Thursday, January 30, 2014

Very Belated Christmas Day 2013 Photos -OR- "Yo-ho-ho(-ho), and a bottle of (yuletide) rum!"

Updated 9:33PM 1/31/2014: See below.

Group dinner including my mom, myself, Gary, and Wendy at Pusser's Caribbean Grille, Annapolis, Christmas Day 2013.

So this past Christmas Day (2013), I went to dinner with my mom and stepfather (Ray) and we were joined by Gary and Wendy. We had dinner at Pusser's Caribbean Grille in Annapolis, Md., a West Indies / Caribbean-themed restaurant located in the Marriott Annapolis Waterfront hotel.


The pictures in this entry were taken variously by Ray, Wendy, and myself. The ones I took included some I took on the drive in from Millersville to Annapolis. (I had stayed overnight on Dec. 23rd and Dec. 24th with my mom and Ray at their place in Millersville. I then rode back to D.C. with Gary and Wendy.)

Yours truly, Gary, and Wendy at Pusser's Caribbean Grille, Annapolis, Md., December 25, 2013.

This picture and the lead one were both taken by Ray with his nice camera -- and thus he was not in either. As for my mom, she WAS actually in this one but cropped herself out of it because she was unhappy with how she looked.

My mom and dad and I have very odd relationships with photographs. This has been true for decades.


The front bar at Pusser's Caribbean Grille, Annapolis, Md., 5:37PM December 25, 2012. Miss Wendy took this picture with her camera.


It was a rather cold Christmas day 2013 -- temps mostly in the 20s Fahrenheit with actual highs of 32F at KBWI and 33F at KDCA -- but with wall-to-wall sunshine. This wall-to-wall sunshine weather has actually been a recurring theme for the past several years on both Christmases AND Thanksgivings (or at least that's how I recall it), in particular whenever I have gone in Annapolis for a daytime or early evening restaurant visit (usually the Chart House) with my mom and Ray (and Gary).

This is a picture of Gary and myself at Pusser's Caribbean Grille standing by the painted wooden statue -- I can't remember what name it has -- in Annapolis, Md., 5:40PM December 25, 2013. The lady in the leopard print dress was the hostess and she figures into the next picture (see below). Wendy took both pictures.

Updated 9:33PM 1/31/2014: PENNY! The statue's name was Penny! (Gary remembered.)


Needless to say it, NEVER snows on Christmas in this area. (The worst was in December 2010 with an impending mid-Atlantic blizzard that buried New Jersey and New York the next day -- Boxing Day -- while the D.C. and Baltimore areas were screwed out of any snow in one of the more painful snow-screwings in the past decade.)

(Updated caption): Yours truly, the "hostess with the mostess," and Gary standing in front of Penny at Pusser's Caribbean Grille, Annapolis, Md., 5:41PM December 25, 2013.

We were quite fascinated by her (and her dress, which resembled nothing so much as a leotard) and I asked her to pose with us, which she readily did. (Oh, yes, earlier I had to tell her about some nasty graffiti on the men's room wall -- a highly racially offensive drawing in one of the toilet stalls -- and she had it quickly covered up.)


As for this Pusser's restaurant in Annapolis, it is actually part of a a small chain that includes another restaurant in Ponte Vedra Beach outside Jacksonville, Fla., and another in Palmas Del Mar, Puerto Rico. There are also "outposts" in the British Virgin Islands.

The name "Pussers" is a corruption of the word "Purser's" and it reflects its British West Indian origins -- Pusser's today is rum-making company that (it appears to me) is the indirect descent of the original Pusser's Rum Ltd., a rum-making (and probably at some point, rum-rumming) company that existed for nearly 300 years and was associated closely with the British Royal Navy and its doings in the Caribbean. Indeed, until 1970, the rum was given to sailors in the British Royal Navy.

I don't think that company still exists anymore (at least that's the story I've inferred).

The current company, including both its rum-making and its theme restaurants, probably just uses the brand name and some of the original recipes. (I could be wrong on this but I really don't feel like delving into the topic.)

Anyway, as for the Caribbean food, we really never tried it because there was a set Christmas day menu. Gary and I, however, DID have the famous Painkiller Rum drinks (the level 3 ones, I believe) in addition so wine. In any event, I think the idea is for the five of us to return to the Chart House in Annapolis.


The remainder of this entry features the pictures that I took on the ride to Annapolis and in the restaurant with my old / now-forever lost flip-open cellphone and its signature low-quality camera.

The large blue water tower located off East West Blvd. at Maxwell Frye Road in Millersville, Md., 2:08PM Dec. 25, 2013.

