Tuesday, July 30, 2013

More Dental and Paternal Parental Woes -OR- Got Any Dandy Denham's Dentifrice?

Picturesque clouds in the sky over Washington, D.C., as seen from Vermont Avenue and T Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:58PM July 28, 2013. This summer has been unusually pleasant and (mostly) without the hellish heat and humidity.


OK, I'm kind of upset tonight. It's clear that my dental issue is not resolving itself -- even though at this point the swelling is basically gone (if only because of the antibiotics) -- and I'm going to have to go back to my dentist this week. Tooth #14 with its slightly over sized crown feels "funny" and my gum above it is again tender and sore. I'm almost at a point that I just want the crown on #14 gone. It has just caused me too much trouble over the years. I'm expecting this thing to start to swell again.

Maybe there is some deep down abscess in my left cheek.

Cirrus and cirrostratus clouds in the sky as seen above the steeple of the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, Washington, D.C., 8:05PM July 28, 2013.


I nixed the $1,700 gum treatment I was supposed to get next month but I told my dentist's office that it could keep the $293 credit I should have (the first payment installment) since I was going to need to come by again.

I'm so flippin' sick of dental problems. If anything is going to kill me before my allotted time, it's going to be a dental issue that flares uncontrollably. Maybe I'll die soon.

Yes, I'm in a flippin' bad mood right now, so I don't think I'm going to post much of an entry now.

As for dental issues, this scene from the late, great Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 involving the fictitious "dentifrice" (toothpaste) Denham's has been in my head and seems appropriate, as do the pictures.

"Denham's Dentifrice."

Shut up, thought Montag. Consider the lilies of the field.

"Denham's Dentifrice."

They toil not --

"Denham's --"

Consider the lilies of the field, shut up, shut up.


He tore the book open and flicked the pages and felt of them as if he were blind, he picked at the shape of the individual letters, not blinking.

"Denham's. Spelled: D-E-N-"

They toil not, neither do they -

A fierce whisper of hot sand through empty sieve.

"Denham's does it!"

Consider the lilies, the lilies, the lilies ...

"Denham's dental detergent."
"Shut up, shut up, shut up!" ...
"Lilies of the field."
"Lilies, I said!"
The people stared.
"Call the guard." ...
"The man's off -"
"Knoll View!"
The train hissed to a stop.
"Knoll View!" A cry.
"Denham's." A whisper.
Montag's mouth barely moved. "Lilies ..."

The train door whistled open. Montag stood. The door gasped, started shut. Only then did he leap past the other passengers, screaming in his mind, plunging through the slicing door only in time. He ran on the white tiles up through the tunnels, ignoring the escalators, because he wanted to feel his feet move, arms swing, lungs clench, unclench, feel his through go raw with air. A voice drifted after him, "Denham's, Denham's, Denham's," the train hissed like a snake. The train vanished in its hole.

Thank you and with apologies, Mr. Bradbury, for the excerpt. (Yes, that's an image of my autographed copy of Fahrenheit 451 from April 28, 1993.)


Just a few other items ...

Saturday night's Eye-talian dinner with Quill was awful because I picked a place (Pines of Florence) that I have in the past very much liked but do not intend to go to anymore ... It's a wreck inside and it just sucked. However, I liked seeing Quill. Next time, I'll have a better choice in mind.

After we parted, I went to No. 9 and then met LP at 1905, where we sat on the darkened rooftop bar / deck in the "soft city" cloudy darkness looking at the nice view, and as an end the night, we went to Nellie's.

Construction in the yard at the corner of Q and 17th Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 5:56PM July 28, 2013.


I had a good gym workout on Sunday but tonight's (Monday's) was worthless. I didn't even go in the pool. I'm not going to go tomorrow. I may go to the weekly Tuesday night happy hour event through Andrea's group. Tomorrow night it is at Barcode, where there is half priced bottles of wine.

The equestrian statue of Major General and Sen. John A. Logan at the center of Logan Circle, Washington, D.C., silhouetted on the sky, 8:10PM July 28, 2013. There were thunderstorms well to the southeast and the setting Sun was creating subtle colors on the high clouds.


