Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Never Ending Entry -OR- Blog Swan Dive Turned Belly-Flop

David Boudia's winning dive during the 10-meter platform dive at the 2012 London Olympics. Here is the link for a large version of this picture.


OK, this is one of the entries I promised -- the the one I started on Monday night but had to stop more than once this past week. I worked on it for several hours Friday night and then a few more hours, adding content, on Saturday (when I finally posted it). This is why parts of it seem disjointed. I've spent about 10 hours composing this entry in all, which is absolutely ridiculous and shows how difficult composing these entries has become.

I'm home this Friday evening watching those strange and even surreal American family sitcoms from circa 1960 on Antenna TV including Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Bachelor Father, and even Dennis the Menace. I particularly like Bachelor Father with John Forsythe, Noreen Corcoran, and Sammee Tong -- and the only show that ever was on all three commercial networks (CBS to NBC to ABC).

Such a different time.

It was again too hot and humid on Friday in uselessly weatherless Washington, D.C., and our "60 percent" chance of thunderstorms OF COURSE crapped out, leaving the local weather casters thrilled, in particular, the Sue Palka-cabra creature.

There she is...


Tonight featured a few showers in the D.C. area but we mostly missed everything. AGAIN.

Weather Updated on Saturday: It actually rained a bit last night after I wrote the above part. I was at Nellie's, where I met Gary, and it was raining. It looks as though 0.17" fell at KDCA, 0.26" at KBWI, and 0.32" at KIAD.

As long as Mark Richards is happy. That would be the official National Airport record-keeper for the past, like, 35 years.

Sterling (LWX) radar in composite mode reflectivity, 2:03AM EDT, Aug. 18, 2012. This shows the "height" of the modest rain showers over D.C.

The weather today is much cooler with temps only around 82F and dew points barely 55F, so it feels far nicer.

As you can see in this picture of the view from my apartment here in Washington, D.C., this afternoon (12:51PM Aug. 18, 2012), it is quite pleasant outside. I love the sky fleeced with cumulus clouds like that.


Re. the high temp on Friday, it "only" officially reached 93F at KDCA, so by that measure we are still ONE day short of tying the record 28-days of 95F or higher set in 1980. And we are starting to run out of summertime time in which to do this easily.

And at this point we can -- gladly -- forget hitting the (suspect?) 1930 record number of 100F+ days in Washington, D.C. That record is 11 days and it is a pre-KDCA Washington, D.C., record. We're at 8 days.

As I've noted before, KBWI this year has tied at 6 its record number of 100F or higher days. This was also set in 1988 and 2010. All 3 years thus occurred at the current cooler suburban climate station than in 1930 when the Baltimore records were kept at the Custom House. This also means that 1930 could not have more than 5 days, or less than HALF the D.C. tally in 1930. I just find that 11 versus 5 days hard to believe.

It's not that I want heat -- I really hate it -- but rather, it's just that we've come this far and to miss it by 1 day (at least for the 95F or higher tally) is more than annoying.

There is also a rightwing political angle to it about "global cooling" rather than the obvious case of global warming underway.

But let's just sidestep that now (if only because I don't have enough suitable images to break up a long jeremiad). Besides, it just ends up with me posting pictures of James K. Glassman with his searing "I got mine" arrogance, his life nothing but a series of obscene justifications for whatever the overclass wants.

The right relies on -- indeed endlessly exploits -- both the way the American media is constructed to avoid "taking sides" and the usual "generalist" level of knowledge of American reporters / journalists and Beltway imperial court pundits on any topic. This allows for the exploitation of their "above the fray" self-righteousness and lack of intellectual heft. Think of Howie "Mistah" Kurtz and the  smarmy Anderson Cooper's "keeping them honest" schtick.

On the print media side, you just get the "he said / she said" Associated Press-style formulaic stories that clarify  nothing.

Put together, this is how we get that "views differ on shape of planet" mindset and media meta-narrative identified by Paul Krugman in which they duly report "both sides of the any issue" -- however anti-scientifically ridiculous, stupid, contrived, or rigged the one side -- in that "balanced" way.  

