Saturday, May 31, 2014

Jukebox Saturday Night Entry for May 31st, 2014: "Blossoms for Ma Chérie" Edition

"Manhattan" as performed by Blossom Dearie from the "Verve Jazz Masters 51" album (1996)

The Verve Jazz Masters series included all sorts of great jazz performers. Dearie was described in the headline of her New York Times obit as "the cult chanteuse."


"My Cherie Amour" by Stevie Wonder from album of same name (1969).

The song has been re-released many times since by different artists). This particular video contains some pleasant images including of Wonder himself.


I recently realized that I've not had ANY Cher pieces in my musical entries, so let's try to remedy that ...

"Believe" by Cher from album of same name (1998)


OK, that's all for now. I will try to update the blog on Monday night.


Controlling the Horizontal & Vertical Hold -OR- Garden Yuppie Jazz and the Imperial Capital in the (Early) 21st Century

**This entry was posted May 31, 2014.**

The vine-covered façade of the building at 1717 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 2:14PM May 31, 2014.

I've posted pictures of this building before on this blog.


Saturday night.

I'm home doing -- as it my Saturday evening / early night wont prior to going out -- my laundry and watching TV and getting ready to make dinner. Right now, I'm watching a silly episode of Wonder Woman on Me-TV ("The Deadly Toys").

My television MIGHT be in the early stages of being on the fritz. When I turn it on, the image is scrambled though the volume is fine. The image gets restored after a few minutes. I thought it might be on the Motorola cable box but I brought it to the RCN store on F Street by Metro Center -- I walked there and back -- and swapped it and the power cord for new ones and the problem is not resolved. It is possible the cable coaxial between the TV and the box is screwed up.

The Chinatown section of D.C. with the "Friendship Archway" at the corner of H and 7th Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 7:45PM May 30, 2014.


However, I suspect my TV -- a blocky 1996 Magnavox that is JUST recent enough to handle the digital channel age -- is slowly breaking down. I am not in any frame of mind emotionally and not the best state financially to buy a new "plasma screen" LED TV or whatever. If I must buy a new TV of that sort, I will get a small one. I am not spending $800 on a TV that I use to watch all of five channels.

Anyway, the old TV is working fine at this precise moment.

I am extremely fatigued following a rather a good three-part workout at the gym (well, the last part, swimming in the pool, isn't really a workout so much as fun, and it only lasted 15 minutes since the YMCA closes early on Saturday evenings). But I also didn't get enough restful and recuperative sleep last night following a night out described below.

A gentle blue sky with flattened "fair weather" cumulus humulus clouds at seen from the 700 block of 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 1:27PM May 31, 2014.


For starters, not only did I not go to work yesterday, I only work a small amount from home, so it pretty much ended up a day off. I then met Wendy at Cuba Libre down in Chinatown. The place was surprisingly vacant -- especially for how crowded it can be on a Friday happy hour --- but that and the pleasantly cool and dim atmosphere was just what I wanted. Wendy and I had nice happy hour including food and drink (sangria mostly for me).

A picture of a Jazz in the Garden event night from the 2012 series that I found online. That particular work of art is an old typewriter eraser.


We parted around 730PM and I walked down to the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden where one of the summertime Friday evening "Jazz in the Garden" was in full swing (though it was actually a blues group last night playing). It looked like a yuppie D.C. version of Woodstock down there. Amazingly, I found Andrea -- or rather, she found me -- just by walking around. She was there with Imara and some others.

Looking north along 14th Street from F Street NW, downtown Washington, D.C., 1:29PM May 31, 2014. I was walking back at that point.


After it ended, Andrea, Imara, Matt T., and I ended up going (at my suggestion but agreed to by Andrea) to Harry's Pub / Harriet's Family Restaurant. We sat outside in the pleasant night and had a late dinner. The food was excellent -- at least the grilled chicken strips and steamed vegetables I ordered. And I had a few more drinks (wine).

I've mentioned the combined Harry's / Harriet's place before. It is so refreshingly "un-D.C.-like" and right in downtown D.C. -- a block off Pennsylvania Avenue along E Street between 11th and 12th Streets NW. I can't believe I haven't noticed / been to there before.

