday's weather: the KDCA low was 67F, giving a diurnal range of just 4F. Apparently, this is only the 10th time in Washington, D.C., on record that a July day had a diurnal range of 4F or less.

In terms of precip, the most tally between the 18th and 21st was 0.80" at KDCA, KBWI had 2.32" and KIAD had 1.78". We're still well below for the year, though.


1518 R Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:54PM, July 21, 2012.


I went to the gym tonight and had a decent work out. But I'm still, meh ...

My next planned entry is actually tomorrow night as I would like to post a series of wonderful photographs that my good friend Wendy took on a few of her global travels. And thereafter I will post a farewell entry ahead of my scheduled 5 day visit to see my dad down in Flagler Beach, Florida ... sigh ...


Friday, July 20, 2012

It Happened One Night -OR- Rain in the Dark

Updated 6:45PM 7/22/2012: See below for update.

I wish I knew where this photo was taken. It's a rainy late spring / early summer evening in a city park.


It is an overcast, breezy, thickly humid July evening with air temperatures around 75F and dew points around 71F here in the District of Columbia. There has been a flash flood watch in effect all day region-wide but only modest amounts of needed rain have fallen through 7PM including 0.10" at National Airport (KDCA), 0.02" at BWI Airport (KBWI), and trace at Dulles Airport (KIAD).

The Sterling (LWX) NWS advisories for its county warning area (CWA) on its main page, updated 8:09PM EDT, July 20, 2012 showing the flash flood watch and flash flood warnings in effect.


The weather advisories for the Eastern United States as shown on the NWS Eastern Region main page, valid 8:16PM EDT, July 20, 2012.


However, there is a quasi-stationary boundary undulated across the region with a shortwave along it that is helping to trigger batches of heavy rainfall just west of D.C. back into the Potomac highlands and Blue Ridge. So there may be some additional rainfall. We need the rain, but not sudden flash flooding rains, of course.

A cluster of drenching thunderstorms crossed the area last night with 1.04" of rain at KBWI and 1.02" at KIAD. As for National Airport, it only had 0.42" but more than that fell here in this part of the District.

The LWX NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity, 8:16PM EDT, July 20, 2012.


Another Dark Night, American-Style

Jacob Stevens and his tearful mom hug in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012. Jacob was interviewed as a witness by the Aurora police after last night's movie theatre mass shooting.

Concerning that mass killing of at least 12 people and 59 or so injured at the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado just after midnight at a showing of the new Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises ...

Tom Sullivan and family members wait desperately for information on his unaccounted for son, Kevin Sullivan, who was in the theatre last night when it happened. Kevin was there for his 27th birthday.

Updated 6:45PM 7/22/2012: Kevin Sullivan was subsequently confirmed as being among the dead, source here.


The only thought I want to relate is that there is that there is a nutty streak in America that is the twisted and sick variation of the "rugged individual" that is ...

... transformed into the "lone wolf / lone gunman" -- usually with crudely and violently rightwing political leanings springing directly from America's warped, nativist, and wacky ideologies -- that produces these mass shootings with some regularity.

Add into that America's psycho-sexual obsession with amassing fire arms, and there you have it.

What the U.S. lacks in terrible political violence that other countries have, it partially makes up for in having a society with so much violent crime -- with this "lone gunman" element as the most random and disturbing part of it.

Police crime scene tape around the Century 16 theatre complex in Aurora, Co., where last night's mass killing happened.


This shooting is apparently the largest in American history in terms of casualties because of the numbers injured -- put at 71. Maybe James Holmes will get a special NRA "Lone Wolf" award.

Such mass shootings will happen again and again and again.

As for the picture of the lady (Tammi Stevens) with her son (Jacob) -- here in a slightly different perspective -- it tells such a powerful story. This is why I love photojournalism – for all the aspects and traumas of the human condition that it can capture and communicate.


As it is Friday, I want to link to Paul Krugman's New York Times op-ed. Today's was entitled "The Pathos of Plutocrats" and my favorite quote:

"Because the rich are different from you and me, many of them are incredibly self-centered. They don't even see how funny it is -- how ridiculous they look -- when they attribute the weakness of a $15 trillion economy to their own hurt feelings. After all, who's going to tell them? They're safely ensconced in a bubble of deference and flattery ... [F. Scott] Fitzgerald again, about the very rich: 'They think, deep down, that they are better than we are.'"

As ever, I strongly recommend reading Paul Krugman's NYT-hosted blog.


Friday Night Old TV Show Viewing ...

I'm home this Friday evening watching TV -- the 1950s / 1960s sitcom reruns shown on Antenna TV including Father Knows Best, Bachelor Father, and Leave it to Beaver. I'm watching Father Knows Best, and it's a surprisingly dark and complex episode (considering its socially constipated 1957 world setting) "Margaret Disowns Her Family."

I like Jane Wyatt's character but I can't help but find Robert Young's Jim Anderson character annoying what with his non-stop, know-it-all happy smile and somewhat condescending attitude that he exudes through most of his scenes.

As for Billy Gray, he is still around and going strong at age 74, but back in 1983 -- just six years after he was in a Father Knows Best Christmas time reunion movie -- he rather strongly repudiated the whole show. He has a big collection of racing types of motorcycles.

Jane Wyatt later played the role of Spock's human mother Amanda in an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series and in the 1986 movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

I've really gotten to like the show Bachelor Father with John Forsythe and Noreen Corcoran (pictured above in a promo photo from 1961), and Sammee Tong, who plays "house boy" Peter Tong. No, not the British DJ, Pete Tong.

Sammee Tong as Peter Tong (left) and Peter Tong, a.k.a., Pete Tong (right).

Kristof, you look just like him. Sammee Tong, that is. Ha ha.


So tonight I think I am going to go to Nellie's. I need to go to the gym tomorrow and either Sunday or Monday. I would prefer to go on Sunday so that I can get a haircut on Monday -- since I'm starting to look like a salt-and-pepper Chia Pet again -- but I often get such a late start on Sundays and the YMCA closes at 5:30PM.

At this point, I am supposed to go with my co-worker / friend to the Wednesday night Screen on the Green movie on the National Mall. Usually these summertime "SOTG" movies are on Monday nights but next week it is on Wednesday night. The movie being shown is It Happened One Night.

Then on Thursday I head down to Florida to visit my dad in -- *sigh* -- Flagler Beach, flying to Daytona Beach. I am scheduled to return on July 31st (the following Tuesday).

My next update will be either over the weekend or Monday. Oh, yes, as I post this at 10:30PM, the flash flood watch has been dropped. The predicted rain was mostly a bust.