I've featured pictures of this particular water tower in previous entries, most recently this past Thanksgiving and on Christmas Day 2011. (Note the similar weather on those days.)

Another image a few seconds later of the same water tower -- looking like an ellipsoidal spaceship on giant central shaft and smaller legs radiating outward from the central pod -- in Millersville, Md., Christmas Day 2013.


The house at 547 Devonshire Court, Severna Park, Md., 2:11PM December 25, 2013.

On the way to Annapolis, we detoured to Devonshire Court and Devonshire Lane -- both of which form a sort of loop -- to see this particular house. Why? Because Chris H. lived there for a number of years back in the 1990s, and I wanted to take a picture of it and send it to him. (I lived in nearby Glen Burnie back in the 1980s and in the summer of 1993 and 1994.)


The yards and houses in the very pleasant suburban setting of Devonshire Court and Devonshire Lane, Severna Park, MD., 2:12PM December 25, 2013.


Sunlight shines through the silhouetted winter-bare trees along Ritchie Highway, Severna Park, Md., 2:23PM December 25, 2013.


An intersection in Annapolis -- it's too late for me to look up exactly where this is or the street names, but it is heading into the center of the city -- with YET ANOTHER Anne Arundel County water tower, 2:30PM December 25, 2013.


The small campus of St. John's College, Annapolis, Md., 2:32PM December 25, 2013.

Two quick points about this school ...

First, the approximately 500 year old, giant tulip poplar tree that was there in the late 1980s -- ancient and barely surviving -- appears to have been removed outright.

Secondly, I've always found it so interesting that this most loopy and hyper-expensive of liberal arts colleges exists cheek-by-jowl in very conservative Annapolis to the U.S. Naval Academy.


A few more pictures of the interior of Pusser's Caribbean Grille in Annapolis, Md., that I took that I'm posting just to round out the entry ...

4:00PM December 25, 2013


4:53PM December 25, 2013


5:10PM December 25, 2013


As a very quick update, I had a decent gym workout after work including 5.3-mile treadmill jog, light weight-lifting, and a half hour swim at the Anthony Bowen YMCA. My cold (or whatever it is I have) seems to have ebbed but not gone away entirely.

OK, that's all for now. Once again, I fully intend to post my Buffalo / Niagara Falls trip pictures over the weekend. In the meantime, I intend to post a jukebox Saturday night entry. I'm unsure if I'll have an entry between now and then, though.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

State of the Winter Night Union -OR- A Familiar Pointless Political-Themed Entry (That Nobody Will Read and Isn't Even the Post I Intended)

** Updated 10:32AM 1/29/2014 for clarity on Krugman links and info on area snow totals.**

A (briefly) snowy night as seen looking south in the 1800 block of 18th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 10:05 January 28, 2014.

This was the view outside Larry's Lounge.


OK, for starters, this is NOT the entry I had intended to post -- the pictures of my Buffalo / Niagara Falls trip with Gary. I'm very worn out and groggy and again just don't have the time or energy to do so. The cold that I've had the past few days -- a sort of low-grade hybrid head and chest cold with persistent, uncomfortable cough -- continues apace. In addition, I was at Larry's Lounge earlier with Gary and Kristof and stayed longer than I planned. However, let me assure you, Gentle Reader, that I fully intend to post this entry with pictures. The only issue is that it may not be until the weekend.

A glass of water and wine on the bar at Recessions, Washington, D.C., 7:23PM January 28, 2014.

I stopped there for one drink after work. I've been there once before just over 8 months ago.


As for tonight, while I brought the computer home, I ended up going out -- first right after work on an odd-two step journey that took me from L'Enfant Plaza to Farragut West Metro stations and then to this weird subterranean hotel bar called Recessions and thence to D-I-K Bar, where Chris H. was working. Then I went home, even as some snow flakes started to fall in the cold, cloudy night (see below) and had some dinner.

The State of the Union was one but I simply could not listen to it as it was too painful. Now I say that from my leftist perspective, not the more familiar perspective of the "Obama is a Muslim-Atheist (huh?) Kenyan Socialist" Fox News profit-driven, fear-mongering, uniquely American paranoid-style, infotainment bubble.

The 1700 block of Corcoran Street NW on a very cold, cloudy, calm winter's night, Washington, D.C., 7:57PM January 28, 2014.


I started instead watching a rerun of Sanford & Son on Antenna TV. However, I had arranged to meet Kristof and Gary at Larry's Lounge, and so I headed out on my bicycle the very short distance to that neighborhood corner pub and occasional speakeasy.