Thereafter, Matt T. and I walked back toward Logan Circle and I brought him to No. 9 for another drink. He left and I headed over to Larry's Lounge where I had the usual sort of time.I really should go to another pub. I ended up getting agitated at some Southern gay guy -- explaining why I think the South and North should just have separate country. He didn't appreciate that or me. I guess I was kind of a jerk.

Anyway, I got home by 130AM-ish and went to bed, and that was that.

The sunny yard (with air conditioner / heat pump unit) at 1606 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 2:11PM May 31, 2014.


As for tonight, I think I'm meeting Jim at No. 9 (he's still in D.C. from Milwaukee for two more weeks). Thereafter, I'm not sure why to do. As for tomorrow, I'm not really sure -- I think I may go back to LP's place at Grosvenor Park.

OK, that's all for now.

Oh, yes, before I sign off, I want to link to Brad DeLong's blog entry that has a series of a half dozen links to pieces by various economists calling bullsh!t on the Chris Giles / Financial Times effort -- backed, no doubt, by their American and British corporate oligarchical paymasters -- to blow up the central thesis in Thomas Piketty's seminal Capital in the Twenty-First Center.

Paul Krugman (who is included among the links) also linked on his blog to the DeLong entry. This includes Thomas Piketty himself.

The only thing worse than an American "Washington Consensus" corporate and/or foundation-funded apologist / propagandist is a British Tory one. For some reason, it is extra offensive to me (maybe because I expect more from the British).

Say, Giles, why don't you and Sebastian Mallaby get married and make beautiful baby oligarchs together??

OK, that really is all for now.

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


Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday See One, Oh, Two Blog Entry Topics and Monday Carbon Dating

The house at the corner of Revere Place and Caroline Avenue, Silver Spring, Md., 6:41PM May 26, 2014.

This entry contains some of the pictures I took on Memorial Day on my walk back from Quill's parents' house to the Silver Spring Metro. I have been posting my Memorial Day weekend pictures piecemeal because, let's face it, I'm never going to get around to posting in a separate entry.


Friday morning (well, early afternoon by the time I posted this entry).

The house at the corner of Hastings Drive and Normandy Drive, Silver Spring, Md., 6:29PM May 26, 2014.

This is right off Colesville Road at the interchange with (and just "inside") the Beltway. This is around the block from where I lived for 9 months in 2004 and early 2005 during my unemployment-and-financial crisis-induced "exile" from the District of Columbia.


I am working from home as soon as I post this entry. I had intended to pull an all-nighter to finish that last report but I was so tired last night after the gym. In addition, I detoured over to / stopped at Marvin at 14th and U Streets on my home from the YMCA and had two drinks (a Stella beer and a really good glass of white wine recommended by the bartender, Tyler). Again, the place was very nice downstairs -- dim, cozy, and inviting although the music was a bit loud for my taste. It closes early for the U Street Corridor.

The house at 218 Granville Drive, Silver Spring, Md., 6:31PM May 26, 2014.

This is the house where I lived with Wall-P for 9 months -- admittedly rent free for 8 of them. I guess I should be more grateful. He was an extremely helpful friend -- indeed, a savior -- during that time. But then She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed arrived, and I soon fell afoul of Her Ways and Her Plans, which resulted in wanton violations of Her Honor. Uh, oh -- God Save Our Souls.

Anyway, I had the upstairs room on the right (the window is hidden by the maple tree in the yard). The exterior façade was redone in some fashion -- except I actually can't recall how it was other than it was partly or entirely white.


The weather yesterday was showery and cool with a low overcast that morphed into mist and fog. It only reached 62F for a high at KDCA and that was shortly after midnight. The afternoon hours held steady just about 60F. KBWI was even cooler at 57F and KIAD at 59F.

Precipitation (rainfall) totals were 0.29" at KDCA and KBWI and 0.33" at KIAD. KDMH reached 58F and had 0.24" of rain. As I noted in my previous entry, we are above normal for the year on precip.

