Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter 2013 -OR- The D.C. Paschal Mystery

**Second update 9:54PM 6/16/2014: Significant content has been removed from this entry. However, it's better this way. See below.**

Updated 10PM 8/9/2013: See below.

Easter decorations in the yard of the Church of the Holy City in the 1600 block of 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 4:53PM March 30, 2013.



Christ is Risen.

**Updated 9:54PM 6/16/2014: Content removed.**

In the spirit of Easter ...

**Updated 9:54PM 6/16/2014: Content removed.**

As for Easter, I am supposed to go to Quill's parents' place in Silver Spring for lunch. But I'm a rotten person. I'm making Quill come get me because I was hung over from last night and only got up at 1230PM. Screw me. As it is, I'm not even going to have time to shower.

Last night, I went to No. 9 and Nellie's. Earlier yesterday, I went to the gym. My weight, by the way, had notched down to a tad under 158 pounds. I jogged only for 3.32 miles and swam for about 20 minutes.

A very dark and blurry image of Sam Champion and his partner at No. 9 last night, Washington, D.C., 11:16PM March 30, 2013.

(This picture and caption was updated at 10PM 8/9/2013: For some reason, I originally marked the location of it as Nellie's when in fact it was at Number 9.)


Last night at No. 9, Good Morning America meteorologist Sam Champion was there with his partner (Rubem Robierb). (Rubem??)

I chatted with him in three separate short conversations -- the last one as I was leaving. We discussed everything from the negative Arctic Oscillation (yes, he knows what that is) and its contribution to this March's cool temperatures in the eastern U.S., to his long ago friendship with Storm Field, to this hysterically funny article I read in New York magazine. The article is about the chaos at the Today show, and why everybody in Middle America hates Matt Lauer in the wake of what happened to Ann Curry. But it was the random line about Martha Stewart looking 100 years old that was my favorite.

Oh, and "Champion" is his actual last name. He said everybody asks him that.

Speaking of the weather, it was supposed to rain all day today but it looks like the usual D.C. split/shit is happening so I guess we won't be making up our precip deficit today.

The northeastern U.S. radar mosaic image at 1638UTC (1238PM EDT) March 31, 2013.


OK, that's all for now. I had intended to finalize that damn New Jersey entry but OF COURSE I ran out of time.

So at this point, I don't know when I will post my next entry -- possibly not until Thursday night or even maybe Friday.


Friday, March 29, 2013

A (Kinda) Good Friday Night Musical Interlude: March 29th, 2013 Edition

"Hyde Park" (the "Ah, Oooh Song") by Jeff Kashiwa ("Another Door Opens" release, 2000)

The video is just wonderful -- except it is somewhat marred by all the writing on the screen including the announcement "SmoothzJazz - High Quality HD video and sound" that never goes away. But the stunning aerial flyover images still make it worthwhile.


"Shoo the Hoodoo Away" as performed by the Ambrose Mayfair Hotel Orchestra conducted by Bert Ambrose and sung by Ella Logan and Sam Browne (1930)

Note: The lyrics sung by Logan sunexpectedly feature a word you hear in pretty much every rap and hip hop song, but it is weird and a little jarring in this context. However, I really like the tune and the Sam Browne part, which is why I'm reposting it. I posted it back here.

"Don't let your heart grow too heavy, / Keep smiling and maybe we'll shoo that hoodoo away. / Though devil sure in the harbor, the Good Lord keeps cover. / He'll shoo that hoodoo away ... Oh, hear us, Lord, hallelujah, / For we're prayin' to Ya' / To shoo that hoodoo away!"


"Huggin' and Chalkin'" as performed by Hoagy Carmichael with backup chorus (1947)

It's a song about a guy with a hugely fat girlfriend named Rosabelle Magee who is so large that she actually has another boyfriend on her other side that he only meets by chance while "huggin' and a chalkin'."

I love the part with the chorus: "One day I was a huggin' and a chalkin' and a beggin' her to be my bride / When I met another fellow with some chalk in his hand / A comin' around the other side / OVER THE MOUNTAIN! / A comin' around the other side ...!"


And just because it's a fun 1970s song with a video that is a period work of art (and which, yes, I've posted before, though not as a Friday Night Musical Interlude piece):

"Keep It Comin' Love" by KC and the Sunshine Band (1977)


OK, that's all for now. I am going to try to post the first of my two loooong delayed New Jersey trip images this weekend (and the following next weekend).

However, as I noted yesterday, I have a lot of work to do on the geothermal technology paper due on Thursday including a lot of reading this weekend of about 10 reports and/or scholarly articles I printed out.

