Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Night Musical Interlude, Nov. 30th, 2012 Edition

Jazzmasters VI / Paul Hardcastle -- In the Key of Time (2010)


This is my usual Friday night musical interlude.

I started to compose another entry. This one involved our ongoing D.C. area dead-weather pattern and why we so rarely get weather here. But as usual the entry spiraled out of control and I'm not even going to bother to try to finish it tonight (maybe tomorrow, unless I end up writing something different).

In the meantime, I'll just post a few more video clips, specifically, two songs and one parody skit with a well known pop song.


And here is a more uptempo but curiously mournful and definitely old school song that I well remember from the early 1980s ...

A Flock of Seagulls -- Space Age Love Song (1982)

Love Mike Score's hair.

"I saw your eye / And it made me smile / For a little while / I was falling in love ..."


OK, and this one is borderline tasteless / vulgar, although I guess it I were a straight guy, I'd be all hot and heavy breathing about it. As it is, I just love the song and its beat.

Junior Jack -- Stupidisco (2004)

It features two young, healthy, big-bosomed, and very scantily-clad female wrestlers (named "Miss Double D" and "Nasty Nancy"*) going at it in a fictitious "Clash of the Bikinis - World Ladies Wrestling Championship Finals" while a freakish "Goth" mob roars in a frenzy.

*To quote Captain Peacock on AYBS?, "How very original."

Updated 12/1/2012 830PM: You know, upon watching it again, I must conclude that this music video is borderline softcore ... Just sayin'. Note the part where the one lady bites the other one in the butt ... really, now.


And just for fun -- that wonderful parody, such as it was, of Kylie Minogue's I Should Be So Lucky ...

... as performed by French and Saunders on their British comedy / variety show of same name back in 1990. It was a "dualing divas" segment and featured the British mezzo-soprano Sarah Walker, CBE.


So tonight I think I am going to Nellie's, although Andrea and some co-workers are taking two departing co-workers out to a happy hour. They were initially going to Barcode and then elsewhere. I would like to see if I can still meet up with them. (I just texted A. and she said they are at Big Hunt, so I guess I'll go there.)

OK, that's all for now. I intend to update this blog tomorrow or Sunday.


Tax-Free Chapel and Late-Night Blog Entry in the Junkpile

(YouTube screen shot): The Very Wrong Reverend Fred G. Sanford in the Sanford & Son episode "The Reverend Sanford."


Sorry for the lack of updates this week. I plan to have at least a Friday night musical interlude posted tomorrow. The work week has been OK and I've had three good nights at the gym.

**Updated 11:57PM 5/7/2015: Content removed.**

*Especially the married straight ones who require their wives' reluctant permission with 5 week lead time to give reply to a simple text message. That number too has been deleted from my phone. It's incredible how these women suck the life force out of everything they near, and the guys are just rope-a-dope stupid -- transformed into frogs.

I got that turned into frogs line from an episode of Sanford & Son. Speaking of that show ...

... just enjoy this wonderful Sanford & Son episode "The Reverend Sanford" that features Sammy Shore as the Bishop Lovelace (a dirty 1970s reference). He is the father of Pauly Shore.

Here is the IMDb synopsis: "To avoid paying taxes, Fred buys a mail-order clergy ordination and transforms his home into the Chapel on the Junkpile for the church of the Seventh-Day Junkists."


By way of explanation, it turns out (of course) that Bishop Lovelace is a con man, so the only way to get rid of him is to scare him off by making him think the church is a cult that sacrifices white guys (specifically, himself).

Updated 7/9/2013 12:50AM: The sh!tty Wall-P corporate legal stooge types forced removal of numerous Sanford & Son episodes on YouTube including this episode. I have removed the YouTube links (yet more corporate fascist-sponsored link rot*). If I can find new ones, I'll re-update this entry.

**Updated 11:57PM 5/7/2015: Content removed.**




OK, that's all for now.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

An Unlikely but Keenly Appreciated Gift on an Unremarkable but Othewise OK Birthday

The entrance to The Cairo in the 1600 block of Q Street NW, Washington, D.C., 9:57PM, Nov. 25, 2012.

This is the building that was the original catalyst for the height restriction on buildings in the District of Columbia -- originally for safety reasons and later codified in Federal law for aesthetic reasons.

I was walking to Floriana, where I met Jamie in that little Dito's bar, named for the fellow who runs it.