Such cool, wet days in this the warm (read: hot and humid) season are truly bonus days.

Today is cloudy and cool but it should start to warm up.

I don't know whether to get a haircut today or not. I have been keeping my hair short the past year, but now it is starting to grow in again.

I guess I could keep it short or let it grow out for a while -- except it is so thick and weird looking.

I quickly start to look like an ashen leprechaun version of a chia-pet.

I also need some new clothing, although at this point it looks like the new onsite position with the Federal client -- my original reason for making a $300 or so purchase -- is not going to happen. June and July could be a bit dicey with billable work. There is much uncertainty right now at this point in the contract cycle.

9330 Caroline Avenue, Silver Spring, Md., 6:40PM May 26, 2014.


I also should do my laundry.

As for this evening / tonight, I'm not really sure. I might be meeting Wendy.

618 Bennington Drive, Silver Spring, Md., 6:52PM May 26, 2014. Someone was practicing the piano and I could just barely hear the muffled, haunting sounds floating through the air.

Bennington Drive is on the other side of Sligo Creek Park heading "up" toward downtown Silver Spring, which is quite vibrant these days but in that loud, morally anarchical, consumer-frenzied, corporate-friendly, suburban quasi-ghetto sort of way.


Before ending, I would like to link to some pieces discussing the upcoming EPA regulations on carbon emissions from existing power plants. My two favorite economics and political writers these days, Paul Krugman and Jonathan Chait, have had some good observations, specifically, on that silly U.S. Chamber of Commerce study that was meant to scare everybody but actually shows the opposite of what it intended with very small macroeconomic effects -- and it does so only by using unrealistic assumptions and emphasizing effects in the out years (2020 and beyond).

Typical crap -- the kind that James K. Glassman would "marshal his facts" around in some 1998 WaHoPo op-ed (in between all the weirdly puritanical Monica's Dress garbage) that Fred Hiatt considered "rollicking" and "provocative."

The monthly mean CO2 trends as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory atop Mauna Loa on Hawaii from 2010 through April 2014. The red dashed line is the monthly mean and the black dashed line is the same but with the seasonal cycle removed. As of April 2014, the monthly mean clicked above 400PPM for the first time ever. Source webpage here.


The pieces are as follows (with links embedded):

Paul Krugman's Friday May 30th, 2014 New York Times op-ed: Cutting Back on Carbon

Jonathan Chait's May 29th, 2014 Daily Intelligencer blog entry: Business Lobby Tries to Frighten America About Clean Energy, Fails Utterly

Paul Krugman's May 28th, 2014 blog entry: Cheap Climate Protection

The bottom line is that these rules -- which EPA can implement without Congressional approval, although legal challenges could alter or eventually torpedo them --are a big deal for a variety of reasons including political (setting hopefully a favorable stage for global action) yet will have very minor adverse economic effects (and even if they did, mitigating the severity of climate change sort of trumps that anyway).

Visualization of the all-time record low Arctic sea ice reached August 26, 2012 with the yellow line showing the average summer minimum extent for the period 1979 - 2010. Source:NASA.


To be clear, though, their announcement will be greeted with Republican yahoo shrieking and political dung-flinging ginned up even more by media hysteria and misinformation with Wolf Blitzer earnestly looking to discuss "both sides of the issues." As Chait wrote earlier this month, for the Know-Nothing, Anti-Science GOP, the rules will represent Obamacare and Benghazi rolled into one.

The full atmospheric record at the Mauna Loa Observatory stretching from 1958 through early 2014. Again, the red lines are monthly means and the black lines are seasonally corrected monthly means. Same source webpage.


Also, read this Chait piece on how two of Obama's signature achievements -- the Affordable Care Act and these carbon emission regulations -- are really reconstituted Mitt Romney ideas from his days as Massachusetts governor, before he ran for president and had to go all rightwing bat-sh!t crazy). In the case of the power plant emissions regulations, the EPA plan will probably allow states to set up cap-and-trade systems.

Alaska's Mendenhall Glacier in 1894 and in 2008.