By this point, it was now snowing -- the precipitation shield from a vigorous southern stream shortwave riding along an old Arctic boundary now stalled out across north-central Florida having filled in overhead across the D.C. / Baltimore Metro areas.

The Sterling (LWX) radar in base mode reflectivity, 9:28PM EST January 28, 2014.


I got to LL and both Gary and Kristof were there. The SoTU address was on and Obama was yammering away -- the usual stuff. I'm going to avoid any discussion about this annual, mind-numbing affair except to direct you to the always-outstanding Paul Krugman's recent pieces on his blog and in his regular Friday New York Times op-ed about the reality-altering craziness of the ultra-financial overclass rich who compare Obama and his mild / milquetoast policies and critiques of these "Masters of the Universe" / one-percenters to Nazi persecution of the Jews. (Even just writing that comparison feels morally obscene.)

The most recent case in point is billionaire hedge-fundster Tom Perkins, who likened these criticisms to Kristallnacht. It is part of the more general (to quote the title of his Friday op-ed) "Paranoia of the Plutocrats" , specifically, their fear, loathing, and insecurity. Krugman points out some of the positive things Obama and progressives have been able to do to reign in their recklessness and tax them at a higher rate. Krugman ends by saying that Obama should, in the immortal words of FDR, "welcome their hatred").

A chart of the average Federal tax rate for the top 1% of income earners, 1979 - 2013. (This image was in Jan. 26, 2014 Paul Krugman blog entry linked above and again here.) It shows that taxes have actually gone up in a non-trivial way on the tiny group of bajillionaires that own about as much as half the human race.


The always-insightful Andrew Sullivan picked up on the topic of the cognitive dissonance that is embodied in this mindset. Sullivan ties it into the role these rentier-class parasitic overlords (my terms, not his) played in the financial crash of 2007-2008 crash and their deeply pathological reaction to having been bailed out and shown to be utterly incompetent and destructive of the very system they champion.

In this most recent case, this morally obscene view was expressed in writing by octogenarian billionaire Tom Perkins (pictured at left).

Kristof was right -- not only about the beauty pageant aspect (his line) of the State of the Union spectacule -- but also how it was easier when George W. Bush was president. This is because with Obama, you want him to do well but instead he just can't help but play to the WaHoPo Editorial Board - Wall Street - Jamie Dimon / Robert Rubin crowd.

The only good news is that more Americans are starting to realize that they aren't "middle class," which is an important development. That's because it hopefully marks the end of the long-time American "fetishization" on that topic whereby every American who earns between $15,000 and $250,000 per year think they are "middle class."

And I haven't mentioned how Fox News-like 60 Minutes has become in the past few years? That's no accident, given its current Fox News castaway producer. But at least we have Fred Hiatt and The WaHoPo Editorial Board (1990s then and 2010s now) to explain the need for "entitlement reform" and give air to (as Josh Barro so wittily and insightfully wrote two weeks ago) yet another corporate billionaire who falsely thinks a mostly phony debt crisis is more important to the real-world long-term unemployment disaster.

The best pre-speech analysis I found was given by Jonathan Chait on Monday in this column (link embedded): What Obama Is Really Trying to Do in the State of the Union Address. His main points are that (1) Obama actually had a better year politically in 2013 than for which he is generally credited owing to successful efforts to block GOP ransom demands and government by extortion and threats (of shutdowns and defaults) and (2) going forward, Obama's efforts are really about undoing the political damage of the badly botched Obamacare initial rollout.

Anyway, after the speech, the bartender Scott put on music so I didn't have to listen to the GOP response. And with that, I'll end this political thread.

The nighttime view of the 1900 block of 16th Street NW including the Tiffany, Washington, D.C., 9:00PM January 28, 2014.


Returning to the weather, the snow continued for a time, but even though it is about 16F at this midnight hour, the pavement is apparently warm enough (from yesterday's near 60F weather) so that the snow is not really sticking on the streets here in the Dupont / Shaw neighborhoods. The snow is sticking on the cars, grass, and other structures. Furthermore, the snow should end relatively soon, leaving little, if anything, behind.

Another view of the briefly snowy night as seen looking at the intersection of 18th and T Streets NW and north toward Florida Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 10:05PM January 28, 2014.


Updated 10:32AM 1/29/2014 for snow totals

Preliminary snow totals at the three airports were as follows:
KDCA: 0.9"
KBWI: 0.3"
KIAD: 0.3"

The Sterling LWX CWA map focused on central Maryland showing snowfall totals for the Jan. 28 - 29, 2014 event, updated 9:28AM Jan. 29, 2014.