OK, I was simply going to update my previous entry where I note that today (Nov. 26, 2012) is my 43rd birthday. However, I've decided instead to post a new entry, and probably just after midnight, so it will have a Nov. 27th time stamp.

I'm posting it to note an unexpected birthday gift today, but more on that below.

As for birthday wishes, I actually ended up with only four wholly unprompted -- my mom, Gary, Wendy, and Quill. And I did not hear from my dad. The rest were all sort of prompted in some way, and even then there were only an additional four. (I'm not counting the e-card that the work HR department sent me, nor the one I got from my Allstate renter's insurance agent.)

Not that I was keeping tabs, notes, or anything like that. Oh, yes, and in the interest of full disclosure, I'm actually terrible at remember friends' birthdays and frequently forget (including Andrea's last week), so I guess I'm being a wee hypocritical. But mostly it's just a metric for how fewer nomimal friends I have than a year or two ago, but the ones that remain are true and good friends.

The downstairs bar at Nellie's, Washington, D.C., 7:28PM Nov. 25, 2012.


In any event, today (that would be Monday, Nov. 26th) ended up the kind of quiet back-to-work Monday that I hoped with no issues and moderately productive and following a tiring weekend (which, in turn, followed the Thanksgiving weekend). I am now working on yet another Texas compliance case, this one for a county way out in West Texas.

My desk in my little cubicle down in the concrete jumble of L'Enfant Plaza, Washington, D.C., 6:26PM, Nov. 26, 2012.

I sort of work a 1045AM to 7PM schedule, which I really should not do but it seems to have settled into that time frame.


And tonight I had a very good workout at the YMCA with my personal trainer Tony. I also jogged for 45 minutes on the treadmill and concluded the gym visit by going into the swimming pool.

While on the treadmill, as I often do, I watched the last third of Hardball and the first half or so of The Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC (reading the closed-captioning, which I figured out how to turn on).

Ed Schultz was in high dudgeon over the comments by David Plouffe of the Obama administration about the need for Democrats to accept "hard" entitlement reform -- and the possibility that Obama will give away the store to Republicans when the actual issue should be about ga-jillionaires paying more in taxes and (over time) reducing the overall cost of health care so that Medicare and Medicaid costs can come into line with inflation (instead of growing at a dangerously hyper-inflated rate with respect to the overall economy). But THAT is a different issue.

Republicans, by the way, are running away fast from that 20-year old Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge (see above Huffington Post headline from earlier today). Whatever oligarchical corporate interests are behind Norquist masquerading as libertarian horsesh!t really need to hire a new frontman.

Schultz was at his best when he commented on the truly obscene spectacle of billionaire megalomaniac but otherwise policy-wise clueless CEOs, in particular that amoral little troll Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs talking about the need to "lower expectations" on Social Security.

This is part of the organized monied interests funded in large measure by Peter G. Peterson (pictured here) that are using the bogus "fiscal cliff" -- complete with digital display countdowns -- to further their agenda of trillions in tax cuts for the superrich and corporations while "reducing the deficit" on the backs of the working poor and middle class.

Enough of that sh!t already.

We've had 30 years of that garbage and it doesn't work.

As for Blankfein's comments on Social Security, to begin with, the trust fund has enough money for the next 20 years (through 2033). Secondly, all of his observations were just factually wrong, including the one that people collect Social Security for 30 years when in fact it is just over half that time, about 16-1/2 years on average. Ditto his stupid remark about careers lasting on average 25 years (it's really closer 40). And raising the retirement age on the laboring class is immoral and counterproductive -- but someone such as Blankfein is clueless to that reality.

Lloyd Blankfein is flat out an evil person, and he is the head of a malevolent organization, Goldman Sachs -- so perfectly described by Matt Taibbi as a "vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity."

And it is beyond disgusting for the head of that organization -- which itself received huge taxpayer bailouts for the very global financial and economic crash it helped to trigger with its sky-trillion dollar CDO schemes -- and that even today remains the quintessential incarnation of present-day American-style vulture capitalism and destructive-only financialized bubble economics -- to lecture about anything of a public policy nature, much less on how society assists the retired working class.

It's more than disgusting. It's an actual mortal sin.

But Scott Pelley couldn't wait to interview him. And as Paul Krugman would surely agree, the Very Serious People in the D.C. establishment -- headquartered at The WaHoPo editorial board -- get all tingly all over whenever anyone talks about "entitlement reform."

Anyway, all that aside, I had a good gym workout.


OK, now as for that "birthday gift" I mentioned, here is what happened ...