I also need to go to the gym tomorrow. And on Sunday I am supposed to go to Quill's parents' house in Silver Spring for Easter lunch.

As for tonight and tomorrow night, it will likely just be some combination of No. 9 and Nellie's and going to Old Ebbitt Grill.  Or I may meet up with Nick and/or Jake later.


Under the Late March Sky, Welcome Weather Cool and My Weekly Doings (Good and Foolish)

**Updated 1:05PM 3/1/2015: See below.**

Ornate multiple lamp post outside the joint PNC / Bank of America Building (i.e., the old Riggs National Bank Building) at the corner of 15th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW (right by the White House), Washington, D.C., 6:08PM March 27, 2013.


I had hoped to post this entry before midnight Friday, but that isn't going to happen, so it will have a date timestamp of March 29th -- as will my planned Friday night musical interlude.

This is just a quick update.

For starters, the weather continues to remain below normal cool and variably cloudy, and even though we got screwed out of SO MANY snow opportunities this past winter (and we are still in a "snow drought" for three complete winters), and even though we are STILL running below normal on precipitation (always a bad thing when heading into the spring growing season, although for the past year -- to quote my friend Chester -- this has been more of a climatological issue than an actual hydrological one), I am still VERY MUCH enjoying this weather.

Temperature wise, it only reached 50F at KDCA today or -10F below the normal daily high. It was 49F at KBWI or -9F below the normal daily high; and at KIAD it was also 49F or -11F below the normal daily high.

Updated at 850AM 3/29/2013 to include the 28th into the March average:

For the month through March 28th, the OVERALL average temp at KDCA has been 43.1F or -3.2F; for KBWI it is 40.0F or -3.1F; and for KIAD it is 39.7F or -3.9F.

As I've mentioned a number of times, last March (for the full month) it was a record +10.0F / +10.1F at the three regional climate stations -- and it was the warmest March on record for the Lower 48.

Here are the precip numbers so far for March through the 28th and 2013 with normals in parentheses. The Dulles (KIAD) one features a statistical oddity for the year-to-date: It is EXACTLY equal to the current 30-year average through March 28th.

Month-to-date: 2.78"
-0.33" (3.11")
Year-to-date: 6.98"
-1.56" (8.54")

Month-to-date: 2.60"
-0.90" (3.50")
Year-to-date: 8.19"
-1.26" (9.45")

Month-to-date: 3.09"
+0.09" (3.09")
Year-to-date: 8.42:
+/-0.00" (8.42")

As there was no measurable precipitation on Thursday (just "Trace" at KDCA and KBWI), these numbers from 5PM won't change.


Secondly, I had a good gym workout tonight including a record treadmill jog of 4.79 miles / 723 calories (if the display numbers are to be believed) over 52+5=57 minutes; a bit over an hour of weight-lifting (mostly on the various machines); and a half hour in the swimming pool.

I did NOT weight myself since my sense is I've probably gone UP a bit (maybe 163 or 164lbs).

Perennially ill-fitting clothing aside, I still look kinda WIDE in the locker room wall mirrors. I guess I just have the body of a 40-something Italian-Polish peasant moved to early 21st Century office cubicle and urban apartment dwelling Universe.

I probably won't go to the gym tomorrow but will do so in some combination of two of the three days from Saturday to Monday.

Group dinner at Pines of Florence, Washington, D.C., 9:39PM March 26, 2013.


I did not go to the gym on Tuesday or Wednesday night after work. Instead, Tuesday featured what started out as a very nice birthday dinner for Kristof at Pines of Florence, that "hidden" little Middle Eastern-run Italian restaurant on Connecticut Avenue in an otherwise residential section of Kalorama located up the hill from Dupont Circle and just south of the Taft / Connecticut Avenue Bridge. I used to go there frequently with Chris T.  

Wendy at Pines of Florence, Washington, D.C., 10:15PM March 26, 2013.


Gary and Wendy also were there -- and it was an even bigger celebration because Wendy found out just a few hours earlier that she got an awesome FEDERAL job here in D.C. right in the area of interest to her that will commence in late summer after she has finished law school and taken the bar exam.

This is excellent news. She is such a good person and has struggled so much. This reaffirmed my faith that SOMETIMES the arc of the moral Universe really does bend the right way instead of always being screwed up.

Kristof and Gary, Pines of Florence, Washington, D.C., 10:15PM March 26, 2013.


The problem was that after dinner, we went to Larry's Lounge some of us had few rum and/or vodka drinks -- which followed the bottle and a half of Chianti we had. I stayed with Gary and Howie also showed up even after Wendy and Kristof left. Long story short, while I got home and all was fine, I was a wreck and had to take the next morning off. I didn't really recover until late afternoon on Wednesday.