Here is another version of the above pictures without the labels / captions:

Finally, on a different note, I highly recommend this piece by Roger Cohen in The New York Times (link embedded): Capitalism Eating Its Children. I am tempted to post this in its entirety in a subsequent entry.

The house at 606 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, Md., 6:58PM May 26, 2014. I always forget when I do this walk (which is rare these days) to take Pershing Drive instead of Ellsworth Drive.


OK, that's all for now. I intend to have a jukebox Saturday night entry. 


Thursday, May 29, 2014

On Backdoor Fronts and Shotgun Marriages -OR- The 3AM Update That Really Shouldn't Be

The leafy boughs of a locust tree and other nearby trees with a blue sky backdrop as seen on the tranquil grassy grounds of the sprawling Grosvenor Park complex in Rockville*, Md., 2:33PM May 25, 2014.

*Technically, it's not in the City of Rockville but the Post Office requires "Rockville" on the address and refuses to deliver to "North Bethesda.


OK, so I was going to post my planned entry with my Memorial Day weekend pictures but instead I wrote the preceding entry on a news topical event that I thought important to note -- along with my commentary.

It is now much too late for me to try to post the planned entry. In addition, I may have to work into the wee hours at home tomorrow (after the gym) to finish the last of my BA reports (owing to a funding cutoff deadline of June 1st).

As for today, I went to the gym after work and had a full workout. As I got out of the pool, the young lifeguard asked me if I was interested in taking swimming lessons there at the YMCA. I thought to myself: I thought I WAS swimming. As it is, the swimming is meant to be a cool-down after jogging and weightlifting.

A portion of the NWS high-resolution surface weather map valid at 3Z May 29, 2014 (11PM EDT May 28, 2014) showing New England, the mid-Atlantic, and portions of the Ohio River Valley and Midwest. Note the backdoor front moving west across northern Virginia -- having cleared the immediate Metro D.C. area.


By the time I left the gym, the summery heat and humidity of the day (high of 88F at KDCA with dew points in the mid-to-upper 60s F) with scattered showers / t-storms had abruptly and delightfully given way to the best kind of air conditioning: a cool easterly breeze under low ("close") overcast skies and temps down 25F to about 65F on a maritime flow -- all courtesy of a backdoor front that transited the Metro D.C. and Baltimore areas this evening. Alas, it won't last too long, though this Thursday should be cool and possibly showery with the main frontal passage.

Oh, yes, the rain yesterday (Tuesday) dropped 0.91 inches at KDCA and less at the other climate stations. Today (Wednesday) it was Dulles' turn to get the jackpot in a scattered t-storm (0.81 inches). I'll post an update soon on current precipitation totals (all three airports are running significantly ahead of normal this year, approximately 6.4 to 7.7 inches above in the 22 to 24 inch range).

The steps to the row houses at 1114 and 1116 T Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:41PM May 25, 2014.


Finally, in case you were wondering based on this entry (and you weren't), my dinner plans OF COURSE did not pan out yesterday (Tuesday). I still had solo dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill, though, and then had what seemed like an interminable walk up 16th Street to U Street to my place. The only thing I will add about it is the following: That was THE LAST time I will ever try to arrange something like that with the person in question.

The strange little stand-alone row house on the strange little side alley called 9-1/2 Street (between 9th Street and Vermont Avenue), Washington, D.C., 7:46PM May 25, 2014. (10th Street is on the other side of U Street.) This is right around the corner from Nellie's.


So I think that's about all -- OH, WAIT! How could I forget to mention this: My shotgun-bride Sallie Mae -- to which I am almost certainly forever married in this life -- APPROVED my "mandatory forbearance due to excessive student loan debt" for another 12 months on my gargantuan twin consolidated Direct student loans that it services. (This is because my repayment under a standard repayment plan is (well) in excess of 20 percent of my gross monthly income.)

This is the start of my second (for want of a better term) "option year" on this feature. I SHOULD have a third year remaining and ONE remaining year of general forbearance. All of this would take me, in theory, to June 2017 (at which point I really will have to start to pay, though under the income-based repayment option, unless I magically got a job that allowed me to utilize the public service option). Anyway, at minimum, I'm good for another year.

