Saturday, August 31, 2013

BLOG ENTRY #1000: Jukebox Saturday Night "Millennium" Edition with Some Probably Better Forgotten Starry Recollections

**Second update at 6:31 p.m. 8/8/2020.**

Updated 3:56AM 12/15/2013 to replace the video that I posted that ONCE AGAIN vanished thanks to Wall-P awfulness.

This is my 1,000th entry on this blog, and it happens to coincide with a Jukebox Saturday Night entry. So in honor of that ...

"Millennium" by Robbie Williams from his "I've Been Expecting You" release (1998)

"We've got stars directing our fate / And we're praying it's not too late / 'Cause we know we're falling from Grace / Millennium ...

"And when we come we always come too late / I often think that we were born to hate / Get up and see the sarcasm in my eyes ...

"We've got stars directing our fate (Millennium) / And we're praying it's not too late (Millennium) / 'Cause we know we're falling from Grace (Millennium)..."

This Regulus blog, now about 5-1/2 years old, replaced my earlier original Arcturus blog that I started in February or March 2006 and lasted until early 2008 (though I can't actually recall now) and then deleted.

Along the way, I briefly had a Procyon blog that I deleted. I also have a second Arcturus blog that I also started in 2008 but that I have not updated in over a year, and which remains hidden behind a password wall.

The original Arcturus blog, the Procyon blog, and the second Arcturus blog started as a way of "talking" to some idiot named "Mr. Sirius" that I once liked, and who is now known as "M. Wade Tipamillyun." Even this Regulus blog is overloaded with references to "Mr. Sirius" from its inception through 2010.

Just FYI, adding these 1,000 entries to all the other blogs' entries, including about 450 on the original Arcturus one, comes to about 2,000 entries over 7-1/2 years. In terms of time, assuming even just 2 hours to post an entry, this is 4,000 hours or over half a year. In point of fact, it was probably closer to 3 to 4 hours per entry. This means that I've spent between 6 months and 1 year actually composing and correcting entries over the past 7-1/2 years.

I'm not going to justify or try to explain such a warped and absurd infatuation or why it lasted for so long. I will just say that the next 1,000 entries on this blog -- should the blog last that long and/or I make it that long to post them all -- will not repeat such nonsense. I suppose the whole thing fulfilled some internal mental and/or spiritual need.


"Sky High" by Newton (c. 1995)

This is a fun song / video from the mid-1990s by the British singer Newton. It features an energetic, "up" dance beat common to club songs of the period. (I recall this video being played at JRs and elsewhere back then in what were my early days of going out.) However, this version is actually a remake of the 1975 original by the British group Jigsaw, and what's more (at least according to the Wikipedia article), Newton is not only just lip-synching while the original Jigsaw vocalist Des Dyer sings, but Mr. Dyer actually appears as one of the two silent guys throughout the video (he's the blond guy). Also, the little rectangular mirror-like objects that keep appearing remind me of a present day iPhone while the bigger ones look like a Tablet.

Newton (Billy Myers) himself is kind of gay cute.


I went to the gym earlier and had a decent regular workout -- 5 mile jog, light-to-moderate weight-lifting, and swimming laps (a half mile in total, though not continuously). 

So, tonight I was planning on going to Old Ebbitt Grill and then to No. 9. I may also go to Nellie's, where I have not been (except briefly on a Sunday) for at least a month. As for tomorrow, I am supposed to go to a BBQ at Jake and Matt's place in Arlington with AP's group. I was thinking of riding my bike there. I just don't want -- and will not have a repeat -- of my last jaunt there for the July 4th BBQ.

The night is a summery warm, thickly humid one with temps. around 82F at the 9PM hour and dew points in the 69F to 73F range. This followed a day with temps reaching the lower 90s Fahrenheit including 92F at KDCA, 91F at KBWI, and 90F at KIAD.

Tomorrow is the start of climatological (as opposed to seasonal) autumn. I'll post the summary temp. and precipitation numbers for climatological summer 2013 for our three main regional civilian airport climate stations (KDCA, KBWI, and KIAD). We need some more rain.


OK, that's all for now. Oh, yes, just as an aside, I was watching "Star Trek: The Original Series" on MeTV as I composed the bulk of this entry. It was the "Devil in the Dark" episode.

Next up is the Saturday night low-rent monster / scary movie hosted by the wonderful old-school host Svengoolie himself. Tonight's movie is "Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy." The format is truly a refreshing throw-back to another, happier TV time.

