Sunday, September 30, 2012

Exogenous Shock Watch: Awaiting October and its Surprises

Updated 9:10AM 6/3/2014: See below.

A pile of pumpkins outside of Whole Foods Market on P Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:01AM, Sept. 30, 2012. I was leaving Stoney's when I took this picture. For a variety of reasons, I am not a fan of Whole Foods and almost never go there.


OK, I am finally completing this entry on Sunday afternoon. I started it initially as a Friday night entry that (instead I posted a shorter one -- see previous entry). I then tried to complete it last night but ran out of time because Wendy and I had dinner plans.

A full Moon riding high above Washington, D.C., veiled lightly by clouds as seen through the boughs of a very large elm tree that grows at the edge of Lafayette Park next to the White House. This was around 930PM, Sept. 30, 2012.

Wendy and I went to the Old Ebbitt Grill down by the White House. We sat at the Old Bar. It was actually not crazy crowded there and we had no trouble getting two adjacent bar stools.

Thereafter, we went to No. 9 and later (after Wendy had departed) to next door Stoney's, where Howie was working at the downstairs bar.

I'm supposed to go to a picnic at Jake's house in Arlington later this afternoon. It is actually for Andrea's husband ("I") because it was just his birthday. This crowd is all about 30 years old -- nearly 13 years my junior. However, as you may know, I am loathe to leave the District, esp. to venture into "NoVa" and esp. on the weekends. Well, for that matter, any time. I would venture to guess that about 98 percent of my life in the 7 years has been spent inside the D.C. Bubble.

A flower bed of chrysanthemums growing along the sidewalk at the corner of 16th and P Street NW, Washington, D.C., 4:21PM, Sept. 29, 2012. This is next to one of the multiple Scientology places that exist near Dupont Circle. In fact, I think they upkeep this flower bed.


Earlier yesterday, I went to the YMCA. I jogged for a full 45 minutes plus 5 minute cool down on the treadmill. If the display was to be believed, it was about 3.8 miles and just over 500 calories. I then did some machine-based weight-lifting (yes, I know that's probably not the most ideal, but it's better than nothing), and then swimming for a bit before the place closed at 6:30PM.

I weighed myself and was at 168 pounds (actually, more like 167.5 pounds) or down 15 pounds from my first time weighing myself on it back in late June when I rejoined, and down 17 pounds from that disastrous "know your numbers" event we had at work on June 15th -- the event that finally got me to rejoin in the gym -- and I clocked in at 188 pounds and she subtracted out 3 pounds for clothes for a net weight of 185 pounds. And my other vital stats were kind of crummy, too. These too are improved.

My 12 sessions with the YMCA personal trainer "T" -- a young, bulky yet softly muscular, attractive, quite straight African American fellow about 27 years old -- start on Monday. They are Monday and Thursday nights, ostensibly for 6 weeks.


Here are a few other items from what I wrote over the past two days while trying to compose this entry, adjusted to make contextual sense.

First, I had to update my 9/12/2012 entry because it appears that I misheard the lyrics of the opening theme song "And then there's Maude" as sung by the late Donny Hathaway to the 1970s show Maude.

Here was the third season intro to the show. I would love to know where that house was / is located (I'm sure it's still there). It has to be in the NYC suburbs, quite possibly northern New Jersey.

The line is question is "THAT uncompromisin'" rather than "BAD AT compromisin'" -- I'm fairly certain that's what he's saying. What it most definitely is NOT is "THAT OLD compromisin'" as it appears online on various lyrics websites.

Secondly, and speaking of Maude, I was watching on Friday night the only channel that I know of that actually airs the show. That would be Antenna TV. However, on Friday nights, as I've noted before, it airs really old sitcoms such as Father Knows Best*, Bachelor Father, and Leave It To Beaver. It also includes The Jack Benny Program. On Friday, one of the episodes ("Jack Does USO Show") had Liltin' Martha Tilton on it to sing a song. She was wonderful.

*Robert Young's arrogant, condescending smile through every episode made this program hard to watch.

**Updated 9:10AM 6/3/2014: Here was featured the YouTube clip of the opening of the 1960s TV show "Bachelor Father," but the Wall-P legal sorts had it removed, or rather, it was removed on YouTube, so I'm just removing this now-dead space where it had been embedded.**

What really sucks about Antenna TV are the commercials -- either soft-core phone sex ads set incongruously with assorted ones for the old and infirmed (lots of cancer, adult diapers, assorted female issues, etc.), the dubious-at-best for-profit "online college" racket (in particular, ads for Everest College), debt "relief" agencies that are just fronts run by credit card companies (each of them nothing more than the Ebola virus of American Mitt Romney-style predatory, "harvesting," blow financial bubbles-out-the-wazoo, destroy-everything-and-everyone "free market" capitalism), and outfits promising to help those who owe massively on their taxes.**

In short, a GOP dream world.

**Updated 9:10AM 6/3/2014: Content removed**


The new picture of the Eiffel Tower at night in the Larry's Lounge restroom as seen on Thursday night (Sept. 27, 2012). That bright object in the photo is actually the reflection of the ceiling light fixture. This picture replaces the previous one on the same wall.