Oh, yes, I had a nice conversation with my mom on the phone, though she is still quite sick from whatever that Chinese malady her boss picked up over there on a trip and brought back to the office. As for my dad, what started out a good conversation ended up typically sh!tty. For starters, that woman Shannon he lives with (one of her mug shots is here) started squawking like a severely hoarse-voiced-from-chain-smoking, rabid chicken (is there such a thing?) in the background. Next, he proceeded to tell me how his new life goal is to buy a double-wide trailer in The (flippin') Hammocks north of Flagler Beach where (he said proudly) "A1A is a half mile from the beach."


As it is, he is demanding and trying to guilt me into going down there, but I can't as long as that woman and her 14 year old daughter are around. That is a Flagler County Sheriff Officer's wet dream to walk in on some howling mess (she seems to rough him up occasionally when she has her bad spells, most recently throwing into a sliding glass door, whereupon she was arrested and charged with aggravated battery on a senior citizen ; (he's 72 and she's half his age), except he didn't want to pursue it and then proceeded to bail her out anyway) and arrest a 43 year old lib'rul Socialist gay guy from Washington, D.C., on a Nancy Grace "I Guarantee" Dream-Fantasy List of trumped up and lurid but (in America in 2013) immediately convictable charges. That's not going to happen.

Yours truly and the silhouetted equestrian statue of Maj. Gen. John Logan at Logan Circle, Washington, D.C., 8:10PM July 28, 2013.


OK, that's all for now. I may not update this blog until Wednesday or Thursday.


Monday, July 29, 2013

AMER ECON & HIST 101 Courtesy THE WASHINGTON CONSENSUS -OR- Sebastian Mallaby Sings a Free Trade Lullaby

The wreckage of what was once a Detroit factory, probably an automotive plant of some sort.

This entry features excerpts of an AP story about what you get when you listen to the "The Washington Consensus" crowd (including past and present members of the WaHoPo Editorial Board) ...

... of pimped out pundits and think tank fake academics that form the D.C. imperial court of jesters to and lapdogs of the corporate oligarchical overclass with its reality of endless off-shoring, nonstop downsizing, ceaseless reverse-class warfare, popping asset bubbles and Wall Street bailouts, and unilateral U.S. economic surrender to countries practicing brutal mercantilism, er, "Free Trade."

Above: Sebastian Mallaby, Tory expatriate, former WaHoPo editorial writer and all-around intellectual-for-corporate rent, explains from his Council on Foreign Relations swivel chair  what is the "natural rate" of unemployment for millions of Americans and need for "structural reforms" (i.e., Goldman Sachs stealing all your Social Security money and any remaining pensions) while his cohort, Ben Wittes, provides legal justifications for whatever the post-9/11 ever-metastasizing military / industrial / surveillance state wants to do. But at least we get a dollop of throwaway but ultimately pointless political correctness ("I'M FOR GAY MARRIAGE, TOO!")


I'm also posting extended excerpts of it although with images I found of the haunting, post-apocalyptic-like urban wastes of Detroit, a city that went into bankruptcy this month.

One of these days I'll have to mention the movie Damnation Alley and how the climactic Planet Earth-tilts-back-on-its-axis scene occurs while they are in the post-nuclear war wreckage of Detroit (looking for spare parts).

Exclusive: 4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work

Working-class whites are gloomy about future amid rising income gaps, racial shifts

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend ...

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in the government's poverty data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

The gauge defines "economic insecurity" as a year or more of periodic joblessness, reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.

Marriage rates are in decline across all races, and the number of white mother-headed households living in poverty has risen to the level of black ones.

"It's time that America comes to understand that many of the nation's biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position," said William Julius Wilson, a Harvard professor who specializes in race and poverty. He noted that despite continuing economic difficulties, minorities have more optimism about the future after Obama's election, while struggling whites do not.

"There is the real possibility that white alienation will increase if steps are not taken to highlight and address inequality on a broad front," Wilson said.

Nationwide, the count of America's poor remains stuck at a record number: 46.2 million, or 15 percent of the population, due in part to lingering high unemployment following the recession. While poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics are nearly three times higher, by absolute numbers the predominant face of the poor is white.

More than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four, accounting for more than 41 percent of the nation's destitute, nearly double the number of poor blacks.

Sometimes termed "the invisible poor" by demographers, lower-income whites generally are dispersed in suburbs as well as small rural towns, where more than 60 percent of the poor are white. Concentrated in Appalachia in the East, they are numerous in the industrial Midwest and spread across America's heartland, from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma up through the Great Plains.