Get better, Mr. Svengooglie!

OK, that really is all for now.

Forward the Blogging Millennium!


Friday, August 30, 2013

Blog Entry #999: On the Numerological Nexus of Residential Choleric and Phlegmatic Excesses -OR- Another, Thankfully Smaller Building Fire

It was just over 1 year ago on August 10, 2012 that there was the scary arson attack in my apartment building -- the Hampton Courts -- that occurred in the 3AM hour, and while bad in a confined space on the 3rd floor (centered on apt. 315), the fantastic response of the D.C. fire department -- a veritable armada appeared outside the 2000 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW within minutes -- saved the structure not to mention all the folks who live in it.

I wrote about that awful night in this blog entry. (And I never did see my WRC channel 4 interview, conducted by a short, silhouetted local news doll-mannequin, which is fine by me since I probably looked like a zombie at that hour.)

Well, we sort of repeated all of this on a smaller, quicker scale tonight.

I had just gotten home at 1030PM from the gym, where I had a good "standard" workout, the first since my near fainting spell last Wednesday night that I wrote about here. I jogged 5 miles, did some weight-lifting, and went swimming. I didn't even have to go shopping and I was in time to watch The Odd Couple on Me TV.

I heard the fire alarm go off briefly as I approached the door. As I entered the building, it went off decisively. I walked up the stairs and put my book bag in my apt. and then headed back out -- to see thick smoke at the end of the hallway.

That is, this time the fire was on my floor.

But the stairwell wasn't filled with choking smoke, and I quickly went downstairs, passing full-geared firefighters with large pick axes and hoses, ducking under a hose at one point ("GO!" a large fireman commanded as he held it up) and I got outside.

I must also say that this time, I was more irritated than afraid (especially given how hungry I was upon getting home after being out for 12 hours). I tried to reach a few people -- sending texts and making a call, but no one replied / answered. However, soon was chatting with a young guy on the first floor who had moved into the building less than a year ago as the episode quickly wound down.

First, the fire marshal's SUV soon pulled away as did one of the fire trucks on 16th Street. Then the unfurled hose from the back of another fire truck was wound back up, even as the ladder extended to the rooftop of the building was retracted while those industrial strength ventilation fans was set up outside the lobby of the building (the doors were wide open). And soon folks were moving back into the building and the whole episode was over by 11PM.

It turned out it was a kitchen fire in apt. 514. This explained the lack of the ghastly, horrible smoke smell that occurred in the August 2012 fire.

However, I would like to mention that the reason I presently live in apt. 504 is because the previous tenant in apt. 514 (a wiry, volatile black guy that I had a screaming match with once) on four separate occasions flooded my first apartment -- # 414 -- owing to his plumbing fetish. Now he never actually flooded the main part of my efficiency (I was home for three of the four episodes and the other one was minor) and I was able to catch most of the water flooding down through light fixtures and their illuminated lamps. As a result of the last episode and my compliants, the property management company moved me into another identical efficiency, which happened to be available and in which I now live.

And continuing with this numerological connection, this blog entry is blog entry # 999.

I don't like these numerological connections (it's the lingering mystical Catholic in me, I guess) and I hope that I get no closer spatially or temporally to these fire and flood episodes.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Entry #998: Still Not the Planned Post -OR- The March On No-Where (Reposted / Updated)

This entry is reposted from last night with a few changes.

1500 block of Q St. NW, Washington, D.C., 7:00PM August 28, 2013.


I need to post my Rehoboth Beach (Delaware) and Wildwood / Cape May (New Jersey) vacation pictures. And I need to do so before I predictably get too ADHD distracted with other things in the torrent ... geyser ... waterfall of wholly disjointed entertainment and information that rushes about the internet -- such as this, this, this, this, this, and this.

However, today was a strange sort of day in which I stayed/worked from home (to avoid the expected throngs for the 50th anniversary commemoration of the March on Washington, which, by the way, matched up to the day of the week, but I've already noted this before for another family event in 1963); went to Harris Teeter for lunch (from the hot bar; went to No. 9 for happy hour and had a few drinks; and then came home and ate too much before watching my MeTV line-up (including, right now, this show).

Looking southwest down New Hampshire Avenue from V St. NW, Washington, D.C., 1:05PM August 28, 2013.