The little-used upstairs dining room at Dupont Italian Kitchen, Washington, D.C., 7:20PM May 25, 2014. This little room is probably one of the most underused yet highly valuable pieces of real estate in the 17th Street yuppie gay ghetto (now "gentrifying" to straight yuppie). It overlooks the corner of R and 17 Streets NW.


I'm going to bed now. Tomorrow should be a regular work day -- and I'll find out whether that new long-term task is going to come to pass or not. I'm rather ambivalent on it except for the fact that I need billable work to carry me through at least part of the summer.

And with that, I really will sign off. Again, an update tomorrow night might not happen owing a report I need to finish. My next update might not be until Saturday.


Edward J. Snowden Speaks to Brian Williams; The Empire & Its Oligarchy Go Mad-Dog Rabid

**This entry was posted May 29, 2014.**

The big news today (tonight) is the airing of Edward J. Snowden extended interview by Brian Williams -- obscenely-hyped by that ridiculous network -- although NBC News pre-released a transcript.

The biggest "news" in the interview is that Snowden contradicted U.S. Government claims that he was not a spy; he said he was very much a spy in the traditional sense of that word in addition to his "low-level" analyst surveillance work for NSA.

Brian Williams is comically annoying.

The U.S. Government continues its mad-dog frenzied verbal campaign against him with Secretary of State John Kerry blowing some back-side smoke about how he should "man up" and return to the U.S. in order to be tried under our majestic and blind system of justice by some secret military hooded tribunal, found guilty in 10 minutes, and packed away in some 6-by-8-foot steel cage for the rest of his life and subjected to God-knows-what by the American authorities. (Maybe they would even declare him an "enemy combatant" to make it take 5 minutes.)

To be clear, Snowden has been charged under the Espionage Act and all bets are off about any "whistleblower" protections in the forms of the many putative reforms that his revelations have initiated.

A picture of Edward Snowden with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras as well as Greenwald's partner David Miranda. The photo is undated but probably in the past few months and somewhere in Moscow.


Those revelations -- via Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras -- are that the U.S. Government spies on EVERYTHING and EVERYONE that moves upon Planet Earth from the top of Mount Everest to the bottom of Challenger Deep via ALL FORMS of communications AT ALL TIMES. It's only the absurd size of the data streams that render it less-than-useful.

Without getting into any of that, let me just say that if Snowden is forced to return to the U.S. at some point, he would be better off in some execution-happy Red State such as "Bloody Mary's" Oklahoma or in Rick Perry's "Big Boom" Texas.

This would be in keeping with the old Stalin era morbid joke about Comrade Stalin asking three people atop a building to jump to their deaths, but only one of them -- the Jew -- runs to do it. At this point, Stalin stops him and asks why he of the three was so eager, to which he replies, "better a horrible end than endless horror."

In those Red State cases, Snowden would be executed in some horror chamber experiment involving God-knows-what-drugs that the state correctional authorities bought off the black market (with some low-level guard carrying bags of money under cover of darkness behind the Walmart to rendezvous with an unmarked van for the "pick up") because all sane and humane suppliers of the necessary cocktail of drugs for legal injection refuse to be part of such barbarism.

Of course, none of that is going to happen. This is a Federal case. And the Feds want him like crazy. Bradley / Chelsea Manning was just a weird warm up drag act compared to this case.

Maybe Benji Wittes can explain the legal nuances of the case. Actually, I am sure he already has but I couldn't care less what that Washington Consensus legal tool says. (He must be very upset that Greenwald hasn't been arrested on his return to the U.S. You see, Greenwald has said mean things about Benji Wittes and he never got over it.)

Glenn Greenwald arriving at JFK International Airport -- mobbed by reporters -- on April 11, 2014 in his first return trip to the United States since the Snowden affair began. Greenwald was unmolested by U.S. authorities in that trip (unlike Miranda's trip through Heathrow in London under the UK's everyone-is-assumed guilty espionage laws).