OK, the next set of pictures were taken by me in the wee hours after leaving Nellie's on Friday night (actually, at that point Saturday morning). They've nothing to do with the content, and they are posted without captions.

On Wednesday evening -- despite how I felt -- DD and I went to a bar to have a drink and talk about a book idea. (This is the book that I NEED to write at some point.) We were going to go to Old Ebbitt Grill but all three bars in there were packed. The city is clogged with tourists. We then went to Stan's, but there was no room at the bar and two guys refused the hostess' request to move down a single bar stool to make room for two. So we left. We found two spots at the bar at the Post Pub where we stayed for about 90 minutes. I was able to take some notes (since the book idea really comes out after a few drinks).

DD headed to the Metro to head back up to Rockville and his life and family.

**Updated 1:05PM 3/1/2015: Content removed.**

**Updated 1:05PM 3/1/2015: Content removed.**

OK, I think that's all for now. Again, I plan to post a Friday night musical interlude entry.

Oh, yes, I was given a MAJOR assignment at work to write a 20 to 30 page report on technical aspects of geothermal energy production (primarily but not exclusively related to EGS). And it's due by Thursday COB.

I HAVE to do this, and do it well, and so my blogging schedule may very well be interrupted next week.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Fleeting Final Late Season Snowfall in the D.C. City Beautiful and Surrounding Suburbs: A Recap

Updated 632PM 3/26/2013: See new lead picture.

After looking at some nice snowy morning scenes that Kevin Ambrose posted on CWG in this entry, I opted to change my lead image / top image to the one above. He took it yesterday morning probably around 8AM. Though I work relatively close to the U.S. Capitol Bldg -- and right off the National Mall -- I was not there at this hour.


Returning to the original entry ...

Damp and drizzly, rather chilly and gloomy evening cross Connecticut Avenue at M Street and Rhode Island Avenue, Washington, D.C., 7:27PM March 25, 2013.

The snow that fell in the wee hours of the morning was long gone in downtown and midtown Washington. I post this image first because this is the reality D.C. proper experienced during the day.


By contrast ...

This is what it apparently looked like in Wheaton, Md., just north of the District this morning. This image appeared on the Capital Weather Gang in this entry.


So there was actually accumulating snow in the D.C. area on Monday, although it was hardly a blockbuster, and by the end of the day, downtown / "midtown" Washington featured just the usual wet streets that have been so common this season in would-be snow events. Having said that, though, it was actually "snowy" when I woke up pre-dawn around 5AM and looked outside with moderate snow falling and covering the cars and grass and even beginning to accumulate on the roadways. I did not get a picture of that.

Here is a picture that Capital Weather Gang-ster Ian Livingston took this morning in upper NW D.C. (not sure of the exact street) that was in the same CWG entry.

Snow totals in the Baltimore / Washington area ranged from a slushy trace to about 5 inches in parts of Baltimore, Carroll, and Howard Counties in Maryland. Farther west toward the Allegheny Front, in the Shenandoah around Front Royal, and into the Potomac Highlands totals were 6 to 8 inch range with 9" in Frostburg, Md., and spots in Grant and Mineral Counties, W.Va. The highest total I saw was 10" in Cherry Grove (Pendleton County), W.Va.

Baltimore / Washington area-wide and more extended regional snowfall totals as shown in this Sterling LWX CWA map (although I cropped the image somewhat). Click on image for larger version.


Officially at the three airport climate station totals and the year-to-date and overall seasonal totals, departures, and current 30-year (1981 - 2010) average normals are as follows:

KDCA: 1.3"
Year: 3.0" / -12.4" (15.4")
Seasonal average / departure: 15.4" / -12.4"

KBWI: 3.2" (Daily record)
Year: 8.0" / -12.0" (20.0")
Seasonal average / departure: 20.1" / -12.1"

KIAD: 3.2" (Daily record)
Year: 12.7" / -8.7" (21.4")
Seasonal average / departure: 22.0" / -9.3"

Overall precip totals are a bit below normal at KDCA and KBWI but a bit above normal at KIAD. I'll try to post the monthly totals at the end of March. This was the most snow so late in the year since 1990 at both KIAD and KDCA. In that year, KIAD actually had another 2.7" on April 6, 1990 (not to be confused with the April 6, 1982 snowstorm that hit New Jersey and New York -- which I remember as I was living in New Jersey then -- but not the D.C. area).