Buchanan County, in southwest Virginia, is among the nation's most destitute based on median income, with poverty hovering at 24 percent. The county is mostly white, as are 99 percent of its poor.


OK, I intend to post one more entry tonight. I'm still having dental problems.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Jukebox Saturday Night Entry: The Great Bix Beiderbecke, Nightlife, and Post-Storm Edition

"At the Jazz Band Ball" as performed by Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke and His Gang (1927)

In the same spirit, here is another Bix Beiderbecke piece ...

"There'll Come a Time" (1928) (performed, I think, with Frankie Trumbauer)

This second video shows some images from his far-too-short life, as well as other 1920s images. (Yes, there's a brief glimpse of a topless lady in it -- just deal with it.) Poor Bix Beiderbecke ... So much wonderful talent, yet such a terribly brief and tragic life.

Bix in 1924 when he was about 21 years old. He died in 1931 at age 28.


"I Love the Nightlife" by Alicia Bridges (1978)

Yes, I realize this song was redone, in a manner of speaking and most famously in the 1994 movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. That was a bizarre movie. The actor Hugo Weaving in this movie was also Agent Smith in The Matrix. Oh, yes, I also realize that in this video version I posted, the audio is totally out of sync with her singing -- sort of like in an old Bruce Lee Kung Fu movie.


And we'll end with an upbeat smooth jazz piece (the silhouetted still figure on a deep blue background in the YouTube video notwithstanding)...

"After the Storm" by Norman Brown (1994)


Okay, that's all for now. My next planned update will be either Monday or Tuesday night.


A Passing Saturday Wet T-Storm and Quick Blog Update

View from my Hampton Courts 5th floor apartment during a downpour overlooking New Hampshire Avenue and the intersection of 16th and U Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 5:11PM July 27, 2013.


Just a quick Saturday late afternoon update.

For starters, we had a quick thunderstorm blow through the area, though it looks like KDCA only had 0.09" and KIAD 0.19". The radar shows it moving into the Baltimore area and Anne Arundel County, but it may just graze BWI Airport (KBWI) and the nearby area where my mom lives (Millersville). The remaining images in this short entry are screen captures of NWS radar images over the past 90 minutes with explanation. The weather continues to be quite "mild" this summer -- there is no sign of any hellish heat coming (the previous week's hot weather was an anomaly this summer) -- and it continues to be sufficiently wet.

Sterling (LWX) radar in the familiar "enhanced base mode" reflectivity at 4:53PM July 27, 2013 showing a small cluster of t-storms across the immediate D.C. area.


Secondly, I didn't get up until 130PM, and then I had to work for a solid 3 hours on the big Hawaii report, editing, formatting, and assembling one of the chapters. This draft document, a real door-stopper if printed out, has a drop-dead due date of the 31st. Actually, it's in electronic form, and if I may say so, it is quite comprehensive and has tons of useful and important info -- I really hope it is put to good use in its intended location for its meta-purpose. However, the complexity of it has been akin to a complicated jigsaw puzzle or Lego set with so many subsections to evaluate. I've built up nearly 11 hour surplus this pay period working on this project.

This is actually the new experimental enhanced data display (including radar images) that the NWS is developing, in this case, showing the radar at 5PM today (July 27, 2013) as the aforementioned cluster of t-storms approached the D.C. area.

The display should be a nationwide one, but I honed in on Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the District of Columbia. I'm still not entirely sure of all the new toggles and buttons on this display, and you have to zoom in initially starting with a Google world map (which is not entirely practical for ease-of-viewing).

Here is a close-up of the 5:00PM experimental radar display showing the same t-storm as it moved across the immediate D.C. area.


As a result of working, I did not get to the gym today, but I went yesterday evening and I intend to go tomorrow. I was a bit concerned going for a regular workout (jogging, weight-lifting, and swimming) given that my gum infection is not entirely gone and I'm still on antibiotics, but it didn't make anything worse. About that topic, I still have a very minor bit of swelling on the left cheek but it's not immediately noticeable. Nevertheless, given my history with this issue, I am still concerned.