The highest snow totals in the Sterling LWX forecast area that I could find on the Sterling LWX preliminary snowfall map page were in St. Mary's and Calvert Counties in Maryland, specifically, 6.7" in Ridge and 6.5" in Lusby.

End of update.


I'm home now and ready to go to bed. However, I am so tired and feel so lousy, including with this persistent cough that I may not be able to go to work tomorrow, at least on time.

OK, that's all for now. Again, I FULLY intend to post my Buffalo / Niagara Falls trip overview blog entry, if not this workweek then over the weekend.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Back from Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and the Polar (and Flushing) Vortex: A Quick and Preliminary Entry (UPDATED WITH A FEW PICS)

**OK, I way overpromised in what I could post tonight, especially given the number of images, so instead of having a second preliminary entry, I'm updating this one at 12:16AM 1/28/2014 with just a few pictures from the trip along with captions. **

Piles of snow outside the Funky Monkey Nite Club along Allen Street in the Allentown section of Buffalo, N.Y., on a bitterly cold and snowy night, 12:13AM January 26, 2014.


I'm back home from my Buffalo / Niagara Falls trip with Gary in the depths of a very cold and snowy winter there. I'm back in the D.C. Bubble.

I intend to post a full entry later tonight with the pictures I took, or I may post two entries (part 1 and part 2), meaning the second one wouldn't be until later in the week.

It was a terrific trip and I fell in love with Buffalo, in particular the Allentown section. I could totally live there. As for Niagara Falls, it flippin' was awesome, albeit the weather was FRIGID and intermittently snowy.

Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls on a bitterly cold, snowy day, 1:47PM January 26, 2014. God, it was flippin' cold, but the falls were amazing to see.


As a follow-up to my previous entry have a new cellphone, or rather, my first ever Smartphone. I purchased it in Buffalo, or rather, the Walden Galleria mall in Cheektowaga. I am still learning how to use it, and I'm having issues with the whole data usage and trying to limit that as much as possible. However, I was able to take lots of pictures and send them to myself -- pictures that are a lot higher resolution and quality than those taken by my various old flip-open cellphones over the years.

Yours truly all bundled up on a snowy, very cold afternoon, entering the Walden Galleria mall on the JC Penney side, Cheektowaga, N.Y., January 25, 2014.


Also and as a MORE IMPORTANT follow-up to my previous entry, I also have a brand new toilet -- the old style, without the top-mounted tank -- in my apartment. It was awaiting my return in the bathroom. And it has a powerful BA-ROOSH! flush. I'll have to christen it later.

Again, I intend to post a full entry late tonight. Right now, though, I need to go to the gym.

Updated 12:16AM 1/28/2014: I fully intend to post a full blog entry about my Buffalo / Niagara Falls trip, but it may take a few days to compose.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Shuffling Off to Snowy Buffalo and Semi-Frozen Niagara Falls, But Not Before a Morning Toilet / Cellphone Mini-Disaster

**I'm not even going to TRY to post enough "relevant" pictures for this entry.**

This is just a quick update before I start to pack and head off on my admittedly odd trip to Buffalo and Niagara Falls in the depths of a particularly cold winter (well, actually, to clarify for the sake of Teabaggers across the American landscape and the for-profit American rightwing media / entertainment infrastructure, a winter the way they often were back in the 1970s and in the late 19th Century but that seem so unusual now).

I had a bit of a disaster this morning that is still not resolved: I flushed my old flip-open cellphone down the toilet, and because it was one of those old models with a powerful jet, the little phone appears to have gone completely down the main drain pipe, although it is possible it is somehow badly stuck in the toilet itself. I may need a new toilet outright, and I may need a new tank model that will requiring "re-piping," and this could take until Monday or longer.

It was kind of chaotic this morning as I had to have the building maintenance man and building site manager here. He was trying to snake out the disconnected toilet -- he seems to think the cellphone is somehow stuck in there but it seems highly unlikely at this point -- and she was on the phone to her Spadaro contact. Our building uses Spadaro (that name is quite simialr to mine, Todaro). And I was semi-panicked that I was going to create a building-wide flood.

Oh, and while this was going on, I had that damn "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" song stuck in my head because I tried to find it on YouTube last night, and found an old movie version and low-quality footage of the Broadway play with Japanese subtitles aired on TV somewhere at some point years ago in Japan.

