Friday, October 5, 2012

Setting and Finding Boundaries, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.-Style

**Updated 4:23PM 5/30/2014: See below.**

The Washington - Baltimore area at night as seen 220 miles up in low Earth orbit from the International Space Station  (ISS) on Expedition 26 (between November 2010 and March 2011).

The ISS was over the Atlantic Ocean and was looking west so Baltimore is to the left and Washington, D.C., to the right. Annapolis is also visible. I think the dark area between the cities is actually Fort Meade. Here is more information and here is a hi-resolution image.


This is the vitrolic part of my Friday night. I'm posting it separately from my Friday night musical interlude entry (to follow this one).

However, I'm watching the Friday night really old sitcom line up on Antenna TV (its unwatchable low-rent commercials aside), and there is a particularly touching episode of Father Knows Best, is is otherwise an annoying and surprisingly dark comedy (for the 1950s American suburban TV dream world). It's the episode "Betty Finds a Cause." Actress Elinor Donahue -- who many years later showed up in an episode of The Golden Girls as Stan's bride -- could really emote and scream when she wanted to.

As for Billy Gray, I can't figure him out. Mostly, I just find Robert Young really annoying. I can't help but like Jane Wyatt, who later would play Spock's human mother in Star Trek.

The other old sitcoms are Bachelor Father (which I quite like) and Leave It To Beaver. Thereafter, I hope to be out of the apartment anyway -- I think I'll go to Larry's Lounge and maybe Millie & Al's tonight. Tomorrow night, I'll go to No. 9 and then Nellie's. As for tomorrow afternoon, I have an interesting plan (see below).


More Thoughts on the Obama Debate Debacle

I'm actually quite angry at President Obama for that abysmal "debate" performance against Mittens Romney. It's almost like Obama wants to lose. To that end, I want to post this link to a piece "The Man Who Would Be Ex-President" in Harper's Magazine by Kevin Baker.

Here are some excerpts:

"He runs for president as a populist, soaking up all the liberal energy for change in the country. Once in power, he surrounds himself with failed conservative advisers, and squanders most of his mandate. Then, just as it looks as if he will still be able to defeat his clueless Republican opponent, he turns in the worst performance any presidential candidate has ever given in a general-election debate, tanking the race and turning the country over to a party of fanatical Ayn Rand acolytes and warmongers.

Homeland’s Abu Nazir never dreamed up anything this diabolical ...

... Obama signaled that he wants out. His diehard supporters are already trying to wave away this weirdly awful, unengaged performance as just his latest turn of Zen mastery, but that dog won't hunt. They should steel themselves for more shocking displays of indifference over the next month on the part of this strangely diffident individual. It's quite possible that he means what he says, and he really can't wait to become an ex-president.

Mitt Romney could very easily become our next Ronald Reagan, a president who cobbles together an immediate recovery while inflicting incalculable, long-term damage on us all. And that's why the performance President Obama handed in last night was unforgivable. He was not just representing himself. He was supposed to be out there for all of us, especially for those of us who desperately need things like a monthly check to live on when we’re too old to work anymore and a hospital bed to lie down in.

He was supposed to be a president."


I wish I didn't agree with this but I do.

As it is, Obama seems to be sinking in three key swing states (Florida, Virignia, AND Ohio) -- although granted these are polls by Rasmussen and "WeAskAmerica" (whatever weird  GOP push-poll operation that is). Obama is definitely in a downward sweep (the above RCP Electoral Map now has him at 251 votes). The question is how long / deep it will be and if we can recover an election that by all that's right in the Universe should be easily winnable for him.

Nate Silver hasn't observed -- as of Oct. 5th -- any definitive downward movement and instead saw today's positive jobs number as reason for Obama optimism. That jobs report was INSTANTLY the subject of breathless "jobs trutherism" bullsh!t by the paranoid GOP right.


**Updated 4:23PM 5/30/2014: Content removed. **


Weekend Weather

I mentioned above that guy was in shorts. The weather was once again way above normal today -- reaching 83F at KDCA or +11F above the normal high (though no where near the daily record of 96F).

Nevertheless, Saturday night and Sunday are still looking lovely wet and chilly (see above NWS forecast panel), unless the Sterling LWX crew and Sue Palka put the kibosh on that.


Baltimore Corner Points Quest

Baltimore on a pleasant autumn day in an undated online photo.

As for tomorrow during the afternoon hours, Chester and I are supposed to do our "Baltimore corner points" tour. What is that you ask?

It's our afternoon quest during which we try to find SIX of the SEVEN corner or "kink" points that form the city's boundaries. (The seventh / southeasternmost one is in water or whatever is the Patapsco River.)

Here is a map showing the boundaries of Baltimore with the kink points circled.

The boundaries of Baltimore City as they now exist were set in their present form, I think, in or around 1919.

As you may know, I've long had an interest in the boundary stones of the District of Columbia, and I even had a piece way back in June 1998 in The Washington Post
 about them.

The location of the 40 original Federal Territory boundary markers on a hybrid Google satellite-map image from the Boundary Stones of the District of Columbia webpage. This shows 5 of the 40 as missing.

However, that was a piece that contained two factual errors -- it's Andrew (not Samuel) Ellicott and it was NEVER called "L'Enfant's Diamond," but I made the mistake and they weren't caught by the great and mysterious Martha J. ("M.J.") McAteer, then the letters editor of The WaHoPo (during the halcyonic late 1990s when the biggest concern was the biomorphology of Clinton's private parts) and now a staff writer for some weird Virginia business publication. (She also heavily edited the piece I wrote, but was OK.)

As a result of the errors, I'm not proud of that piece.

I've mentioned the boundary stones and even posted this picture of the North Cornerstone originally in this entry in May 2011.

But the Baltimore boundary stones -- to the extent they even exist -- are much trickier. For starters, I suspect they only exist at the kink points, and even then, I know for sure that only three exist including the northwest one, a blurry cellphone picture of which shows up in this early entry to my blog in Aug. 2008.

Here is that image taken on Aug. 23, 2008 with Baltimore City's northwest boundary marker circled.  

I long ago tried to find the northeast one -- either in the summer of 1993 or 1994 when I was staying with my mother in Glen Burnie -- but was unsuccessful, and that is the one that Chester and I are going to try to find tomorrow. I actually don't think it exists. There may not even be a marker there. I wrote about that point in this entry.

Here is a Google map image with the boundary drawn in as near as I could estimate it. As it is, we need an ADC-like Baltimore City street atlas to do this trip tomorrow.

As for the southernmost one, I don't think we will be able to find it.


I just finished my laundry, so at least that's done.

OK, I think that's all for now. Let me just say that my stomach / abdomen is hurting a bit (not excessively or debilitatingly). The exercises by YMCA personal trainer had me do last night, in particular the crunches, really hurt. I think they hurt more than they should have, although the discomfort didn't start until this afternoon.

My next planned update will be on Sunday or Monday (which I have off for the Columbus Day holiday).


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