The LWX radar back in enhanced base mode reflectivity at 5:39PM (July 27, 2013) but with a slight close up (which you can do with the looped images, except you have to hit the stop button). This shows the storms marching toward Baltimore and northern Anne Arundel County.

Notice the outflow boundary stretching in an arc from the storms down to the tidal Potomac below Charles County and heading eastward toward the Chesapeake.


Last night, I went to Larry's Lounge, where I met Gary and then went home, though I detoured to Local 16 briefly. As for tonight, I'm supposed to meet Quill for dinner, except I'm not exactly sure where to go. I would like to go to an Italian place, and I'd like to try something different. It's not that there is a shortage of restaurants in D.C., but I really don't have one that I love above all others. The closest to that, I guess, is Old Ebbitt Grill at the Old Bar. I would go there but you have to wait until at least 930PM for it not to be too crowded.

Apparently, her boss went to China and came back with some viral infection that he then managed to give to her. She would not do well in China. Neither would I.

I'm going to try to post a quick jukebox Saturday night entry.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Dental Issue Update; Comfort "Me" TV; and Delightful Non-D.C.-Like High Summer Weather

Sunset looking "up" Massachusetts Avenue as seen from 12th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 8:14PM July 24, 2013.

The pictures in this entry were taken both Wednesday night as I walked home from work -- stopping at No. 9 -- and tonight (Thursday night) walking from Farragut West Metro. The weather (as noted below) has been stunningly pleasant for late July high summer in Washington, DeeCee Town, Capital of the Empire, Planet Earth, Terran Solar System, Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy, Local Group, Canes Venatici* Cloud, Outskirts of the Virgo Supercluster, Local Universe.

*See bottom of entry.


So I just wanted to post an update this Thursday night to note that my dental problem has varied since my last entry but at this point, the modest swelling has definitely gone down and my gums and cheek are not nearly as tender as yesterday. I was actually a bit more swollen this morning but did not hurt as much. Right now, I think it's getting better, but owing to the somewhat problematic nature of the issue (Is it an abscess? Is it just an irritation), I am concerned. I've been trying to eat "soft" foods but even these can some irritation and a headache (which makes me think this malady could be something else).

The Old Post Office Pavilion with its clock tower with bells, Washington, D.C., 8:00PM July 24, 2013.


I skipped the gym again tonight as I was unsure about doing much physical activity when not feeling well. In addition, I was feeling rather badly around 7PM with a bit of a fevered headache. I will try to go tomorrow and certainly over the weekend.

A patch of blue through a cumulus / stratocumulus cloud deck over D.C., as seen from 18th and N Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 7:21PM July 25, 2013.

The movie "A Patch of Blue" is one of my favorite.


It's Thursday night (well, Friday morning by the time I post this), and I'm home watching ANOTHER network called Memorable Entertainment Television (but called "Me TV") (not to be confused with "We TV" that is carried by WJLATD2, one of the digital "sub" channels of WJLA Channel 7 here in D.C. -- and carried by channel 313 on my RCN. It features a nightly line up that includes "Bewitched", "I Dream of Jeannie", "The Mary Tyler Moore Shore", "Rhoda", and "The Odd Couple". Between this and Antenna TV, not to mention the jazz music channel, I could live deep in the gentler comedic and musical stretches of the American 20th Century. Later on, I will watch The Golden Girls on Hallmark.

The 1700 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 7:23PM July 25, 2013.


Maybe I'll watch and take refuge in these shows when the GOP Teabagger crazies shut down the Federal Government, maybe for weeks, this autumn in order to get by force their Teabagger fevered dystopian dreams in place, most notably, "abolishing" Obamacare.

However, I cannot stay up too late tonight, as I have to be in the office by 9AM tomorrow rather than my usual 1030AM, but I have a surplus of hours this pay period so far. However, I also have to finish formatting and editing as many as 80 more of those files for the big Hawaii report (in the end, I had help with it so did not have to do the full 448).

An attractive young guy walking along 18th Street near Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, D.C., 7:23PM July 25, 2013.


Lastly, the weather has been absolutely delightful the past two days -- especially this Thursday. It featured highs around 80F (KDCA 82F and 79F at KBWI and KIAD) and dew points in the 55F to 60F range. The evening was especially delightful with a cumulus / stratocumulus cloud deck overhead contrasted so dramatically with a brilliant golden-yellow Sun low in the west. And everything is leafy and fairly well-watered green this summer.