Anyway, at this point, the building maintenance man has removed the toilet, so there is just a hole in the tiled bathroom floor. Thus, this trip is ironically coming at a good time, even if the high Arctic conditions aren't exactly what I signed up for when Gary and I arranged this trip to see some snow.

The good news is there are no resulting, and indeed, I was able to take a shower with no problem and the water just drained straightway from the drain into that larger "stack" pipe.

I'm trying to consider what my alternatives are for toilet accommodations, in particular for the need to, well, you know. I guess I could go all Calcutta Third World and just use the hole, except it's so mucky around it (even after I cleaned the floor as best I could).

Well, anyway, I don't have a lot of time to write, so I'm going to sign off now. I'm supposed to meet Gary at National Airport ahead of our schedule 340PM flight to Buffalo. I'm really going to be dependent on him during this three-day trip.

I hope I have a window seat on the jet, but unfortunately, I cannot take any pictures owing to my lack of a cellphone.

If I cannot update this blog at the hotel, then my next update may not be until late Monday night.

(OK, as I write this, the Spadaro plumber is trying to install a similar version of the toilet I had, which is indeed successful should end this mini-morning disaster. However, it looks kind of chaotic with the plumber, maintenance man, and site manager all in my bathroom, and the new toilet flushing funny. But I really have to go now.)


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Late Night Addendum: Additional Pictures and Info on D.C. Area Snowfall and Cold Weather; Excerpt of Jonathan Chait Column

Updated 8:15AM 1/24/2014 with new info: See below.

The view from my apartment kitchen window on a cold and clear winter morning after the snow had ended, Washington, D.C., 8:17AM January 22, 2014.

This is the view looking to the west / northwest along New Hampshire Avenue and at the nearby buildings (Brittany Condominium), Camden-Roosevelt, Augustana Lutheran Church, and the 2112 New Hampshire Avenue condo).


I was not planning to update this blog tonight but I brought the computer home and I wanted to post a few more pictures of the snowfall event yesterday (Wednesday). While I took the first three pictures (looking out my kitchen window, which I now cannot open because it seems to have frozen shut), some of the others below (so noted) are taken from this Capital Weather Gang (CWG) entry (with link embedded): A good, old-fashioned D.C. snowstorm! (PHOTOS). They were taken by Kevin Ambrose and Ian Livingston, both CWG writers and professional photographers.

The view from my apartment looking to the southwest down New Hampshire Avenue and the intersection of 16th and U Streets NW, Washington, D.C., on the same cold and clear morning after the previous day's snow, Washington, D.C., 8:17AM January 22, 2014.


Oh, yes, I had to correct the KBWI snowfall total in my previous entry to 5.1 inches.

UPDATED: The Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) map showing final snow totals, updated 10:20AM January 22, 2014.


While KDCA came in characteristically low (3.8 inches), nevertheless this was NOT a typical D.C. bust. Rather, snowfall amounts were widespread in the immediate area between 4 and 8 inches (KIAD was even higher at 8.5 inches) including in the District proper. I include downtown D.C., as well as my neighborhood, which is technically Shaw and on the edge of Dupont Circle, both of which are part of what is properly known as "midtown" D.C., except few people are even aware of the term and it rarely gets used. In short, it wasn't one of those usual situations where almost all the snow melted as soon as it touched the ground in my neighborhood.

Immediate D.C. snow total map for January 21, 2014 snow event as seen in this CWG entry.


Overall, snow totals varied widely across parts of the Eastern U.S. from North Carolina to Massachusetts ranging from 0.5 inch in Raleigh, N.C., to 18.0 inches in Hanover, Mass., and widespread in New Jersey 10 to 12 inches.

Snowy ground outside my apartment building, 2000 block New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, D.C., 9:31AM January 22, 2014.


As for tonight is a bitterly cold one under partly cloudy skies and with snow on the ground even here. The wind has slackened, though. Of course, here in my little apartment, it's quite pleasant with my old radiator hissing away and keeping it warm. (My kitchen window, though, has locked up owing to it being somehow frozen shut.)

Air temps today never made 20F at any of the regional climate stations and there were record low max temps at all three. Indeed, quoting from this CWG entry (which I edited slightly for clarity):

"High temperatures set records today for the coldest they've ever been on the date. All local airports set new marks. A high of 19F at Reagan National bested 21F last set in 1961, a high of 15F at Dulles beat 20F last set in 1970, and BWI (also) came in with 15F which undercut 19F [set] in 1961."

I looked up the Sterling LWX climate numbers here and these numbers match the daily climo summaries. Lows Wednesday morning were 9F at KDCA and 4F at both KBWI and KIAD. None of these were record lows (i.e., record low minimums). The daily record lows here in the depths of winter are extremely hard to break.