As it is, this is probably the last of the snow chances this year and the pattern will slowly begin to warm up.

Last year by this point, it had been ridiculously warm not just in the D.C. area but nationwide. The cherry blossoms in D.C. had already come and gone.

Not so this year. As a result, the signature tree in D.C. -- the Yoshino cherry trees -- have yet to blossom.

Nevertheless, even with the cold / wet weather, the tourists are beginning to descend en masse on D.C., clogging up the Metro and failing to stand to the right on the (functioning) escalators, and just all around being annoying. Of course, I don't mind giving directions to those that ask.


I went to the gym tonight after work (and a decently productive day), and I had a very good work out including 45+5 minutes on the treadmill, nearly an hour weight-lifting (on the machines), and a half hour in the swimming pool (and this was in large part actual lap swimming). I went to the gym four days in a row, and now I'm taking off Tuesday and Wednesday.

The nearly Full Moon (waxing gibbous) seen through the thinning clouds and the floral boughs of the blossoming cherry tree that grows at the corner of 16th and S Streets NW (right next to the Masonic temple). This is the tree featured as the lead image in my previous entry, and I'm still not sure what kind it is, though I am assuming it is a flowering cherry of some sort.


I was miffed, though, that my weight had jumped up 2.5 pounds to 160.5 pounds from my "global" low last week of 158 pounds and 1.5 pounds from Saturday. Yes, I realize that is probably just in the variance noise,  but it came after 4 days in a row of going and three with good cardio. 
I am also well aware that in a world where an estimated 1 billion people people live on $2 a day or less and many lack access to adequate food, clean water, sanitation, and health care, this is such a First World American "middle class" bourgeois type of problem (all the more so given the typical Americans' weight as they break wind in front of the TV while the watching Fox News Channel).

As it is, I don't think I'm going to lose too much more weight. I may have bottomed out. I just can't lose the remaining 10 to 15 pounds of mid section flab (even though it is no longer visible when I'm dressed, except maybe just in a t-shirt).


OK, that's all for now. I'm not planning on taking the computer home Tuesday or Wednesday nights, so my next update will not be until Thursday.

Today (March 26th) is Kristof's birthday. Happy Birthday, Kristof!

Gary and I are taking him to dinner at Pines of Florence. As for his age, he's JUST ABOUT 24-1/2 Martian years old.

On Wednesday after work, DD and I may go to Old Ebbitt Grill to the Old Bar and have a drink and discuss the book idea.

As for this coming weekend, I am going to try to post my two New Jersey entries, and barring something major, I will just focus on them. I don't need to post another frickin' political commentary on this or that.


Monday, March 25, 2013

A Snow Filler Entry -OR- The Last of the Winter 2012 - 2013 D.C. Snowfall Potentials

A cherry blossom tree (unsure of kind -- not the "Japanese" (Yoshino) sort) at the corner of 16th and S Streets NW Washington, D.C., 7:02PM March 23, 2013. YES, the cherry blossoms are actually later than "normal" this year --- by which I mean the "normal" of the past 20 years or so.


I don't think I can post much of an entry right now. I just got back from home after a nice night at Nellie's with Gary and then (especially) Larry's Lounge with Gary, Kristof, and Wendy. Yes, I've had several drinks.

There is a complex weather system approaching with the chance of rain AND accumulating snow EVEN in Washington, D.C., proper, but that seems (as ever) a stretch. There was some snow earlier but it's drizzling now -- ahead of the main and complex event. For more info, read the Sterling LWX or the Capital Weather Gang sites.

Current LWX snowfall forecast through 6PM EDT March 25, 2013 issued at 10:39PM EDT March 24, 2013. Eh.  


It's shortly after midnight right now, and I need to go to bed. I have been to the gym the past three days, and I plan to go tomorrow, and then take off Tuesday and Wednesday (the former is also Kristof's b'day, and we may go to dinner).

Anyway, I'm going to bed now. Please read this New York Times op-ed (which appears in Monday's regular print edition) by Paul Krugman: Hot Money Blues. And, as ever, you should read his blog.

As an aside, the members of The WaHoPo editorial board -- i.e., Received Beltway Conventional Wisdom Central -- would soil themselves if that kind of op-ed managed to make it into their print edition newspaper. As ever, that group instead exists in a "professional centrist" think tank reality of "entitlement reform" on the backs of the working class poor, self-righteous fixation on Monica's Dress and the kind of "moral turpitude" morality tales that entails, Free Trade fetishism, and grandiose neocon "nation building" imperialism.

Yours truly walking home from Nellie's (and nearing my apartment) in the 1400 block of U Street NW Washington, D.C., 3:29AM March 23, 2013.