The Ginkgo trees -- including the stinky "female" ones -- in the 1700 block of Corcoran Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:30PM July 25, 2013.


Of note, the temp. anomalies in parts of the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. were the "most" negative globally. This just NEVER happens this time of year, at least in recent summers. The temps today were about -8F below normal -- we are FAAARRR more likely to be +8F above in summer and +16F above in winter, even inside James Inhofe's igloo.

A plot of 2m temperature departures for days 1 - 5 from today's 12Z GFS valid July 26  - 30, 2013. This was on the Capital Weather Gang site and was originally posted by Chicago WGN's Tom Skilling, who has long been the most awesomest TV meteorologist there is (even if he is the brother of Jeffrey Skilling of ENRON infamy).

The forecast has temps rising back in the 80s and with showers and t-storms over the weekend.

Sunlit trees and row houses in the 1600 block of S Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:47PM July 25, 2013.


As for the weekend, I'm planning on meeting Quill for dinner on Saturday evening. I had thought if I was going to be disfigured with a facial swelling, I would just stay inside / away from my usual gay bar haunts, but at this point, that doesn't appear to be necessary. But I don't want to jinx myself by saying that -- this dental issue could flare up again.

Sunlit buildings including "The Tiffany" (on the "backdrop" of the darkened but benign clouds overheat and to the east) in the 1900 block of 16th Street NW as seen from the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, D.C., 7:51PM July 25, 2013.


*Speaking of "Hunting Dogs" ...

Well, not quite. This is rather an incredibly adorable little bulldog puppy asleep in a sort of human seated position on a comfy sofa. This is from a YouTube screenshot of sleeping puppies and kittens that my mom sent me.  In the video, he sort of topples over and snuggles into the sofa.


I would have written more tonight but I ended up talking for nearly an hour to ChrisT in Al-Obama, I mean Alabama.

OK, that's all for now. I may update the blog tomorrow night though more likely on Saturday, unless circumstances warrant.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

1st & 2nd Maxillary Molar Malfunctions -OR- Another Visit by the Ghost of Dental Sins Past

I'm updating this blog after work while still at the office as I do not want to take my computer home. It is having fan issues, as in the fan inside it has been malfunctioning and it overheats. I have a loaner one to use for the time being but I've opted not to take it home either.

My update is to note that I suddenly developed an all-too-familiar problem in my life: DENTAL ISSUES involving my old crowns.

I  really do not like having to post the picture of this hapless little guy with a toothache.

In this case, an irritation and/or infection developed deep in the gums above tooth #14 and #15 -- indeed, on the whole upper left side.

As background, tooth #14 is the one that was crowned back in 2002 (one of three crowns I had done back in 2002 and 2003, and none of which were originally preceded by a root canal) that subsequently became re-infected in October 2010 and required a root canal and a re-crowning -- first a temporary one that itself (because I wore it too long, in turn owing to money issues) began to develop an infection in April 2011 and then (a week or two later, once I got paid) and I promptly removed it (the temp was only on weakly) and finally a permanent one was put on (I can't actually find the entry for that).

Anyway, I started feeling pain in it right after I posted my previous entry and had eaten a late dinner). It bothered me enough that I made on Monday a dental appt. for Wednesday. However, this morning I woke up and it hurt and there was some swelling.

Instantly, I was taken back to the nightmare abscess and hideous disfiguration  in February 2000 when I nearly died alone in that flippin' upstairs room at 7306 Princeton Avenue in College Park, Md.

I called the dentist and was able to move it up. I also had my UHC flexible spending account card -- otherwise, I would have had to wait until tomorrow 'cuz I'm almost flat broke until I get paid.

I made it to the dental office just south of Dupont Circle by 940AM and was quickly seen. At first I feared a reinfection under an existing crown, but I had forgotten it was in fact tooth #14 that had the issue two years ago. Initially, there was some confusion as to what tooth was causing the problem, but after a series of X-rays and discussion / second opinion by the younger dentist in the office, it was decided that there was a cavity on tooth #15 and a food trap between it and #14 that was causing irritation. I had my teeth cleaned -- and a gum inspection performed, at which time it was decided I have periodontal disease - and then the actual cavity filling. I was also put on antibiotics.