As a result, I'm too tired and need to sleep. Tomorrow should be a regular work day AND I need to go to the gym. My Jersey shore weekend may have to wait a bit, possibly until the weekend. Also, I continue to have frequent headaches and just don't feel that well. My doctor's appointment is on Tuesday.

As for the weather, it was very humid and cloudy with scattered showers (although in the end, flippin' KDCA had its usual flippin' 0.01"; did I mention I hate that KDCA climate station spot??)

OK, that's all for now. Oh, yes, I'm RAPIDLY approaching Entry #1,000 on this blog. This entry is #998.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back from Rehoboth Beach / Jersey Shore Vacation - Brief Interim Update

The Cape May Lighthouse near the southernmost geographical point* in the State of New Jersey, 11:58AM August 27, 2013.

*The actual geographical southernmost point in New Jersey seems to be located nearby at Sunset Beach at 2nd and Beach Avenues; it is on the same latitude, I estimate, as Irving Street NW in Washington, D.C.

As for the Cape May light itself, you can see it flashing from Rehoboth Beach about 20 miles away. You can also see at least two transmitter towers, a particularly tall one that is located in Cape May.


I am back home from my seashore trip to Wildwood, New Jersey via Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with Gary, Larry, and Wendy. I actually got home around 515PM but I haven't had time to post an entry. I intend to post an entry -- or more likely, two or three entries -- in the next few days that contain some of the 75 or so distinct pictures I took and sent to myself.

Lovely tree-filled yards and nice homes along Lafayette Street in Cape May, N.J.. 11:11AM August 27, 2013. I think this was the 1200 block of Lafayette Street.

I could live in Cape May. I think I should like to retire there -- assuming I'm still around and able to do so.


As for this evening, I made it to the gym and had a decent workout. This was my first gym visit since the near collapse / pass out I had last Wednesday while on the treadmill and despite the fact that I still feel "funny" in what may be a sinus infection (and hopefully nothing worse). While I went on the treadmill, I only spent 15 minutes on it and jogged about 1.2 miles. Instead, I spent 50 minutes on the elliptical trainer before doing some weight-lifting and 16 (back-and-forth) laps in the pool totaling 1/2 mile. I managed to do all that without any serious problems.

Signage at the edge of the dunes along one of the walkways to the vast beaches of Wildwood Crest, N.J., 2:32PM August 26, 2013.


Tonight I had a nearly hour long phone conversation with my dad that started spectacularly badly -- including a hang up -- but that actually was quite important. The issue is that he as a 72 year old man is basically fearful of this crazy woman half his age that he is living with who has regular violent outbursts of alcohol-and-mania-fueled fury.

I now the names of his landlord and the local Flagler County DA involved in a previous incident and I am considering when to call (he asked me to wait until after Sept. 15th to time it with a planned move to a trailer north of Flagler Beach in an even more isolated and unappealing stretch of the Florida coastline around Beverly Beach. 

Beach and surf at Wildwood Crest, N.J.,. 2:06PM August 26, 2013.


The weather was hot and scuzzy in the D.C./Baltimore area today with temps reach 94F at KDCA and 92F at KBWI with dew points around 70F and crummy / hazy air quality (as it tends to be this time of year), as we obvious as we drove down I-95 through Maryland. It was far nicer over on the Jersey shore in Cape May County.

So I return to work tomorrow, although I am actually going to be working from home.

Yours truly beside the Dante's Dungeon ride on Surfside Pier, one of the three major piers that comprise the Morey's Piers, Wildwood, N.J., 7:03PM August 26, 2013.

I had ridden FLY! -- The Great Nor'easter roller coaster with Gary and Wendy about an hour earlier, and then had a rum drink at the Soggy Dollar Beach Bar at the end of the pier, and so I was feeling a bit headachy and woozy.


OK, that's all for now. Again, I intend to update the blog with the photographs that I took.


Friday, August 23, 2013

So Begins My Annual Pilgrimage to the Jersey Shore, Both Real and of Memory ...

Wendy on one of the long wooden walkways that extend from the sidewalk to the vast sandy beaches in Wildwood Crest, N.J., 11:46AM August 26, 2012 (nearly a year ago to the day).

I posted this picture and the other two below after last year's trip (link here).


OK, I'm heading out on my four-day Jersey shore (Wildwood) vacation via one night / part of one day in Rehoboth Beach (Delaware) with Gary, Wendy, LP.

The beach and the gurgling summer surf of the Atlantic Ocean at Wildwood Crest, N.J., 1:26PM August 26, 2012. I should be there on August 26, 2013 as well.