Then add in the high-level of ignorance of such a large fraction of the America population -- which gets nearly ALL its "information" from a combination of (1) fifteen minutes of watching Fox and Friends in the morning while getting ready for work; (2) five seconds of scanning a copy of USA Today above-the-fold while at the convenience store, and (3) ten minutes of watching their nighttime local news freak-show -- and there you have it.

As for the media's "balanced approach," this it is in iteslf ALREADY a complete surrender to the overclass and VRWC media and political Death Star.

In short, this is why our American media with its cult of "objectivity" is so useless nowadays -- it is constructed in such a way that it is incapable of (1) analyzing truth from falsehood; (2) calling out lies; and (3) recognizing the truly radical nature of the rightwing illiberal radicals who have completely hijacked the GOP.

And of course, I should mention that the electronic / cable TV media's own commercial and entertainment interests have severely exacerbated the content-free food fight nature of our stupid discourse.

Oh, and it's also why you end up with Jeanne Moos (such an eponymous name) fantasizing on air about Paul Ryan shirtless. God, the stupidity.

By the way, Paul Krugman has had some excellent pieces analyzing "the Ryan Budget" that has so titillated the Beltway crowd (Mother Marcus?). These piece are here, here, and here. He finds it to be as big a fraud as you knew it was.

Of course, I'm not so dumb that I believe these sorts of policy discussions move the American electorate. It doesn't work that way. It's either ignored OR it works the opposite way. But I just like to note, such as it is, the policy angle.


Speaking of the weather, as seen on Bartcop ...

Click on image for larger version.

Here Bartcop channels this blogger's feelings on the occasion of a cluster of drenching thunderstorms missing his home in Tulsa, where it has been evil-hot and dry all summer. Source: Bartcop edition #2923.


Turning to some London Olympics - related commentary ...

This was actually the ORIGINAL theme of this blog on Monday night ... Phew. 

I found that London 2012 closing ceremony inflatable octopus with British DJ Fat Boy Slim performing from a semi-concealed perch between its red-circled eyes quite fascinating.

My guess is that it actually represented -- in wonderful British self-aware way-- the erstwhile British empire's reach. I base this on the fact that the stage was designed with eight radiating walkways designed in the form of the British Union Jack, representing the interplay of the Flag of England / St. George's Cross and the Flag of Scotland / St. Andrew's Cross).

That was just my guess.

If it were held in America, it would have featured that  Frankensteinian combination you get of political correctness, vendible religious fundamentalism, corporate racketeering and shrieking commercialism, and jingoistic flag-waving with a twanging Toby Keith (to paraphrase a shirt one of The Dixie Chicks once wore on stage, "F.U.T.K.").

And, I guess, in keeping with that spirit, there would be flags, eagles, rockets, fighter jets dropping "freedom bombs," lifetime free NRA memberships, Toyota Tundra SUVs blowing out CO2 on stage by the metric ton, endless commercial tie ins for McDonalds and Walmarts and NASCAR, a pyrotechnical Statue of Liberty holding a gun and a Bible, and a giant plastic Jesus spewing LED-illuminated for-profit health insurance company vouchers to the grateful uninsured masses.

Perhaps they should have held the Olympics in Houston and let Lakewood Mega Church get in on the highly lucrative action.  Image source here.

Now if the 2012 Olympics indeed had indeed been held in the Washington / Baltimore area, the closing ceremony would have also all-but-naked, 19-year old females wildly jiggling and gyrating on stage to a "song" like this this . Or maybe this while some sun-glasses-wearing, ghetto-thuggish "Mac Daddy" panted and barked into a microphone. Oh, and in an homage to throwaway PC'ness, Glee-like, there would be someone in a wheelchair flying around on stage.

Put that cultural and commercial monstrosity together, and you have America.

And it would have occurred in disgustingly hot and humid weather under a thickly hazy sky at some stadium "venue" in Prince George's County with the WaPo and WTOP there to "cover the historic event" ...

... in all likelihood, at the half nun/half whore University of Maryland, College Krap campus, where William E. Kirwan and the academic mafia that run "the University System of Maryland" would've been doing a hokey-pokey dance about "the need to maintain this Olympic - style excellence" by jacking up tuition 28,000 percent in its never-ending MASSIVE and SYSTEMIC consumer fraudulent ways that result in lifelong indentured debt servitude for "graduates" -- all while with most of that tuuition money is laundered back into to the professional "college" sports racket.