Snowy morning in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall with a lady walking by under an umbrella, January 21, 2014: Picture by Ian Livingston as posted in above-linked CWG entry.


For January 22nd, the record lows were 1F at KDCA in 1893 (i.e., a pre-KDCA D.C. record) and a bone-chilling -7F at KBWI and a hard-to-believe -18F at KIAD set in 1984. Indeed, that 1/22/1984 record low at KIAD is an all-time extreme low for that climate station in its records stretching back to about 1960. As for the D.C. and Baltimore weather records, they go back to 1871, though in different locations.

Another view of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on a snowy day, January 21, 2014: Picture by Ian Livingston, as posted in above-linked CWG entry.


As for the 1984 KIAD record, I'm finding it hard to believe that KIAD hit -18F while KDCA had to have been no lower than +2F, since no record was set. (It is given as a January extreme event, but the February one is -14F, and no other month can come close to those two for cold -- I don't even need to look that up, but you can do it here if you like.)

Anyway, tonight's lows may get down into the high single digits (except at KDCA, which will probably bottom out around 11F or 12F).


Updated 8:15AM 1/24/2014

The CWG had an entry yesterday (Jan. 23rd) noting that the morning low at KIAD (Dulles Airport) was -2F, the coldest temp. since 2/6/1996, but that it was not a daily record low, the latter being -4F on 1/23/1978.

I posted a comment noting (as I did in this entry) that the 1/22/1984 all-time record low at KIAD of -18F and how it differed from KDCA by at least 20F, since the latter could not have dropped below 2F that morning based on the fact that the daily record low was -1F set way back on 1/22/1893 (that is, a pre-KDCA D.C. record and in the generally colder late 19th Century).

Another commenter ("CaradhrasAiguo"), who apparently has the KDCA daily temp. data set for that time, replied that the 1/22/1984 overnight low there was in fact 3F, meaning a temp. difference between the two stations that morning of 21F.

This person further noted that on 1/28/1987, KDCA hit a record low of -17F (its second coldest temp. ever, which the Sterling KIAD climate extremes page in fact shows), while the KDCA low was 7F (not a daily record low, that being -2F in 1935), or a 24F difference, which this individual states was the greatest temperature difference ever between the two.

Finally, this person noted that the high temp. later on 1/28/1987 was 35F, for a whopping diurnal range of 52F. That must have been a strange weather day (and, I imagine, the air very dry).

End of update.


One of the military guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Arlington National Cemetery on a snowy morning, January 21, 2014: Picture by Kevin Ambrose, as posted in above-linked CWG entry.


As for me, tonight after work, I went to the Anthony Bowen YMCA gym tonight -- the third night in a row -- and had more or less a full workout including the approx. 5-1/2 miles of treadmill jogging, weight-lifting (though that was a bit light), and half hour of swimming. I'm quite beat. Furthermore, I have a low-grade cold, and indeed, I would not have gone to the gym except I am not going now for upwards of five days because of the upcoming trip with Gary to Buffalo and Niagara Falls (yes, in the depths of a frigid, snowy winter).

I may go to the National Capital YMCA tomorrow (Thursday) night to swim in the big swimming pool, but I'm not sure about that. Regardless, I intend to stop by D-I-K and have dinner there.

A view of the U.S. Capitol Building and the Capitol Reflecting Pool in front of it on a soft, snowy night, January 21, 2014: Picture by Ian Livingston, as posted in above-linked CWG entry.


I'm now home watching TV and have just finished dinner -- plain pork chops (heated in the stove) with just some olive oil, steamed rice, and steamed broccoli and carrots. Quite good.

As I write this (12:20AM), I'm watching an old rerun of Perry Mason on Me-TV.

It is the episode "The Case of Constant Doyle" and it stars the late, great Bette Davis as an attorney. In fact, it's a wonderful episode precisely because there is so little of Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) himself (he's supposed to be in the hospital and you don't see much of him) and instead it is an extended, virtuoso performance by Ms. Davis. The woman was awesome.

At 12:30AM is an episode of The Golden Girls on Hallmark -- the pilot episode. It follows the second of that dreadful show-ending two parter where Dorothy marries Blanche's relative.

Before I sign off, I want to call attention to this outstanding Jonathan Chait Daily Intelligencer blog entry (link embedded): I Have Seen the Future of the Republican Party, and It Is George W. Bush.