I went to the gym and the area was crowded near where I had my locker. There was also a really hot guy there getting dressed. I got distracted and started putting my clothes and possessions in the wrong locker (the door to which was open). I realized my mistake moved everything into the correct locker -- EXCEPT for my pants and fleece jacket.

I returned two (2) hours later to discover my oversight. My pants and jacket were hanging in the open locker, but I was sure the wallet and/or cash were gone (the latter totaled $167 as I had just taken out $160 at the Bank of America at K and 18th Streets).

Anyway, EVERYTHING was there, nothing had been stolen.

And that, Dear Reader, is what I decided to view as my birthday gift or present. Without it, my day and hence my birthday would have been a flat out and costly disaster.

Indeed, I was in a good mood -- so much so that I did not engage in my usual inner fury and silent profanity as I walk by JR's, where Matthew "M. Wade Tipamillyun" Henry collects $167 in tips in about 2 hours on a typical night, rising to between $500 and $600 in a 6-to-8 hour period.

Anywho, I went to the Safeway and bought a candy bar for the homeless man outside the store who asked for candy as I entered.

The 1400 block of 17th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 10:43PM, Nov. 26, 2012, as seen on my walk home from the gym earlier tonight.


OK, that's all for now. It's a pleasant late night as I compose this entry and watch funny reruns of The King of Queens. I'm also cooking a late dinner. I cook the Signature Cafe beef stew (removing it from its microwavable container and instead put it in a pan) that I mix with Success Boil-in-Bag rice. It's actually quite good. And I have one of those Glacéau VitaminWaters (Essential) that may or may not actually be healthy.

The houses at 1641 and 1639 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:58PM, Nov. 24, 2012.


OK, that really is all for now. I do not intend to take the laptop home again until Thursday, so I will not have an entry until at least Thursday night -- and very possibly not until Friday night.

Again, my next planned update will be on Thursday or possibly Friday night.


Monday, November 26, 2012

43 Years Old: A Prime Age (so to speak)

Today is my birthday ... I am 43 years old. Alas, it is a Monday -- and after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Anyway, I just wanted to post this quick entry to note it. I may update this entry with additional content later tonight after work and the gym, so it will be late.

43 years old.

What an absurd prime number. And doesn't it sound old.

My mom sent me a nice text message this morning, and I guess I'll hear from my dad and a few friends (Gary, Andrea, and Quill, oh, and mybe David since I work in the cubicle next to him), but that will probably be it.

That being the case, happy birthday to me.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Some Thoughts on Larry Hagman and the Unlikely Gay Bar Offspring of J.R. Ewing

** SECOND UPDATE 3:13PM 5/31/2014: See below.**

Updated 4:00PM 11/25/2012: See note below.

Larry Hagman has died.

Hagman died from complications due to cancer (possibly throat cancer). He died Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at Medical City Hospital in Dallas, Texas. He was 81.

Hagman will forever be remembered, of course, for his role as the -- to quote the obituary in The New York Times -- "the gleefully malevolent wheeler-dealer J. R. Ewing on the long-running television series Dallas" which "(i)t is estimated that at the height of its popularity ... was seen by more than 300 million people in 57 countries."

Note: The above quote appeared in the original version of the NYT obituary last night. It has since been edited away in the linked version.

To that last point, I've often thought that many ways, both Dallas and show Baywatch in their respective ways defined the culture, attitude, and style of United States of America to the rest of the world -- hence both shows' incredibly popularity with audiences in so many disparate and far-flung countries across the globe.

He was also known for his role as in I Dream of Jeannie (1965 - 1970) as NASA astronaut Maj. Anthony Nelson who -- in the opening minutes of the pilot episode -- crash lands on a deserted South Pacific island beach after a failed trip into space, happens upon the strange lamp on a beach.

He uncorks the bottle and out emerges in a vaporous cloud a 2,000 year old scantily clad and slavishly devotional genie named Jeannie, whom he can then never get rid of her through many funny situations -- and eventually he marries her.

Hagman died reportedly with both Linda Gray (who played his wife Sue Ellen Ewing) and Patrick Duffy (who played his brother Bobby Ewing) at his hospital bedside.

Here are some other obituaries where you may read more details about his overall life and career.