Oh, and JUST FORGET about the great job at the end of that four year rainbow. That's a cruel desert mirage in America, early 21st Century. In all likelihood, you'll be working for free for the first 4 years of your life.

"Higher" education in America -- both the glorified grades 13 - 16 and assorted and dubious online / for-profit degree mills -- has associated with it a student loan system that is a trillion-dollar American-style bubble and scam designed to help the corporate oligarchical overclass. Higher education itself has devolved into something of a scam, albeit one that most folks need to endure for the sake of necessary degree.

I say that as someone with four (4) degrees from there -- including 3 masters -- and $8.02 googolplex dollars in student loan debt freedom that is a semi-permanent forbearance.I AM a walking case study of how the student loan system utterly failed -- unless, as I believe, it's goal in fact is to help the corporate overclass and blow financial bubbles out the wazoo. As for me, thank God for the Direct Loan program.

My four frickin' degrees from UMCP (including three masters ones) as seen in a former cellphone crummy camera image from June 2009. What a quarter-of-a-million-dollar, 15-year waste.

Look, here's my advice for someone on a TYPICAL 4-year undergraduate degree path:

First of all, know that higher education at the undergraduate level is mostly an extension of high school with the end result a "product" -- the degree -- that is a means to an end and thus often it is just a starting point, not an ending. It is NOT some "unique" quasi-religious experience. Treat it as such and try to minimize the cost in a smart way.

To wit, after high school, go to a good community college -- such as in our area either Montgomery County Community College or Virginia's Community Colleges system -- for two years. Then transfer in to a four-year public institution and get your degree.

It's FAR cheaper for an identical "product." In fact, it's probably intrinsically superior if only because you aren't sitting in a some idiotic Whatever101 class with 500 other people and then are stuck in a "discussion" section with some graduate TA who doesn't even speak English.

Thereafter, go to graduate school for a Masters ONLY if (1) it has some general applicability OR (2) you are quite sure of the specialized field in which you want to enter. And try, try, try to get scholarships or something that has tuition remission.

Finally, just keep in mind as you navigate the higher education system in America that it has conflicted and ulterior motives that are seldom aligned with that academic altruistic horseshit they spew in holier-than-thou fashion. It's a FOR-PROFIT business that feeds on Federal and State money as it seeks glory wherever and however it can find it.


If I can return to my Olympics closing ceremony commentary ...

I also loved the closing song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" by Eric Idle.

"Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" is a comedy song written by Eric Idle that was originally featured in the 1979 film Monty Python's Life of Brian. Above is a sing-along version performed as part of the Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy) comic oratorio performed circa 2009 with Eric Idle.


Unfortunately, as I was enjoying this, two pretty but nasty gay guys -- one a virulent rightwinger, something I find particularly noxious -- came into Larry's Lounge. I could tell this by the anger, no, hatred that spewed from him during an Obama political ad during a commercial break. I think this jackass must have been an off-duty cop and his presence prompted me to leave.

He probably subscribes to some sort of warped American libertarian ideology common among American angry white males who think they should control the totality of the Universe and anytime they realize they can't, they freak out in scary ways.

This type is distinct from the Wall-P sorts, who are such corporate yes-men that they flourish anywhere there is a overclass that needs to be protected, enriched, coddled, whatever.

There were lots of political ads for Obama and Romney during the 2012 London Olympics as aired in the U.S. on NBC. Remember we are living in the Citizens United-era George Will demi-paradise of unchecked, unlimited money in political campaigning.


Concerning David Boudia, who won the gold medal 10-meter platform diving event near the closing of the 2012 Olympics ...

By the way, regardless of what David Boudia himself, his handlers, and any ginned up Google search engine say about "a girlfriend", I strongly suspect he is so NOT straight and instead -- much like Greg Louganis all those years ago -- is totally gay.

I just don't see straight here.


OK, that's REALLY all for now. As I noted the other day, I'm probably not going to update this blog until about Wednesday owing in part to some nighttime editing work I have to do outside of my regular job. As for this evening, I am supposed to Quill in Silver Spring and go to her parents' house for a while. Then later tonight, I'm not really sure -- possibly meeting up with Kristof and his visiting friend.


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