It features this important graphic from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showing the debt-to-GDP ratio of the U.S. from 1949 through the present with the 2010 and 2013 CBO projections that captures the sharply falling Federal budget deficit due, in significant measure, to the downward bending of the medical inflation cost curve. But the Republican Radicals in Congress and the (as the great Paul Krugman says) "professional centrists" and "deficit scolds" in D.C. cannot acknowledge this reality because it runs counter to their goal of gutting the last of the welfare state (Social Security and Medicare) for their corporate oligarchical overclass masters.

The Chait piece concludes:

"If and when Republicans regain the White House, profligacy holds the key to their ideological salvation. Liberating themselves from austerity will allow them to back away from their brutal campaign of confiscating food stamps, Pell grants, and low-income tax credits, and still hand out tax cuts for the 1 percent. Tax cuts for one and all! That, after all, was the Bush formula: small elements of programmatic reform for low-income workers, stapled onto the agenda of The Wall Street Journal editorial page, all costs deferred.

A Republican Party that reprises the Bush era was a grim and unfathomable prospect in 2008, and is not exactly palatable now. But in the wake of the party's thrall to Ayn Rand and Rand Paul and Paul Ryan, a return to Bushism sounds almost comforting."

Ha ha


OK, that's all for now. I may try to update this blog before I leave for Buffalo on Friday. If I do not and if I cannot post any entries while there, I may not have another blog entry until late Monday night or Tuesday next week (Jan. 27th or 28th).


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Snowy Day and Night in Washington, D.C. - A Photo-Essay Recap

The 1400 block of W Street NW, Washington, D.C., on a snowy afternoon, 3:28PM January 21, 2014.

I was walking to the Anthony Bowen YMCA near where I live in the 1400 block of W Street. About that block, I may have overstated the case in this entry. Of note, there is a historic home on this street at 1421: The Mary Ann Shadd Cary House. As for Mary Ann Shadd Cary, her life is quite amazing.

Indeed, here is a picture of the Mary Ann Shadd Cary House -- complete with rainbow flag adorning the front exterior -- that I took on my way to the Anthony Bowen YMCA on Jan. 11, 2014.



OK, I have some nice pictures -- at least by the standards of my crummy cellphone camera -- of today's snow including in the burst of heavy snowfall tonight that added 1 to 2 inches right here in the District. They are posted more or less in chronological order along with a few other images in this entry.

The Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) totals through 11:37PM January 21, 2014.

Snow totals ranged from as little as under 1" around Charlottesville, Va., to 11.2" near Scarboro (Harford County), Md., with 4 to 8 inches quite common around the Metro D.C. and Baltimore areas, which was pretty much in line with what was forecasted. In D.C. proper, there was on average between 4" and 6" of snow. Naturally, KDCA came, where the "official" snowboard doubles as a hotplate, came in low.


The view of New Hampshire Avenue from 15th Street NW including Wakefield Hall, Washington, D.C., 3:27PM January 21, 2014.

Oh, yes, I made a slight error in this entry -- the building is called (the) Wakefield Hall, not (the) Wakefield.


I'm guessing KDCA had between 3.2 and 4.5 inches of snow recorded by the end of the burst of heavy snowfall between 7PM and 9PM, but that "official Washington, D.C." number has yet to be released) versus even the other climate stations (7.1" at KIAD and 4.1" at KBWI prior to the nighttime heavy burst), but at least that ridiculous "less than 2 inches of snowfall" record-setting stretching back to Jan. 26, 2011 was finally broken. (It was 2.9" as of 7PM EST.)

OFFICIALLY, that is.

The southeast corner of Meridian Hill (not Malcolm X) Park as seen from the corner of New Hampshire Avenue and 15th Street by W Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:27PM January 21, 2014.


Updated (prior to posting the entry) with the climate station totals for Jan. 21st and event total (less perhaps an additional tiny fractional measurable amount):

KDCA: 3.8" (Daily Record)
KBWI: 5.1" (Daily Record)
KIAD: 8.5" (Daily Record)

Of note, central and southern New Jersey -- especially the coastal areas (the Jersey shore!), including my old homestead area of Monmouth County around Long Branch -- has had 12" so far and storm totals may in places approach 24" of snow. Meanwhile, Sussex County has only had a few inches of snowfall.


A wooden deck in the small backyard of the house at the corner of 15th and W Streets NW on a soft, snowy night with St. Augustine Catholic Church rising up in the near distance, Washington, D.C., 5:50PM January 21, 2014.


As for the "day off" due to the snow, it was not for me because I could not charge the time that way but had to bill to my regular billable task this month, and I only got in half a day. This means I have to use 4 hours of my own leave time. Boo. I could have worked a full day, but instead of working a full day, I just went to the gym.