Los Angeles Times: Larry Hagman dies at 81; TV's J.R. Ewing

AP: 'Dallas' star Larry Hagman dies in Texas

Yahoo: Larry Hagman dead at 81, portrayed notorious TV villain J.R. Ewing Larry Hagman, TV villain J.R. Ewing on 'Dallas,' dies at 81

The Yahoo obituary (third link above) has the following quote from Linda Gray:

"Larry Hagman was my best friend for 35 years ... He was the Pied Piper of life and brought joy to everyone he knew. He was creative, funny, loving and talented, and I will miss him enormously."

Larry Hagman poses in his signature stetson outside the Southfork Ranch on October 9, 2008. The place was the setting of the fictional "Ewing Mansion" and is today in fact a conference and event center located in Parker, Texas about 25 miles north of Dallas.


I used to watch the show Dallas every Friday night back in the early 1980s and was enamored of the opening theme. Furthermore, I remember my paternal grandparents watching it with my grandmother's brother and sister-in-law (Joey and Rosemary) and younger sister (Aunt Babe -- she who will be 100 years old this coming January). They watched it in the back "den" of our house at 368 Kirby Avenue in Long Branch, N.J.

Screenshot from the third season (1979 - 1980) opening sequence of Dallas.


And on a related note, my stepfather Ray was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas from Jan. 1980 - Nov. 19871, and as a result, I lived in both Copperas Cove and then Killeen during that time at the age of 10 and 11. I first visited in the summer of 1980 from New Jersey and then returned in January 1981 to live, although I spent the summer of 1981 in New Jersey (mostly in Long Branch and Sea Bright at Tradewinds Beach Club).

This was the point at which my 1970s New Jersey life ended as my grandparents sold the house in Long Branch and moved into the Oceanpointe Towers senior citizens apartment complex in Long Branch and my dad moved to his new log cabin house out in Upper Freehold Township, New Jersey. (But as I alluded to above, I would still spend my summers in New Jersey, esp. in Long Branch and Sea Bright, recently devastated by Superstorm Sandy, until about 1988.)

Screenshot form the seventh season (1983 - 1984) opening sequence of Dallas.


Anyway, in the early months of 1981, I developed a fixation on the City of Dallas the city, in particular, its skyline as seen on approach from the south on I-35E.

Yeah, sorta like this.

Although in 1981, the Dallas city skyline looked more like it does in this screen capture image that appears at the start of the opening sequence to Dallas. This particular fly-in shot appears in at least the first five seasons of Dallas (and maybe more).

Updated 4:00PM 11/25/2012 to include picture directly below.

Note: Reunion Tower is not in that fly-in scene. I'm unsure if it's because the building, completed in 1978, is just out of the shot or if this is actually an older image that was used in this opening fly-in sequence. Given that you subsequently see a helicopter's shadowed reflection on the buildings next to Reunion Tower (see above image), I am guessing this was filmed on the same day, and so it is the former reason rather than the latter.


As an aside, I also had a fixation on Troy Dungan, the famous bow tie-wearing long-time weatherman on WFAA channel 8 who finally left the station in 2007. Indeed, I developed my interest in meteorology living in Texas all those years ago.  

Speaking of Troy Dungan, here is a Vimeo video of him I found set to an Enya tune on the occasion of his 30th year at WFAA in 2006.

**Vimeo video removed**

Apparently, I wasn't the only one captivated by this curious little weather man.


My mother arranged for me to meet him on the occasion of my 12th birthday (11/26/1981) as we were leaving Texas, driving to Maryland to start our life there (and what would eventually become my life in D.C.). We also had dinner atop Reunion Tower in what was until recently the revolving Antares restaurant but is now called Five Sixty.

For these reasons, I always had a close spot in my heart for Larry Hagman and the show Dallas even if it embodied some cartoonishly horrible morality and values that are form a caricature of the American dream, Texas-style.


As for my current life in Washington, D.C., I would also like to note a connection between Larry Hagman and Dallas and the D.C. gay community. I refer specifically to the bar known as JR's Bar and Grill on 17th Street and to its management.

JR's in Washington, D.C., as seen at dusk, October 5, 2012.


Long story short, JR's is called JR's because -- back when it opened in 1986 -- it was actually associated with the long-time gay bar JR's in Dallas. The Dallas JR's also has a "sister" lesbian bar called Sue Ellen's, also in Dallas.

Thus, the "JR" in this bar franchise can trace its origin to J(ohn) R(oss) Ewing, played by Larry Hagman.

This is odd in that Dallas was a VERY un-gay show with -- to my knowledge -- not a single gay character in the show's original 13 year run from 1978  to 1991.