These Wildwood trips in recent years have been a sort of annual pilgrimage ... a hajj ... if you will, but only to the place, not the time of my Jersey shore childhood memory and legend, although truth to tell, that was many miles north in my old haunts of Long Branch and Sea Bright.

Another image of the summer Atlantic Ocean surf, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 2:23PM August 26, 2012.


I'm unsure if I'll be able to update this blog at any point between now and Tuesday night / Wednesday.


Summers of Remembrance -OR- Gardens, Parks, and Personal Battlefields, Then and Now

**Updated 12:09AM 6/6/2014: See below. **

**This entry was posted on August 23, 2013.**

Sunset and dusk settling over the National Mall with the scrim-laced, scaffolding-covered Washington Monument nearby, Washington, D.C., 7:32PM August 22, 2013.

I walked home from work tonight rather than going to the gym (I'm still not over whatever is wrong with me). This part of the National Mall was overloaded with kickball and softball teams in brightly color-coded shirts noisily playing their games.


Home tonight ahead of the scheduled four day beach trip first to Delaware and then the Jersey shore, specifically, Rebobo (OK, Reboboth Beach) and Wildwood (OK, Wildwood Crest).

The weather looks to be quite sunny and pleasant (not hot and humid, though for a beach trip and being beside the ocean in August, I guess hot and humid weather is appropriate).

The corner of the Enid Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian Institution (along side the Sackler Gallery), Washington, D.C., 7:27PM August 22, 2013.


The success or failure of this trip, or rather, the ease or difficulty of it, is going to be strongly dictated by whether or not my paycheck arrives electronically on Saturday rather than Monday. This is one of those pay periods where the pay date (set typically) for the 10th or 25th) coincides with a Sunday and is therefore the following day -- except the payments are distributed on Thursday (as they were today) and have never NOT arrived on Saturday (since Bank of America is opened that day).

Another view of the scrim-lined, scaffolding-covered Washington Monument at dusk with its decorative nighttime lights as seen from the corner of 14th Street and Madison Drive NW (the old "A" Street), Washington, D.C., 7:36PM August 22, 2013.

The scaffolding is to repair the damage from the earthquake that occurred exactly two years ago. The crane towers are part of the construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.


If it does not, well, I already owe Gary a bunch of money, so it would just be that much more. Oh, and this check is also supposed to include a bonus.

As for my health issue I mentioned in my previous entry, well, I still felt intermittently kind of crummy today, but I'm more convinced that it is "only" a sinus infection and/or head cold rather than some impending "death event" such as a tumor.  The trouble is, I STILL get quite dizzy anytime I move in a way that isn't fully upright or if too quickly. This means I still cannot jog, which is not good.*

The chicken, rice, and green beans dinner I had at Chix DC on 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 8:05PM August 22, 2013. It was quite good with the avocado sauce.


I'm still going to get a medical checkup next week. I'm also going to get a new dentist. I have tentatively one picked out one -- he takes the dental insurance I have and I actually was in a chemistry class with him and was sort of friends with him at one time circa the mid-1990s, though I doubt he'll remember me. (He had a lot more curly dark hair back then.)

At this point, I just want the crown on #14 removed and what replaces it, I'm almost indifferent, even a damn gap (as I have with #31). It sort of doesn't matter since it is well out of sight. (In the case of my missing #31, the wisdom tooth #32 came in perfectly. The other ones are to varying degrees impacted.)

I walked home tonight from work, stopping at No. 9 for the two-for-one drink special. Bartender "D" was working, and let me say that he is always so friendly to me -- he has never not been happy to see me, or at least made me feel like he is happy to see me.

*One way or another, I will continue to go to the gym (unless I flat out die). I mean, compare how I look at present ...

Yours truly in the Enid Haupt Garden of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 7:26PM August 22, 2013.


... to how I looked two years ago (right around the time of aforementioned earthquake):

Here I was two years ago on August 19, 2011 at a Nationals baseball game at Nationals Park here in D.C. (Gary is on my left).


(There was a flippin' monsoon deluge at the baseball stadium on the 19th as I wrote about here. It looks as though nearby KDCA had 1.53" in that particular event (and 1.61" for the day). I think was more like 2 to 3 inches of rain at the stadium.)

Well, anyway, that's quite a change in my appearance, and for the better, no?