At this point, there is still some very minor swelling, but I notice it. In addition, I can still feel some pain well inside the gum. But I don't THINK it is getting worse (if so, I'm going to have to have more serious procedure involving yet another root canal on tooth #15 or perhaps a re-re-drilling of the crown on #14). In the meantime, I arranged to have a periodontal treatment (for $1,700 that I'll pay over there months).

I have rather good oral hygiene including regular brushing and flossing, but I'm living with the aftermath of dental sins from my teenage years and 20s. More than anything, I hate these abscesses and disfigurations.

I didn't get into work until about 1:15PM.  I managed to have a nice lunch at Corner Bakery at 19th and L Streets NW, though I'm just chewing on one side for the time being.

So that's my update for now.  Sigh.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cinéma Vérité -OR- Pathways on Life's All-Too-Short Green

Pathway on the side of Damon's house along 16th St. NW in the 16th Street Heights section of Washington, D.C., 6:07PM July 21, 2013.


I did not think I would be posting a new entry tonight -- although, as you can tell, my stated and actual blogging schedule rarely match up with the latter significantly more frequent than the former -- but I brought the computer home tonight.

For starters, please see my previous entry for an update including two additional pictures. The first is of my great Uncle Richard "Bubby" Acerra who died last Friday that is from the Asbury Park Press obituary (also linked there) that appeared on Monday. I'm reposting the obit picture at left.

The other is of all the original Acerra children in that 1937 Newark Airport photo (it turns out that Quill (!) had a copy of the "unmarked" JPEG from the scanned version I made). I'm reposting it below. I've also relabeled the original image as being circa 1937 rather than 1939.

It's so strange (even surreal) to think that some of my grandmother's siblings are still alive in 2013. As I wrote back in January, she died now over 25 years ago. Yet in that picture of Uncle Bubby, I can see my grandma's eyes.

The rest of this entry is just a personal update and possibly a brief political update (though I'm reluctant to do so now that I've mentioned family members).

My workday today was quite busy with all the editing and formatting of the Hawaii report chapters, although my co-worker (L.) is working on it as well (and more quickly than I am). I also had my annual evaluation, and (related to my previous point) while it was mostly just fine, I kinda suck at time management and need to fix it. This is important when you are a Federal contractor.

This evening, I opted NOT to go to the first of this summer season's "Screen on the Green" nights (pictured from another night in an unspecified recent year above) on the National Mall with Nick, Sarah, and possibly some others (part of Andrea's group).

The movie tonight was E.T. (which I remember seeing with my mom and Ray in 1982 when it came out.) The line up for 2013 is listed here. I guess I wouldn't mind seeing Tootsie.

The Screen on the Green movie line up in recent years has been mediocre at best.

But owing to my uncertain work week schedule with so much left to do in this project (which has a drop-dead deadline of July 31st), I opted to go to the gym instead.

I had a decent gym workout, except the pool was so damn crowded that I didn't even try to go in, which kind of ruined the whole nightly workout. I weighed myself and it was at 147.5 pounds (same as last Wednesday), which at this point is fine with me (although I wouldn't mind being a BIT more muscular). As I noted before, depending on how you reckon muscle mass gain, I've lost at least 36 and maybe up to 40 pounds of fat since late June 2012.

On Sunday, I skipped the gym and instead biked up to Damon's place in the 16th Street Heights area (near where Gary lives). His wife was away and he was home with his not-quite-1-year-old little boy, who is so tiny (not even two feet tall yet when he stands, or at least tries to) and he is so adorable. A family friend (Rachel) was over and we drank some beers and had nice conversation in a cool and pleasant house -- WITHOUT watching ANY television. Damon's son (S.) provided the entertainment, not to mention all those interesting toys that talk, sing, and play music at you, all while flashing.

Dinner (pictured above) was quite good.

Thereafter, as planned, I headed over to Andrea and Imara's place near Fort Totten. I was invited to dinner at their house, and I biked east over to Fort Totten Park / past the Metro and into North Michigan Park where they live. We had a nice dinner and I got to see the two dogs and two cats they have. In addition, Andrea's 55 gallon fish tank is oddly hypnotic with its fish and gurgling water and humming filters.

No this isn't Andrea's aquarium ... It's a picture of one I found online. I'm posting it because this is sort of how any aquarium of mine would end up looking, a sort of aquatic swamp.