OK, I have to go to bed now. At this point, I probably won't be updating this blog until Wednesday or even possibly Thursday. Oh, yes, I went to the gym three nights in a row -- including a good workout on Saturday evening and a decent one on Sunday late afternoon, and I plan to go tomorrow night before taking off two nights (on Tuesday and Wednesday.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

F-You-Or-Get Him and Instead Dancing With Billy Idol

Updated 8:23PM 3/23/2013: See below.

This is the "F/CK YOU" song by Cee Lo Green with its official video. The song is very funny and catchy, and the video set in a diner in the late 1950s or early 1960s is both enjoyable yet poignant for the story of a young man it is telling. (The "clean" version is called "Forget You".)

"I guess the change in my pocket wasn't enough, I'm like f/k you and f/k f/k him too ... I guess she's an Xbox and I'm more Atari ... I pity the fool that falls in love with you ..."

Wholly unrelated, it has been a while since I wrote anything about M. Wade Tipamillyun.

I guess increasingly I just don't care.

One thing I never mentioned is where I got that nickname -- aside from the obvious tipping reference. It was my adaptation of the really cool-sounding M. Night Shyamalan, the professional name of the Indian screenwriter and film director. Furthermore, given the genre of his movies, my adaptation of it is doubly relevant.

Actually, though, this wasn't even this song I had stuck in my head earlier today. That distinction goes to Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself".

You see, Gentle Reader, I've been on a bit of a Billy Idol kick (his music AND his look, the latter at least how he looked back in the 1970s and 1980s). Indeed, I was listening repeatedly to two songs in particular ("Eyes Without a Face" and "Dancing With Myself") and looking up interviews then and now with him.

I find myself quite intrigued by Billy Idol.

For a punk rocker (and later, as I gather, a New Wave / post-punk rocker), he actually had / has a beautiful deep crooner's voice that you could / can often hear in his songs (when he wasn't / isn't screaming in a sweaty frenzy), and as a young man, he was very handsome -- indeed, he actually had a youthful angelic beauty.

Billy Idol in an interview back in November 1977 on the occasion of his 20th birthday when he was still with Generation X. (Why are his eyes dark brown here but blue in other pictures including the one above? I didn't think color contacts existed back in the early 1980s.)


Screen shot of Billy Idol is the music video accompanying "Dancing With Myself" (which apparently was a bit of a remake of the version he originally did as part of Generation X). This video was probably from about 1982 and features as a dancing troupe a popular topic today -- post-apocalyptic zombies.


Another Billy Idol / Dancing With Myself music video screen shot. This shows his youthful soft angelic gentleness to which I was referring.


Born William Michael Albert Broad on November 30, 1957 in the Greater London area, Billy Idol never actually married but has two children, a boy and a girl. He lived a rather rough life and now at age 55 doesn't exactly look like this anymore.

Here is the actual "Dancing With Myself" video I found:

"On the floors of Tokyo / Down in London town's a go-go / With the record selection / And the mirror's reflection / I'm a-dancing with myself...

"When there's no one else in sight / in the crowded lonely night / Well, I wait so long for my love vibration / I'm a dancing with myself ...

"So let's sink another drink / 'Cause it'll give me time to think / And if I had the chance, I'd ask the world to dance / And I'll be dancing with myself ..."

As for his 1984 song "Eyes Without a Face", I recall this parody of it many years ago (maybe on Saturday Night Live) when a woman was dressed up as Billy Idol and singing a parody version, "My Voice Doesn't Match My Face".

Ha ha

Actually, in a weird way, his voice does match his face. And so, without further ado, here is the video I found for "Eyes Without a Face":

"I spend so much time believing all the lies / To keep the dream alive / Now it makes me sad / It makes me mad at truth /  For loving what was you ...

"Les yeux sans visage / Eyes without a face / Got no human grace / You're eyes without a face / Such a human waste / You're eyes without a face ..."


Updated 8:23PM 3/23/2013:
I should have posted a link to Billy Idol's website, so here it is. I had some scripting issues in Internet Explorer but in Chrome it seems to be fine.  I was looking at the Bikes, Busses and Beyond link showing all the concert touring he still does with his band, so he is clearly still quite active.


OK, I think that wraps up my Billy Idol fixation for now. As it is, I need to go to the gym first on this sunny, pleasant Saturday in late March.

View from my 5th floor apartment looking out toward the Adams Morgan section of Washington, D.C., 12:48PM March 23, 2013.