The D.C. JR's has long since been its own establishment with no affiliation to the Dallas one. There was also a JR's in Denver run by the same owner as the D.C. one, interestingly, also on 17th Street, or rather, E. 17th Avenue but it closed in Nov. 2011.

As for the D.C. JR's, both it and its co-owned sister establishment, Cobalt / 30 Degrees, are operationally run by a small but remarkably enduring cabal that I often refer to in a semi-satirical way as the D.C. gay mafia.

** Updated 3:13PM 5/31/2014: Content removed**


Anyway, farewell Larry Hagman.

Larry Hagman and Linda Gray stand together earlier this year in Hollywood, Calif., at some event, April 12, 2012.


At this point, it would be good to end on a relevant musical note, so here the opening season for Section 2 of Dallas with its Texas-sized, over-the-top orchestral score.


I wrote the above entry earlier this afternoon and tonight. It took frickin' forever to draft. Nevertheless, I made it to the gym and had a decent work out and swim in the pool.

I went out last night but it was cut short because I lost some money, probably on the floor at No. 9. I will try not to do that tonight. I really need a money clip.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Night Musical Interlude, Nov. 23rd, 2012 Edition

The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra performs Tangerine in the 1942 movie The Fleet's In. Bob Eberly first sings and then Helen O'Connell appears at 2:00 to perform her famous rendition of this song.

The song was published in 1941, music by Victor Schertzinger and lyrics by Johnny Mercer.

Here is a lovely version by Eliane Elias from her album Dreamer (2004).


Back homo in the D.C. Bubble in my dusty little apartment. Actually, I dusted today and did a lot of laundry including three loads of clothes and ALL my bedding (blankets and quilts).

One of the quilts kinda died in the washer, but it was a very old and shriveled one that I long ago washed when I should not have, thus starting its years' long decline. I ended up spending about $25 doing laundry (!).

Acoustic Alchemy's "The Panama Cat" from the group's album "The Beautiful Game" (2000)


Hiroshima's One Wish

I really love this piece. I posted this video just over two years ago in this entry along with several image stills from it showing beautiful and peaceful Japanese garden and/or park.


Owing to high expenses today (including laundry), I am posting my dinner night out until tomorrow (Saturday) night. However, I will still go out tonight to some combination of Larry's Lounge, No. 9, and Nellie's.

And in that going out mode, here is one final music clip in this entry that features something a bit more uptempo ...

Black Box's 1990 "Italo house" style hit dance song Strike It Up.

By the way, that gorgeous lead singer was really French West Indies model Katrin Quinol lip-synching to the lyrics that were actually sung uncredited at the time (until she sued) by Martha "It's Raining Men" Wash. That powerful voice wasn't coming out of that exotically beautiful but tiny little frame, no siree.


OK, that's all for now. I've been home watching the Friday night Antenna TV line up of 1950s/1960s comedy shows and sitcoms as I folded my laundry and composed this entry. 

Based on the sounds I hear outside, I would say that the forecasted cold front finally blasted through D.C., but it was a dry frontal passage and it's not really going to get that cold, just kinda average.  I guess I'll wear my thermals under my pants and over my boxer briefs, but I probably would have anyway.

OK, that really IS all for now.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner Photos, American Legion-Style, and No Mere Leftovers Turkey Talk

Tables set for the Thanksgiving dinner in the banquet hall of the American Legion Post 276, Severn, Md., 2:22PM, Nov. 22, 2012.

Clarification posted 4:11PM 11/25/2012: The American Legion Post 276 is located in Severn, Maryland, not Millersville. I have corrected the text of this entry but not the photo file names, which all still say Millersville. It would take too long to make that correction. As it is, Severn is a Census Designated Place and Millersville is an unincorporated community. The two are located next to each other in Anne Arundel County, Md.


Friendly volunteers serving Thanksgiving dinner at the American Legion Post 276, Severn, Md., 2:09PM, Nov. 21, 2012.

The food was quite good including the turkey (which can sometimes be served dessicated dry).


Nine of the pictures in this entry were taken this afternoon at the Thanksgiving dinner held for veterans and their families at the American Legion Post 276 in Severn here in Anny Runnell Kenny, Merlin (Anne Arundel County, Maryland). I went there with my mom and Ray, who is retired active Army and a Vietnam veteran. The event was well-organized and well-run by friendly folks and it was all free. Alas, it was not that crowded -- only about a third of the seats were occupied. 