The 1900 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 6:47PM January 21, 2014.


Actually, I'm quite glad I did that because my workout did me a world of good. It included another nearly hour jog, a half hour of weight-lifting (mostly light-to-moderate on the machines), and only 15 minutes of swimming (rather than half hour). I was on a compressed timetable because the gym -- Anthony Bowen YMCA -- was closing at 6PM and the pool closes at 530PM.

The 1800 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW (where I once lived in the Harrowgate), Washington, D.C., 6:50PM January 21, 2014.


Thereafter, I came home, had a bit of dinner, and then went back out even as it was snowing heavily. It was exceptionally pretty with the nighttime snow. I went to Dupont Italian Kitchen (D-I-K) bar, where Chris H. was working. JC was there and he was HILARIOUS in his conversation. I wish I could tape record him and then just transcribe it as a character in that novel that I someday intend to write.

Snowy intersection of 17th and S Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 6:53PM January 21, 2014.


Tonight JC started out with why he doesn't like black gay porn (JC is black), specifically, "N'a Avenga 5" (ha ha) that is set in a prison and involves inmates in do-rags, boots, saying the N-word, and using cigarette butts. I can't even begin to repeat what he said or how he said it. At one point, he said (paraphrasing), "I'm a BLACK man, I gotta one in three chance of goin' to prison anyway, so why would I find that movie exciting??"

Snowy night looking east down the 1600 block of Riggs Place NW (located between R and S Streets NW), Washington, D.C., 6:54PM January 21, 2014.

If these orange sodium-mercury vapor lamps are ever replaced by the cooler bluish-white of the LED street lights, this kind of golden soft glow on a snowy city night will vanish.


Now the weather is set to be bitterly cold for the next few days -- highs of 13F to 21F in D.C. proper with lows as low as 6F even in the city, maybe down to near 0F in the close-in suburbs (especially with the snow on the ground). Oh, and windy. And this cold outburst is forecasted to last a number of days. Indeed, most of the next 10 days are going to be below-to-well below normal.

Snowy night in the 1700 block of R Street NW, Washington, D.C., 8:22PM January 21, 2014.


This raises another topic: The trip to Buffalo and Niagara Falls with Gary is still on for Friday - Monday, and I'm a bit apprehensive given how extreme the weather is forecasted to be with bitterly cold temperatures and potentially more than just "late season" minor-to-moderate lake effect snows. Friday night into Saturday in particular may feature heavy snowfall and quite cold temperatures (highs around 20F and lows around 8F). (Lake Erie is nearly entire frozen on the surface, a fact that cuts off the lake effect machine.)

Screenshot of the NWS forecast for Buffalo, N.Y., with icons and text for the period Jan. 21 - 23 (24 in the text), 2014.


I'm really going to be dependent on Gary on this trip since he is renting and driving the vehicle. The whole purpose of this trip was to see snow, and that we shall.

Oh, yes, when I told JC about the trip to Buffalo / Niagara Falls, he asked if I were going over the falls in a barrel.

"I couldn't find the right barrel," I said.

"Then, you need to go to," he immediately replied.

Ha ha

Snowy night outside Larry's Lounge near the corner of 18th and T Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 8:26PM January 21, 2014.


Thereafter, I went to Larry's Lounge -- where last night was quite a sh!t show and not in a good way. I met Gary, who had been there for about an hour and a half. I couldn't pull myself away from D-I-K bar. We had a nice conversation and the place was busy and festive. Tonight was a good night there. We left around 10PM, and that brings me to the here and now.

I'm signing off right now, although I do want to note this wonderful Paul Krugman blog entry "The Washington Post is De-Kleining" commenting on the departure of Ezra Klein from The Washington Post's online Wonk Blog site, and why that is so bad for the Post with its "views differ on shape of planet" false equivalency. Also, his  regular NYT Monday column "The Undeserving Rich" is totally worth a read.

Fred Hiatt will probably unleash Ruth "Mother" Marcus on him in a "strongly written" op-ed that accuses of him of being "shrill" and, gasp, "partisan."

This Krugman column prompted a funny blog entry by the great Jonathan Chait (link embedded): "Today in 'Paul Krugman Is Definitely Not Arguing With David Brooks'".

A final picture of Wakefield Hall here in Washington, D.C., that I took on January 18, 2014 at sunset.


OK, that really is all for now. My next update may not be until Thursday night, although I will update this entry with the regional climate station snowfall totals for Jan. 21st.