There is a complex weather system approaching with rain and maybe some wet snow, but we're not going to go down that road. However, I recommend this Capital Weather Gang entry -- not for the content so much as the comment in which the CWG blogger (Ian Livingston) loses his temper with an annoying commenter. But in that forum and given his role, he simply cannot do that, so he apologizes a few times. My comment is also in there (see if you can find it).


Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Night Musical Interlude: March 22nd, 2013 "What Season Is It Anyway?" Edition

"Fellowship Hall" by Euge Groove ("House of Groove" release, 2012)


"Early Autumn" by Mezzoforte and performed live in Reykjavik in 2007 (the band is an Icelandic one) ( "Surprise, Surprise" release, 1982)


"Last Summer Song" by Acoustic Alchemy ("Early Alchemy" release, 1992)

The song is a pleasant enough smooth jazz instrumental, but I especially like the still frame images that accompany this video. These images are beautiful tropical seaside ones -- some with surprisingly rugged island terrain as well -- that are apparently from Palawan Island in the Philippines .

About this video, this is a prime one for eventual removal from YouTube for whatever reason. This is a risk I run with all of these Friday night musical interlude videos from YouTube. I occasionally discover one has been taken down and try to replace it (usually without noting the change).


OK, that's all for now. I think I'll go to No. 9 tonight and/or Nellie's. I need to go to the gym again tomorrow. I went this evening after work, and it was an OK workout.

I intend to update the blog over the weekend (time-permitting, possibly with my looong overdue New Jersey trip entries for my great Aunt Babe's 100th birthday -- she's going to be 101 by the time I post these two entries).


Thursday, March 21, 2013

How Negative Our Arctic Oscillation -OR- About That Giant Mountain of Air Over Greenland

Surface pressure over parts of North America, the North Atlantic, and Greenland in late March 2013 (unsure the day) showing a massive ridge over Greenland associated with the current highly negative Arctic Oscillation. This image came from a Capital Weather Gang entry earlier today (see link below).


This is just a quick update after work since I am not taking the computer home tonight. I am also not going to the gym tonight (I'll go tomorrow night and either Saturday or Sunday, as well as Monday). I am meeting Kristof later at Larry's Lounge, though I may walk home from work via downtown and maybe stop somewhere (Elephant & Castle or Post Pub).

So I just wanted to note that we are in an unusually COLD pattern over the East Coast / mid-Atlantic region for March (and on the first full day of spring). This March is radically different from last March when temperatures averaged for the full month a record 10.0F to 10.1F degrees above normal at KDCA and at KBWI and KIAD, respectively.

By contrast, here is an image (click on it for larger version) showing the March 2012 height anomalies (left) and temperature (right) anomalies showing. Parts of the Great Lakes region ran 27F above normal for the month. That's insane.


Today only reached 42F at KDCA or -16F below normal and het overall departure for the day through 5PM is -10F. It aws 70F at KDCA last March 21st. KBWI reached 40F for a high (-15F) and KIAD reached noly 37F (-20F) and was also below freezing this morning (31F). All three airport climate stations should go below freezing tomorrow morning. Record lows are unlikely, though (it was just a helluva lot colder in the late 19th/ early 20th Centuries here in March).

Observed Arctic Oscillation (see link below) for four months through March 21, 2013 and the ensemble mean forecasts through the next month. It is presently nearly -6 standard deviations below the mean. Astonishing.


There was an interesting piece on the Capital Weather Gang site today about how incredibly negative the Arctic Oscillation (AO) pattern is right now. (In this case, I think the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which is a kind of "regional" subset of the AO, is also negative, but not nearly as negative as the AO. The two are typically but not always in phase.)

Schmatic of the positive AO (left) and negative AO (right) with darker purple representing higher atmospheric pressure and whiter representing lower atmospheric pressure (in mb).


Very negative AO's / NAO's are associated with warmer / high pressure conditions over the Arctic including Greenland and colder / lower pressure conditions over the middle Northern Hemisphere latitudes (in particular in the 30N to 45N belt).

A better schematic of a negative phase Arctic Oscillation and its effects over the North Atlantic, North America, and Eurasia.


The current high over Greenland is massive -- it was analyzed recently (within the past couple of days) at 1074mb (31.72") (see surface map below). For reference, the highest surface barometric pressure ever recorded was about 1084mb (32.01") somewhere near the village of Agata, Siberia on Dec. 31, 1968. (I found another higher reading in Mongolia in 2001 but was unsure of its validity). I can't imagine how cold it was.

The top 12 record low daily Arctic Oscillation values including average value and minimum value. This does not take into include the current negative episode. Many of these dates were associated with historic cold waves and tremendous snowstorms in the Eastern U.S.