And here is another picture from around that time:

Yours truly about six weeks before that at Pines of Florence, Washington, D.C., 6:56PM July 2, 2011.

Ooooohh, I was pudgy. I didn't realize just how different I now looked, but I have lost about 36 pounds and shifted about 40 pounds out of fat.

I don't know how long this new state will last* but I'm pleased with it.

**Updated 12:09AM 6/6/2014: Content removed **

*To be clear, I AM nearing my mid-40s and thus no spring chicken -- and that's the truth -- and therefore there is simply no way for me to look like Donny Osmond here. Of course, I never actually looked like that.

In my late 20s, I sort of looked like this:

This pic was taken by Old UnFaithful at Yellowstone National Park in May 1999. It was for me a second trip involving Seattle and Yellowstone, except leaving, not going. In 1988 -- 11 years prior -- I had had flown over it on my way to Seattle to go to the "U-Dub" during the peak of the summer 1988 conflagration. (In the end, I only stayed 3 months.)

The view of the smoke clouds billowing up into veritable thunderheads reaching almost to the height of the passenger jet was astonishing.

I believe this is an image of the billowing smoke from the Clover-Mist fire in Yellowstone National Park, summer 1988. (It wasn't clear from the website where I found it.)


The Clover Mist fire conflagration burns uncontrollably along the Mirror Plateau in Yellowstone National Park, summer 1988, one of many fires that scorched the park that summer. (There was still much fire damage 11 years later when I was there in 1999.)


The largest and arguably most dramatic fire was the North Fork Fire that raged in August and September. Here it approaches the Old Faithful Inn on September 7, 1988.


Yet on the far northern horizon were actual t-storms that were the edge of a frontal boundary that within a few days (by September 11th) would quickly drop the temperature and bring rain and snow that did what an entire summer long human firefighting armada could not do: quickly extinguish the fires. This is now 14 years ago.

On this trip in late May 1999 (Memorial Day weekend) -- my only time ever in Yellowstone -- I had flown to Seattle to meet my then good / now-ex friend Dan, who at the time lived in Arlington. Va. He had driven to Washington state to visit his mom, and I flew out to meet him and drive back.

It was a disaster of a drive back. Dan couldn't stand being around me -- or for that matter, anything about me as a person. And it took us no more than 4 days to drive back (including on the last day from the Quad Cities to D.C.)

An expansive view of Charlottesville, Va., and the surrounding Blue Ridge mountains on what looks like a fall day.


In spring 2003, Dan and I had a fight shortly into a day trip to Charlottesville, Virginia (I think we were near Gainesville, Va., at that point), and about flippin' President Bill Clinton. Rather than risk a really big blow-up, physical altercation of some sort, I asked him to let me out the car waaaay out in western Prince William County. And that he did. He drove off, and never looked back. (My mother did that a few times, as well over the years.)

That ended the friendship with DanNO.

Over the next hour, I walked a few miles along U.S. Route 29, eventually reaching the Manassas National Battlefield Park (pictured above from an online image I found) on that breezy, cool, cloudy April day. I called a friend (I had a cellphone by that point), who came to get me about an hour and a half later (and thus I didn't have to walk approximately 17 miles to the Vienna Metro).

In the intervening time, I just sat there quietly among the spirits of the Civil War dead soldiers, the grass and small flowers quivering intermittently on the intermittent gusts and pondered life.


Summer evening on 14th Street near Thomas Circle, Washington, D.C., 8:25PM August 22, 2013. I was walking to No. 9 and thence home.

The image sort of reminds me of that most well-known of covers to The Great Gatsby (the original 1925 Scribner one pictured at left).


I finished my laundry -- three loads, which cost be just about $10 in increments or multiples of $5. I'm watching TV -- all those old sitcom reruns on Me TV and other channels.

OK, that's all for now. I may post a (really) very quick farewell entry before heading out to the Jersey shore.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Less Than a Pillar of Health -OR- A Piece of What Rock? (and more old sitcom "Me" TV watching)

Stratus fog clouds cap the Rock of Gibraltar (one of the "Pillars of Hercules" in Antiquity on either side of the Straits of Gibraltar) in the early morning sunlight on August 18, 2013.

(The place is overrun with hundreds of Barbary macaques, which I could most definitely do without seeing. Monkeys make me nervous. Well, maybe not a little baby chimp, but that's about it.)


I'm not feeling very well tonight. I had to abort my gym visit -- at 3.32 miles / approx. 40 minutes into the run, which is the first of my three-part routine (jogging, some weight-lifting, and swimming).