I left around 9PM and biked to the Fort Totten Metro (admittedly, this isn't the best part of the city, ESPECIALLY Fort Totten Park at night, but it was a quick ride) and caught a Green Line to Columbia Heights station. Although U Street / Cardozo station is somewhat closer, the nighttime ride over to and then down the hill of 16th Street (along the side of Meridian Hill Park) is much more pleasant. I was home by 930PM and within two hours totally crashed and went to sleep for a solid 8 hours, which is just what I needed.

Yours truly on the Metro Green Line heading the short distance from Fort Totten to Columbia Heights station, Washington, D.C., 9:15PM July 21, 2013.


All in all, it was a good Sunday. Also, I only spent $5 the whole day. In addition, I found more money -- $30 on Saturday in the form of a $10 and a $20 bill -- and today I found $20 at the Farragut West Metro. This is $50 in addition to the $50 bill I found several weeks ago. The odd thing is I had gone for about 2 years without finding so much as a quarter.

I was actually going to give the $20 to this gaunt homeless lady who sleeps on the steps of St. Matthew's Cathedral after the place closes and the big doors are locked. She has been there for years, having aged considerably from when I first became aware of her back in the mid-1990s, at which time I didn't even realize she was homeless, as she used to dress quite elegantly and had on makeup. (She still "dresses up" but the clothes are badly worn, as is the scarf she wears on her head.) However, although I've said hello to her, I'm a bit reluctant to go up to her and hand her money.

I finished doing my laundry and I need to make a late dinner.

There were some drenching thunderstorms to the west and north of D.C. and Baltimore tonight. It downpoured briefly around Dupont Circle a short while ago. It isn't as hot and humid and disgusting as last week (today "only" reached 89F for a high at KDCA and KIAD and 88F at KBWI). Of note, there was an interesting climate record at KDCA set last week, as noted in the Sterling LWX discussion on Sunday. I'll just quote it verbatim (where "YDA" means Saturday, July 20, 2013):




Obviously, the 1876 record was a pre-KDCA Washington, D.C., one from the earliest days of official weather record-keeping.

OK, that's all for now. I'm going to refrain from any political themed discussions, though I'll link to a Jonathan Chait piece "Anarchists of the House" and two Paul Krugman thematically related ones -- a blog entry "The Great Pension Scare" and his Monday New York Times op-ed, "Detroit, the New Greece".

My next planned update will be either Wednesday or Thursday night.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Some Reflections on the Occasion of the Passing of My Great Uncle Richard ("Bubby") Acerra

UPDATED 11:55PM 7/22/2013 with new pictures and obituary link (see below).

My great uncle Richard D. "Bubby" Acerra has passed away. He died Friday, July 19th, 2013. He is pictured above this past January on the right (looking into the camera). His two brothers, my great uncles Eddie (middle) and Freddie (left), are next to him and their sister, my great aunt Babe, on the occasion of her 100th birthday party in West Long Branch, New Jersey on January 27, 2013. (The seated lady leaning away is my great aunt Tessie, widow of another Acerra brother. I didn't even recognize her. She has advanced Alzheimer's. Someone had to tell me that was Aunt Tessie.)

Uncle Bubby was (as the picture above shows), one of the last four of the original sprawling Acerra clan of Long Branch, New Jersey that included 17 (!) children, 15 of whom made it to adulthood, one of whom was my late paternal grandmother, Florence Acerra Todaro, and that included the all-brother baseball team (the Acerra Brothers).

I'm not sure why he was called Bubby, though maybe it had to do with being one of the youngest in the Acerra brood.

UPDATED 11:55PM 7/22/2013:

The Asbury Park Press obituary has appeared and the link to the online version is here. The obituary states the following (and I'm including the accompanying picture:

He is survived by his second wife, Agnes Clark Acerra; his children and their spouses, Thomas and Lori Acerra of Eatontown; Joseph and Julie Acerra of Long Branch; Joann and Rodney Walsh of Stamford, CT and Richard Acerra Jr.; 2 brothers, Fred Acerra of Long Branch and Edward Acerra of Long Branch; a sister, Frances "Babe" Christopher of West Long Branch; 4 grandchildren; TJ and Cassie Acerra and Maren and Rodney Walsh III and a step son, Gary Clark of Toms River.