And I'm guessing that would give you quite a sinus headache. Temperatures apparently have also been unusually warm over Greenland -- calling to mind the "flash melting" over nearly all of the Greenlandic ice sheet that occurred last July, though that was in mid-summer.

The top negative AO episode in the chart was in January 1977 -- and occurred basically simultaneously with one of the coldest outbreaks ever in the United States with a massive freeze down to South Florida, where snow was reported in many areas on the 19th (although snow never officially fell at Miami International Airport, where it got down to 31F; Fort Lauderdale hit 28F). Above is the headline in the now-defunct The Miami News. You may read more about this Florida cold wave here.


A somewhat speculative topic that is of great interest to me is what would happen if Greenland underwent abrupt climate change with rapid warming / catastrophic breakup of its massive icesheet. The influx of cold fresh water into the North Atlantic could cause another "Younger Dryas" type event. It is for this reason that the quicker global warming / human induced climate change occurs, the quicker the next ice age might come.

Surface weather map as of late Tuesday, March 19, 2013 over the North Atlantic and parts of North America. The high over Greenland is analyzed at 1074mb (31.72").

Considered in a simplified way, any approaching low pressure (however deep) simply "bounces" off that mountain of air and goes no where.


But that aside, atmospheric conditions over Greenland have a big impact on the weather 2,500 miles away "upstream" along the East Coast of North America including here in D.C. This also includes the Arctic in general and the "sudden stratospheric warmings" -- such as the one that happened in January right as there occurred and that was associated with a wholesale hemispheric pattern change. And the loss of Arctic Ocean sea ice -- the "icy crown" of Planet Earth -- will have significant consequences for the climate.

A simulation of a possible not-too-distant future summertime: Planet Earth without its beautiful Arctic Ocean ice cap crown. And it's more than an aesthetic issue -- this would have profound consequences for the climate system. (As it is, Greenland would likely melt enough in such a scenario as to have altered the oceanic conveyor belt with dramatic consequences.)


Anyway, there is another complex low pressure system with two low centers forecasted to move across the Eastern Seaboard by Monday night.

There is a primary low to the west over the Appalachians that should fill and a coastal low. While the rain/snow line / surface 32F line will be within 100 miles of D.C., a significant snowfall event is unlikely. It's just too late in the year.* I'm discounting the NAM and GFS runs whose deterministic run animations show what looks like snowstorms here. The MOS numbers have to be taken into account.

As for the all-knowing ECMWF ("Euro"), I think its most recent run shows it too warm here (as it did in the epic "Snowquester" bust).

*Of course, well do I remember the snowstorm of April 6, 1982, but I was living in New Jersey at the time. I understand D.C. just had flurries (still remarkable for April here).

OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will be my FNMI.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Shocked and Awed: Thoughts on the Iraq War Catastrophe 10 Years Later

The first wave of American "coalition" bombing of Baghdad at the start of the catastrophic Iraq War, March 19th (20th?), 2003.


I just wanted to note that tonight is the 10th anniversary of the start of the Bush / neocon Iraq War catastrophe, among the greatest foreign policy blunders ever in the U.S., and though the same cabal and their media cheerleaders and enablers are still around and given prominent perches from which to spew.

Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell -- who actually knew better -- addresses the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003 in which he recites the Nigerien "yellowcake" uranium hoax, itself a central part of the Iraq is building WMDs lie, that was used as a Bush pretext for a war of aggression.

It's hard to describe the atmosphere back then -- still raw and fearful after the 9/11 attacks with Bush & Co. exploiting it viciously to start a war against a nation that had nothing to do with what happened and posed no real national security threat to the U.S. or its interests.

While progressive commentators* and even some regular journalists have written about this -- including the MSNBC top talent nightly lineup, in particular Rachel Maddow (whose February 2013 series Hubris: Selling the Iraq War based on the book of similar title by Michael Isikoff and David Corn is a must-see) -- have been all over this story in the past week, those that brought the disaster were also out making the rounds and/or tweeting about how everything is just great.

A somewhat contrived "iconic" moment in Iraq as a statue of Saddam Hussein is pulled down by U.S. forces in Firdos Square in Baghdad, April 9, 2003.


I refer to Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld** (Cheney has also made comments in the past few months to the effect that everything turned out terrific and he'd change nothing), not to mention that pimped out think tank "scholar" Michael O'Hanlon.

This complete lack of introspection, not to mention living in an alternate reality, is very much the hallmark of the GOP in 2013 on pretty much every issue, in part due to the media-entertainment complex that has taken over the party itself and drives it.