The way I see it, EITHER something is quite wrong with my health OR I may have a sinus infection, or maybe I was just dehydrated and/or had low blood sugar. I really didn't eat much of a lunch earlier but then again, I often don't eat my main meal until the night. Regardless, I've run substantially more (2+ miles more) and never felt like that. I could barely stand up and it took a while to "re-equilibrate" myself, though no one seemed to notice.

I need to get a medical checkup, though I wonder if this is some weird after-effect of that gum infection from a few weeks ago. (I still have a slightly weird feeling in crowned tooth #14). I hope this doesn't intervene with my planned upcoming Jersey shore trip with Gary, LP, and Wendy. Right now, I have sort of a sinus-y headache. I also need to get a new dentist. I'm going to do all this after the Jersey shore visit.

Anyway, I didn't try any weight-lifting and skipped the pool. Walking home was dreadful -- sauna-like humid, raining sufficiently hard that I had to put my fleece jacket (which I take to work because it's so chilly in the office with the a/c), and just annoying with too many people on 17th Street. And then I had to grocery shop at the Safeway, and that was annoying, esp. the remaining walk home.

Title card of The Dick Van Dyke Show.

I'm home now, a/c turned on and watching TV and eating the dinner I cooked. I'm watching Memorable Entertainment (Me) TV. I was just watching The Dick Van Dyke Show. It was the one featuring Dick Van Dyke's younger brother Jerry Van Dyke as his TV character brother Stacey.

Cast picture of the Petrie family including Mary Tyler Moore (Laura), Dick Van Dyke (Rob), and Larry Matthews (Richie), 3rd season / circa 1963.

It has been remarked many times -- and I'll do so again here -- that it was weird (and likely on purpose) that Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore's characters looked like JFK and Jackie Kennedy.

The main members of The Dick Van Dyke Show including (left to right): Buddy, Sally, Rob (on the floor), Laura, and Richie.

Of note, not only are both Van Dyke brothers still alive (87 and 82, respectively), but so is Mary Tyler Moore (76) AND Rose Marie (she just turned 90 on Aug. 15th), and (less surprisingly) Larry Matthews, who played her son Richie* (58).

This means that of the main cast, only Morey Amsterdam is dead (having died in 1996). (Well, Richard Deacon also passed away way back in 1984 at 63.)That's noteworthy considering the show was on television 50 years ago.

Coincidentally, both Rose Marie and Larry Matthews were born on August 15th (1923 and 1955, respectively).

*Yes, "MTM" had a real son named Richard "Richie" Meeker Jr., who died at age 24 in 1980 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, though it was not deemed a suicide but an accident.

I met MTM in November 1995 at a book signing for her book After All at the old Dupont Circle Supercrown that is now Books-A-Million.

Oh, yes, while writing the above, I watched the last of the three part episode "The England Show" of Married, With Children. The ending joust scene where the Bundy's are chased is kind of funny. Above is a screenshot of the boundary between Lower and Upper Uncton (see previous entry).

I may try to go to the gym again tomorrow night -- but just into the pool, and provided I feel better.  I hope I'm not dying.

OK, that's all for now. I may update my two previous entries with a few items.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Western Sahara, 2013; Lower Uncton, 1653; Guadeloupe, Feb. 26th, 1998; and the South Carolina Coastline, Aug. 21st, 2017

Updated 11:12PM 8/22/2013: See updates below.

Western Sahara.

Western Sahara and neighboring Morocco are the place along the coast of Africa that "fit" into our part of the U.S. East Coast, specifically, the area between South Carolina and the mid-Atlantic (New Jersey / New York).

Updated 11:00PM: 8/22/2013: According to the linked Rutgers geology website, what is now Western Sahara was adjacent 250 million years ago to what is now New Jersey.


So my new geographical fixation is the country of Western Sahara, formerly Spanish Sahara, and a country the vast majority of which seems to be "occupied" semi-permanently by Morocco. It is also a very large country (266,000 square km or 102,700 square miles / roughly the size of Colorado) but with a miniscule population (approximately 538,000 or well less than the 632,000+ in the District of Columbia). It is a vast, empty desert at the western edge of, yes, the Sahara desert. The capital is El AaiĂșn and has almost half the country's population.

In particular, I'm interested in the city of Dakhla. The city is located on a sandy peninsula and gets (if Wikipedia is correct) a whopping 1.3" of rain a year and has a population of about 55,000.