In addition, it turns out that Quill actually had a JPEG copy of the original Newark Airport picture from the late 1930s. It is posted above. I'm also reposting the "marked up" one but with a new date (circa 1937) rather than 1939.

This is a famous picture of all the Acerra children plus great grandpa Luciano and great grandma Elizabeth taken on the tarmac and steps of an old TWA prop plane at Newark International Airport back around 1937. Uncle Bubby is the second farthest on the left.  (I have the picture marked as 1939 but looking at Bubby's apparent age and working backwards, I think the year might in fact be more like 1937.) The story as I understand it is that they were there on the occasion of having won a contest (possibly sponsored by the airport of New Jersey's largest family (!)).

Unfortunately, this is a scanned JPEG that I "marked up" to point out my grandma, Aunt Babe, and Uncle Freddie and I cannot find the original picture, so I'm sort of stuck with it.


I really did not know Uncle Bubby that well, and although I spoke to him briefly this past January* at my great aunt Babe's 100th birthday party in West Long Branch, I'm not sure he even remembered me ("I'm your sister Florence's grandson ...") My dad (whom I called to tell him the news yesterday) said that at one time when he was young, Uncle Bubby was his favorite uncle. Bubby was about 85 or 86 years old -- and thus only 13 or 14 years older than my dad.

*No, I never did post the whole set of pictures from that particular event, just a subset of them as well as a full phalanx of pictures from the previous day featuring those of the trip up to New Jersey and a dinner with my childhood friend Chris in the Atlantic Highlands.

The iconic picture of the all-brother Acerra "Yankees" baseball team that was taken probably in the late 1940s. I'm pretty sure this image was taken after World War II (in which a number of the boys served and all returned safely). Bubby is the second farthest to the right on the bottom row.


Uncle Bubby was a lot younger than my grandmother (who was born in 1908 and would have been 104), and not only did I not know him that well, I really didn't know his children all that well. He has four by his late wife, my great Aunt Audrey, who died some years ago. He subsequently had a companion named Agnes.

I'll try to find the Asbury Park Press obituary and link to it in an update to this entry. The Damiano Funeral Home's online "Book of Memories" page for Uncle Bubby is here.

Damiano Funeral Home has buried EVERY Acerra and Todaro in Long Branch for the past 70 years. If you were of a certain mid-20th Century Italian-American generation in Long Branch, New Jersey (or, as I was, raised by folks who were in their prime during that time), the very name "Damiano" meant "time for another funeral because someone you know just died" and, by inference, "Get ready, you're time is coming."

Damiano Funeral Home in Long Branch, New Jersey: A structure like this could only house a funeral parlor or an assisted living facility.


Grandma used to say something like, "I'll be laid out at Damiano's ..." (always with the possessive "s" even though it isn't included in the actual name.

And the "funeral parlor" -- as it was called, the second word always said with an exaggerated emphasis ("pahrr-LOHR") -- to this day is housed in a ridiculously over sized late 19th Century Victorian structure (see above picture) at 191 Franklin Avenue that could ONLY be a funeral home OR an assisted living place.

Of course, for my grandma it has the terrible association of being the place of the funeral for "her Richard" -- my Uncle Richard -- who died 50 years ago this past March at age 19.

I found out about Uncle Bubby's death from my second cousin, also named Richard, who is the son-in-law of Aunt Babe. (So we've got four Richards in this entry: my late great uncle, my late uncle, my cousin, and myself!) My cousin is married to Aunt Babe's daughter, Betty Ann. Richard called me yesterday.

As for Aunt Babe, Richard said she is doing fine. She is now just about 100-1/2 years old!

I'd like to go to the funeral, but it just isn't going to work out logistically. I've mentioned before that although I am quite far removed these days in my isolated life here in the "D.C. Bubble / early 21st Century" from my New Jersey past -- not to mention the vast numbers of second and third cousins I have as a result of the size of the original Acerra clan -- I would like to have some connection to at least part of it. This makes it a good idea to go to the funeral, but I'm not sure how I'd get there.

Bubby was the second youngest just after "the baby," Uncle Louie, who died some years ago.

OK, that's all for now. My next blog update is probably not going to be until Tuesday or Wednesday.