A British soldier jumps from his tank in a petrol attack on his convoy in Basra, Iraq, September 2005.


*Here is a New York Times editorial Ten Years After posted today (3/19 online and 3/20 print edition) on the topic ten years later.

**Rumsfeld's vulgar and provocative tweet today garnered an appropriate response -- not that it will make any difference.

As for George W. Bush, the crusading War Hero with a hot line to Jesus, he just lives in his splendid isolation these days painting weird pictures.

For me, the worst behavior of all was exhibited by the D.C. media and pundit circle jerk crowd centered at Beltway Received Conventional Wisdom / Washington Consensus Central: The Washington Post Editorial Board (and the stable of op-ed columnists) plus David Gregory and late Tim Russert

And while a few of the names have changed -- Ruth "Mother" Marcus in place of Ben's Chili Bowl Wittes, Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt was there in 2003 and he's still there in a Zen-like state of "Professional Centrism," now obsessing about Social Security and how to slash it ("entitlement reform") in order to give the GOP its dream corporate oligarchical over-class / wage-slave underclass state.

And the neocons are still in D.C, given prominent "voice" on the op-ed pages or on the mind-numbing Sunday talk shows, banging the war drums for new imperialistic misadventures in Iran, Syria, and even North Korea.

This was one of the iconic photos of the early Iraq War: Private First Class Joseph Dwyer carries a young Iraqi boy injured during a battle between the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry Regiment and Iraqi forces near Al Faysaliyah, Iraq on March 25, 2003. As for Dwyer, tormented horribly by what he experienced in Iraq, died in July 2008 of a strange and slow-motion suicide.


There were two articles in the Huffington Post linked here and here about the media's role back then and whether or not it could happen again (answer: absolutely yes).

My personal antipathy for The WaHoPo -- and why it is The WaHoPo instead of The WaPo -- is due to the editorial board's inexcusable dismissal of the Bush election theft in 2000 and the paper's overall Iraq War travesty, banging war drums and acting as a conduit for misinformation and lies in its news and editorial / op-ed section.

Here is a piece entitled "Marches of Folly" written by Paul Krugman that appeared on Monday 3/18 in the print New York Times. It builds on his recent blog entry. The Monday op-ed column online version includes a link to Howard "Mistah" Kurtz's uncharacteristically provocative piece in The Daily Beast: Media's failure on Iraq still stings.

I say "uncharacteristically provocative" since Kurtz is basically Mr. Received Conventional Wisdom himself.

I'd also like to link to Jonathan Chait's take on it. His mea culpa for having supported the war is somewhat different and more limited than other progressive writers. Read why here.

This is far too big a topic to address tonight, so I just wanted to mention it. There is no shortage of information or pictures you can find.

One of countless car bombings in Iraq in the mayhem that ensued.


I wanted to post this piece in Salon entitled "Iraq War, by the Numbers" by Natasha Lennard. Of note, the total civilian casualty figure could be as high as a million -- no one counted -- and the total US expenditures so far are in other studies are put over $2 trillion.

A soldier holds a dead Iraqi girl in Mosul who was killed in a war that did not have to happen.


Number of years since the U.S. invaded Iraq: 10
Number of Iraqi civilians dead as a consequence: At minimum, between 123,000 and 134,000
Number of Iraqis internally displaced or who fled the country: 2.8 million (that’s one in 12 Iraqis)
Number of U.S. troop casualties: 4,484
Number of coalition troop casualties: 4,803
Number of U.S. troops wounded: 32,223
Number of non-Iraqi contractors killed: at least 463
Number of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnoses in U.S. service members: 103,792
Number of bombs dropped in Shock and Awe Campaign: 4,845
U.S. financial cost so far: $1.7 trillion
Amount owed to U.S. veterans in benefits: $490 billion
Predicted cost to U.S. over next four decades: $6 trillion
Cost of U.S. reconstruction efforts: $60 billion
Amount of reconstruction effort funds wasted: over $8 billion
Halliburton overcharges classified by the Pentagon as Unreasonable and Unsupported: $1.4 billion

Number of WMDs discovered: 0 (emphasis added)

President Bush gets to play make-believe war hero under the notorious "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Lincoln on May 1, 2003 -- just as Iraq was descending into hellish chaos.


OK, that's all for now. I ended up taking the computer home tonight and once again had a good gym work out (including 4 mile jog and some weight lifting combined with a partial session with T.) and capped with a half hour swim in the pool.

I'm not taking the computer home tomorrow (Wednesday) after work and possibly not on Thursday, so my next update may not be until Friday evening.