Dakhla and the Atlantic Ocean, as seen in 2008.


Updated 11:12PM 8/22/2013: Added Google aerial images of Dakhla, Western Sahara ...

A labeled Google aerial image of Dakhla, (Moroccan) Western Sahara.


A closer labeled Google aerial image of Dakhla, (Moroccan) Western Sahara.


Other stuff ...

I'm having internet connectivity problems tonight as I try to post this entry. I'm a little worried about this -- since it IS my work computer -- and I'm not even really feeling like posting anything.

Yours truly at work, L'Enfant Plaza, Washington, D.C., 1:03PM August 20, 2013.

Never mind the green writing on the board behind me (inside joke). The blue marker writing says in capital letters "FACTOTUM PANTOLOGIST" -- which is something DD wrote a few months ago, along with my name and degrees (BS, MA, MS, MPP). (DD's birthday is Aug. 21st, which is coincidental with the eclipse event discussed below.)


Anyway, I'm home on this balmy, moonlit night watching what may be one of the best episode (it's actually a three-part episode) of Married, With Children -- "England Show I," "England Show II," and "England Show III" from May 1992 -- in which the Bundy's are invited on an all-expenses paid trip to the (yes, fictitious) village of Lower Uncton in England in order to be, ahem, killed.

Specifically, the villagers want to kill Al and Bud Bundy, the last two surviving male Bundy's. This is in order to rid the town of the curse of eternal darkness ("and so that you and ALL YOUR male descendants are FOREVER HATED, Lower Uncton will always be in darkness while other places are in Sun!") into which it was placed in 1653 upon the occasion of Shamus McBundy insulting a heavy witch. (Shamus made it worse by responding, "Will ya be hovering overhead??")

The curse also was all male Bundy's would be forever cursed to "shoe the large and ungrateful" (ha ha) and have foot odor.

The witch "Poxilda" (ha ha) is played by Irish actress Helena Carroll, who just died in March at age 84.

Helena Carroll as the witch Poxilda and Ed O'Neill as Shamus McBundy, the distant ancestor of Al Bundy.


The climactic scene ends up in a sort of "Battle of Runnymede" -- or maybe Monty Python - jousting / football parody in which the villagers of Lower Uncton try to kill the Bundy's, except the villagers of neighboring Upper Uncton try to prevent it because that would ruin their tourism industry (because Lower Uncton would no longer be in darkness).

So last night, I went to the gym and had an all-around very good workout including a 5.4 mile jog, nearly an hour of weight-lifting, and swimming. Tonight, I briefly went to a Tuesday night happy hour with AP and group that tonight was at Firefly. Thereafter, I had dinner with Patrick at Luigi's on 19th Street. I had not been there in about 15 years (and then only once).

Upstairs at Luigi's, Washington, D.C., 9:18PM August 20, 2013.


Dateline: South Carolina coastline from Charleston northeastward: August 21, 2017

Oh, yes, it is now August 21st -- and it is FOUR YEARS to the day until the eclipse of August 21, 2017 that will bisect the Lower 48 United States and get as close to D.C. as parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina.

Map of the past of the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017.


This event will be one of the biggest milestones of my life: I remember reading about this in National Geographic when I was 9 years old (in the context of the last total solar eclipse in the Lower 48 U.S. on February 26, 1979). The article gave the day of the next total solar eclipse in the U.S. on August 21, 2017, and I remember trying to figure out my age (47) and not being able to comprehend that.

This eclipse was always a far off mile marker in my life ... But now it is just 4 years away.

Fred Espenak's solar eclipse map and info for the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017.


I intend to witness it (life circumstances permitting) on the coast of South Carolina. It will be the second total solar eclipse I've seen (after the one on February 26, 1998 in the French West Indies on Guadeloupe atop a cliff near a place called Pointe de la Grande Vigie. Note it occurred exactly 19 years to the day after the 1979 eclipse. That's probably not entirely a coincidence.

A view of Pointe de la Grande Vigie at the northern tip of the island of Guadeloupe, French West Indies.

I had been there in March 1993 with my dad (in a far better trip) and it just so happened that there was a total solar eclipse at this very spot in February 1998, so we returned (in a much worse trip). The eclipse itself was astonishing, though.


A map of the path of the total solar eclipse of February 26, 1998.


OK, I think that's all for now. I was going to write more but I'm tired and need to go to bed.