Thanksgiving dinner, American Legion Post 276, Severn, Md., 2:22PM, Nov. 22, 2012.


These pictures were taken with my (new) cellphone (also) crummy camera, but they are interspersed with a regular blog entry on topics not related to the images (except insofar as it shows how different today was from my regular life).

I return tomorrow afternoon back into the D.C. Bubble.

Assuming I get paid on time tomorrow, I will go out to dinner tomorrow night somewhere -- maybe Old Ebbitt Grill, Logan's Tavern again, or P.J. Clarke's (where I tried to go last weekend), or even Morton's Steakhouse. I imagine D.C. will still be rather vacated of its young yuppie population immediately after Thanksgiving, folks returning over the weekend.

The main banquet hall at  in Severn, Md., all set up for Thanksgiving dinner, 2:08PM, Nov. 22, 2012.


Of note, Ruth's Chris (Heron?) Steakhouse has an interesting happy hour involving an all items $7 menu of wine and good-sized appetizers every day 5PM to 7PM except Saturdays, and provided you sit at the bar. (As it is, I ALWAYS sit at the bar.) I find that restaurant (at Connecticut Ave. and S Street NW) very cozy inside. As for tomorrow night, I guess I'll go to some combination of Larry's Lounge, No. 9, and/or Nellie's. Oh, and I quite liked the Federalist bar associated with the Madison where I went last week.

A man is honored on his coincidentally-timed 90th birthday at the Thanksgiving dinner being held at the American Legion Post 276, Severn, Md., 2:35PM, Nov. 22, 2012.

Of note, there was a nearly 93 year old woman at the table next to us. 


Anyway, I plan to post a Friday night musical interlude entry and then on Saturday -- and if and only if it is AFTER I go to the gym -- I will post another one.

Specifically, it is a political-themed entry that I have been meaning to post for at least a week, and at this point, there are a whole series of excerpts and associated links that I want to post. However, these commentaries often have a relatively short relevancy half-life.

Two performers dressed as Sonny and Cher lip sync to "I Got You Babe" at the American Legion Post 276 Thanksgiving dinner, Severn, Md., 5:02PM, Nov. 22, 2012.


The same two performer a few minutes later dressed as Elvis Presley and a rabbit lip syncing to "Hound Dog," at the American Legion Post 276 Thanksgiving dinner, Severn, Md., 5:09PM, Nov. 22, 2012.


Turkey-Talk: Political Commentary / Analyses Detour

In case I never post any of these, I HAVE to link to this excellent piece by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times entitled A Failed Experiment. Just read it and absorb it.

Land & Ocean Temperature Anomalies for Oct. 2012 compared to 1981 - 2010 period average, source here.

Note the sentence about how October 2012 was the 332nd month in a row of above-normal to the 20th Century average global temperatures. This is contrasted with the lack of meaningful discussion about human-induced climate change.

January - October global surface mean temperature anomalies, 1880 - 2012, NCDC/NESDIS/NOAA.

Oh, and read ANYTHING by Paul Krugman in The New York Times online -- including on this blog and in his twice-weekly op-ed columns. Note his upcoming Friday, Nov. 23rd column (already online) Grand Old Planet that is directly relevant to this climate change discussion and larger rejection of scientific evidence. Also see his Monday, Nov. 19th piece The Twinkie Manifesto.


Speaking of things political, Ray and I managed to have a few discussions that broached current topics of that nature yet with no acrimony, including on ObamaCare and the generic topic of Obama / Democrat(ic) Party-supported "welfare" (whatever that is, post-1996).

My stepfather, Ray, enjoying a little stage show put on after Thanksgiving dinner at the American Legion Hall 276, Severn, Md., 5:11PM, Nov. 22, 2012.


At least the Fox News Channel viewing (apparently, this year there is also a "LIBERAL WAR ON THANKSGIVING!") was at a minimum during this trip -- just endless but innocuous Hallmark Channel Christmas-themed movies, the Macy's Thanksgiving parade (NBC's coverage since CBS is the "Communist Broadcasting System") this morning, and sundry football games. Oh, and as I wrote part of this entry, an episode of CSI: Las Vegas that I would never otherwise watch.

My mom at the Thanksgiving dinner, American Legion Post 276, Severn, Md., 3:47PM, Nov. 22, 2012.


I would also like to note that I saw the following bumper sticker on one of the trucks here in the trailer park: "I'll keep my freedom, guns, and money. You keep the CHANGE."