Turning to the weather ...

There was some heavy rainfall on Thursday night as a lightning-laced thunderstorm drenched the immediate D.C. area. There was about three-quarters of an inch of rain at National Airport (KDCA) proper (0.78" combined on the 27th and 28th with 0.73" last night before and after midnight).

Rainy night at the confusing intersection of U and 18th Streets and Florida Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 12:49AM, Sept. 28, 2012. I was walking back home from Larry's Lounge.


This rainfall pushed KDCA above its full September normal of 3.72" -- and thus it marks the first time since last December that KDCA has not been below normal on precipitation. I think this noteworthy because while one expects as the climate warms most months to be above the 30-year normal for temperature, precip should still mostly vary randomly in this area.

Oh, yes, both KBWI and KIAD had much less on Thursday night -- the deluge missed those spots.

The cloud-to-cloud lightning was quite astonishing -- horizontal bolts and lacey networks that went from horizon to horizon.

As of now, there is rain in the forecast for later in the week with temps about normal. The normal high is 74 and normal low is 57F at KDCA for Sept. 30th.


At some point in the next week, I need to buy some new clothes, esp. shoes, belt, and more boxer briefs.


Ha ha


Some Political commentary and Election Observations  

On a brief political note -- I really wish the election were already here. At this point, while it's looking good for Obama, and Romney is unquestionably a dreadful candidate representing a truly nightmare philosphy and a lot of people sort of "get" that fact, even while the economy is just OK enough not to drag down Obama, anything is possible. In short, we don't need any "final month exogenous shocks" -- i.e., October surprises.

**Updated 9:12AM 6/3/2014: Content removed**


Still, it has been -- as Paul Krugman noted in a blog entry on Thursday -- startling to see this election campaign turn out to be an "ideological" one about the actual role of government in peoples' lives vis-a-vis rapacious Bain Capital-style corporate capitalism with Romney nothing less than the apotheosis of that style. (As ever, I highly recommend Krugman's regular blog and this twice a week New York Times op-eds, which are available on line).

And we have the very unusual situation in which the VRWC propaganda machine is surprisingly on the defensive clearly as a result of the Romney 47 percent remark video.

All of this is so different from the usual nihilistic bullsh!t campaigns we get where the POLITICO / Beltway pundit crowd that focus on whether or not Al Gore said he invented the internet or whether John Kerry eats his cheesesteaks in a "dainty" way. (I think that was a Dana Milbank WaHoPo piece in '04.)

Of note, I found myself in agreement with this Joan Walsh piece in Salon. Though she is a liberal Democrat and in theory I should agree with her on many issues, she too often is a Republican caricature of a liberal.

Her new book title -- What's the Matter with White People? -- is intentionally offensive in that way of urban coastal liberal elites and that in subtle ways helps keep naturally "blue" states such as West Virginia and Kentucky solidly "red." (I haven't actually read the book so I don't know what point she is trying to make.)

This is the Real Clear Politics electoral college map for the 2012 presidential campaign as it appeared today on the site.
I would have thought he that Virginia would be shaded as "leans Obama" but I guess the analysis is a "conservative" one. As for South Carolina being "weakly Romney," that's just hard to believe if by that you mean "weakly Republican." The national poll average on the RCP site is 48.9% to 44.6% or +4.3% for Obama.

For his part, Nate Silver presently has President Obama at 319 electoral votes.

Obama won with 365 electoral votes in 2008. Above is a map of the 2008 presidential election U.S. Electoral College results. His national popular vote victory was 52.9% to Sen. John McCain's 45.7% out of 131.39 million votes cast (which, using one main estimate of the number of eligible voters, was a 63% turnout, or the highest since 1960).

Here is the Electoral College results for the 2008 presidential election that is (1) by county and (2) scaled from red to blue through purple to show percentage results. Thus, a 100% vote for McCain is pure red and 100% vote for Obama is pure blue and a 50-50 tie is purple.

Here is the same map as above but scaled to population. The Northeast megalopolis cities all show up clearly -- with the lowermost one (next to the distorted Delmarva) Washington, D.C., and suburban Maryland (Montgomery and Prince George's Counties).

Both the District of Columbia -- considered for these purposes as a "county" or other independent local government unit and New York County (better known as Manhattan) -- were the most populous county-level wins at 92.5% (yes, that included yours truly) and 85.7%, respectively.*

*Bronx County was 88.7% for Obama but had about 285,000 less votes overall. BTW, Staten Island (Richmond County) went for McCain.

By contrast, it APPEARS that was the most populous county-level win for McCain was a a toss up between Utah County, Utah** (which includes Provo) at 78.7% and Montgomery County, Texas at 75.9% (slightly lower but with a somewhat greater number of votes).

**Salt Lake County, location of Salt Lake City, itself actually went for Obama, if you can believe that.

Lastly, I do not intend to watch the presidential "debates" -- i.e., question-and-answer session with frickin' Jim Lehrer.

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


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