Ha ha

The not-quite-leafless boughs of a large (red?) oak tree contrasted on the bright blue sky of a late fall day, located at the edge of the Rol-Park trailer park, Millersville, Md., 12:35PM, Nov. 22, 2012.


Changing topics ...

When we got back to the trailer, I was telling my mom about the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse and how I totally plan to see it, probably on the South Carolina coastline. She remembers -- though didn't recall the date -- the March 7, 1970 total solar eclipse, seeing it with my dad on the lower Delmarva near Chincoteague, Virginia.

The diamond ring effect and flickering shadow bands projected on intervening clouds at the moment just after the last instant of totality in last week's total solar eclipse as seen north of Cairns, Australia, Nov. 14, 2012. Words escape me. Source: Nov. 21, 2012 APOD.


*This includes total, annular, and partial. Also note the issue involving the "Year Zero" when the Julian (and modified Gregorian) calendar jumps from 1 BC (BCE) to AD 1 (CE).


A patch of forest on a bright late fall day at the edge of the Rol-Park trailer park in the direction of Old Mill High School, Millersville, Md., 12:35PM, Nov. 22, 2012.


OK, that's all for now. Again, I plan a Friday night musical interlude update and then a longer entry over the weekend -- possibly two, the second of which would be (finally) the Long Island and Jersey shore Hurricane Sandy damage and destruction pictures.


Entry # 777: A Son's Thankful Trip Home

Updated 12:03PM 7/3/2014: First, the title of this entry has always bothered me because it is a rather strained metaphor due to the fact that I have a strained relationship with my mother who is, at best, indifferent to me, to wit, the extended periods of no contact whatsoever punctuated by the occasional burst of interest. The blog title and, to a lesser extent, the entry itself both suggest a far closer relationship than actually has ever existed. Secondly, see below for content adjustment.

Entry # 777

This is one of my rare entries composed and posted when I am NOT at home in my tiny, dusty apartment in Washington, D.C. That is, this entry was posted while I'm outside of the D.C. Bubble. And, yes, for better AND worse, it is the bubble reality I know at this time.

Rather, I'm at my mom and Ray's place in Millersville in Anne Arundel County, Maryland (or as the locals say, Anny Runnel Kenny, Merlin) for a short Thanksgiving visit with a planned return on Friday afternoon via New Carrollton.

Click and then click again on above map for a much larger version.

Although it is always a bit disconcerting being here in Anne Arundel ("AA") County, especially at night in this trailer park off Veterans Hwy, I must point out that I spent my teenage years here, specifically, in nearby Glen Burnie. It was in Glen Burnie where I went to junior and senior high school, although I am actually (as regular readers know) from New Jersey.

But my time here was mostly in the 1980s and into the early 1990s from the age of 12 to 22, which feels like half a lifetime ago. It feels that way precisely because it is on the cusp of my 43rd birthday half a lifetime ago.

In those years, my mom and Ray (my stepfather) have lived in about a half dozen places, mostly in Glen Burnie, and here in Rol-Park now for at least 5 years.

Oh, and as always -- ALWAYS -- this place too is right under the usual final flight path into BWI Airport.

The backroom where I sleep when I visit here in Millersville, Md., 11:09PM, Nov. 21, 2012. The mattress is from the pullout sofa in the living room. I prefer it in the back room.


Earlier tonight, I took the MARC Penn Line from Union Station to BWI Marshall Airport rail station where my mom and Ray drove to get me. My original intention was to take the Camden Line from Union Station in D.C. to Camden Yards in Baltimore and then the MTA Light Rail to Glen Burnie / Cromwell Plaza, where I would meet my mom and Ray.

The MTA MARC train system map


However, when I got to Union Station after work (it was a somewhat shortened day for me) I discovered that the scheduled departure 5:53PM MARC Camden Line train I planned to take had been cancelled (as had at least two Brunswick Lines out to Martinsburg). This was because of the early Federal Government shut down that contributing in no small measure to D.C. essentially emptying out well before 5PM.

Of course, you wouldn't know that at Union Station -- the place was mobbed with people departing on trains, although mostly Amtrak ones hither and yon.

Anyway, I was able to take a Penn Line instead with my ticket and go to BWI Marshall (Airport) Rail Station, where my mom and Ray picked me up.

Close up of the MARC system map focused on the Washington, D.C. - Baltimore corridor.


In order to buy a MARC train ticket from one of the automated ticket kiosks (rather than waiting in line), one needs a credit card. There is no cash only option. But in my case, I only have a debit card -- that IS my "credit" card. However, until Friday, I only have $1.81 in my checking account. Thus, I did not have enough money to purchase a $7.00 commuter train ticket between Washington and Baltimore. 

At this point in my life, I pretty much continue to live check to check.I only spend what I earn. (I'm a rightwinger's economic dream, at least for the economic caste in which I fall. By contrast, the rightwing think tanks move Heaven and Earth for the sake of the plutocrat.) 

The interior of St. Dominic Catholic Church in southwest Washington, D.C., 1:31PM, Nov. 21, 2012. I took a walk from my office around lunchtime and stopped briefly in the church. 


**Updated 12:03PM 7/3/2014: Content removed.**

Actually, what happened is that my co-worker DD, who came with me to Union Station,  purchased the ticket for me with his ATM card. He had come to Union Station with me for a drink at the Center Cafe. So I paid him back by buying him a drink at aforementioned Center Cafe restaurant.

Another one of my signature excessively dark images of the Center Cafe restaurant in the main hall of Union Station, Washington, D.C., 5:00PM, Nov. 21, 2012.

I always seem to be there at dusk and the lighting is quite low, while my cellphone camera invariably is basically blind at night.


Of course, the ticket had his name on it.

So there I was ... traveling under an assumed name out of the Nation's Capital in the early darkness of a November night into suburban Maryland and heading toward BWI Airport...

My mom and Ray were already at BWI Airport rail station when I got there. The drive to Millersville took us through some familiar Glen Burnie landmarks -- including past night Corkran Middle School, where I attended from August 1982 to June 1985, although back then it was Corkran Jr. High School. In the car, I was having Vietnam circa 1969 Glen Burnie circa 1984 flashbacks.

Speaking (indirectly) of which, tomorrow I am supposed to go with my mom and Ray to the American Legion Post in Severn, Md., (not to be confused with the one Glen Burnie and whence the above image comes) for Thanksgiving day dinner.

It is for veterans / active military and their families, as Ray is a Vietnam veteran and retired active Army and U.S. Army Reserves.

I actually qualify as is step-son. Now I don't know if it matters that I'm a gay Scandinavian-style social democrat rather disaffected and alienated from the basic notions and precepts of his country as they now are manifested. THAT might get me uninvited.

No, I'm not really a big Noam Chomsky fan, either. Now Slavoj Žižek ...

Actually, honestly, it's Paul Krugman and Michael Lind that get me all over tingly.


So I got here around 7PM and my mom fixed me some dinner -- soup and sandwich. We then went out to the nearby Northway Liquors combination liquor store / bar and bought a bottle of wine (Beringer zinfandel -- yes).

The line at Northway Liquors, Millersville, Md., 8:10PM, Nov. 21, 2012. (I didn't even notice that ridiculous ad with the buxom women in the bikini top when I took the picture.)


OK, I think I should conclude this entry.

I'm in the backroom as I write this entry on the computer. (Well, actually, I guess it is really the front room as it faces onto the roadway here in this 50s-and-over trailer park community.) We down-loaded Chrome earlier so now my mom has Chrome to use, although I am using it to compose this entry.

Of note, my mom has lost between 10 and 15 pounds in the past several months. This is wholly independent of my own weight loss / gym efforts that have resulted in a 20 pound drop for me to 165 pounds (and a weight reapportionment out of fat of about 25 pounds). It also turns out that she listens to jazz music at work through her headsets.

It's scary how much we have in common and the life synchronicities.

I just wish that things were as peaceful and good back in the troubled 1980s and 1990s, and for that matter, for a period in 2004 - 2005, as they are now between us.

My mom watching TV earlier tonight, Millersville, Md., 10:40PM, Nov. 21, 2012.


Oh, yes, we are supposed to go the 100th birthday party in New Jersey in late January for my late paternal grandmother's younger sister (my Aunt Babe). My dad is supposed to drive up from Florida for that one, so my mom and dad will (if this actually happens) actually be together at this most unlikely of distant family functions. I just wanted to note that. Ray is coming, too, but at this point he would just stay in the hotel.

Oak trees at their yellow-orange autumnal peak leaf colors at the on ramp to I-395 in southwest Washington, D.C., 1:30PM, Nov. 21, 2012. This was part of the same lunchtime walk I took from my office.


OK, that's all for now. I will try to update this blog tomorrow (or early Friday) with some Thanksgiving dinner pictures.