Anyway, in the interview, Snowden said he would love to return to the U.S. but cannot -- and will seek an extension of his asylum in Russia beyond August 1st -- until the programs he revealed are reformed. (Good luck with that -- the country is far too down the road of corporate oligarchical overclass / wage-slave service sector underclass for that). In this way, Snowden views himself as a patriot.

Snowden said to Williams: "The reality is, the situation determined that this needed to be told to the public. The Constitution of the United States had been violated on a massive scale. Now, had that not happened, had the government not gone too far and overreached, we wouldn't be in a situation where whistleblowers were necessary."

Greenwald's partner David Miranda and Edward Snowden in an undated photo earlier this year on the same trip to Moscow with Greenwald and Poitras. (Is it me or does Miranda looks a little like a Brazilian version of MV??)


On that question of "traitor" versus "patriot," I refer you to what Andrew Leonard wrote in Salon: Namely, it is possible for Snowden to be both both simultaneously even if most Americans are too dumb to grasp that complexity:

"Americans have never been particularly good at embracing contradictions and complexity. The notion that Edward Snowden could simultaneously be a traitor and a patriot disappoints and bewilders our primal Manichaean impulses..."

Well said. And quite true.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Just Add Water, Ice, and Warmth Mixed With Sunshine -OR- It's Weather Elementary

It's about 7:15PM and I'm still at work where I am sort of doubly stuck for the time being. First, there is Biblical deluge happening outside at this precise moment across the District of Columbia and immediate environs in an exceptionally dark and gloomy evening, and even if I had an umbrella with me (which I don't), it wouldn't be much use. Rain is slashing against the windows.

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced composite mode, 7:01PM May 27, 2014.

The radar's composite mode tends to look more dramatic as it shows activity within the clouds as well as what is falling. Still, this is a dramatic radar image.


Secondly, I may or may not be having that long-delayed dinner with Cole at Old Ebbitt Grill. If so, it would be on the late side (around 10PM). It's something I sort of planned with him a long time ago. As it is, if he can't do it tonight (it's a work-related schedule issue), then it won't happen for at least another week. (This is relevant since the restaurant is about half way between my apartment and office).

Lightning is flashing outside -- although I don't get much of a view from my cubicle, just a portion of a non-descript office building around L'Enfant Plaza. The thunder makes an oddly muffled, vaguely threatening sound as heard through the sealed glass windows and reverberating off the buildings down in this part of the city. It's all the more vaguely sinister as I'm here in the office by myself and the building is mostly empty, too.

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced base reflectivity mode, 6:39PM May 27, 2014.

This was the radar as the t-storms approached.

(I really should try to use the much better radar imagery that is now offered on the Sterling website, but I just haven't gotten into the habit of it yet.)


There is presently a severe thunderstorm warning out for the District, but it should be over by the time I post this entry. A severe thunderstorm watch is up until 9PM EDT for the region. This is a classic t-storm rolling down the Potomac River into the District and the Tidal Potomac south of the city.

The office is dim -- I turned off the main lights and only a few random overhead ones are on along with my tiny little lamp on my desk that I seldom use.

Temps today reached 92F at National Airport (KDCA), only the second time this season so far at that official climate spot and tying the 92F set on May 13th for warmest of the season. (For me, the fewer 90F days, the better.) KBWI reached 90F and KIAD reached 87F. As for this thunderstorm rain, it's ALWAYS a HIGHLY iffy proposition how much will actually fall in the official rain bucket at KDCA.

I should note that the High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model quite accurately captured this thunderstorm complex moving across the District and environs at the 7PM hour:

HRRR 3-km resolution composite radar simulation for portions of the mid-Atlantic including the extended D.C. / Baltimore Metro areas valid at 7PM EDT May 27, 2014 -- with the picture prettied up by WeatherBELL Analytics. I'm not sure what time was this particular HRRR run.

The image is taken from this Capital Weather Gang entry posted earlier this afternoon.


Of note, the CWG had two other interesting entries today, May 27th. The first is about all the ice remaining on Lake Superior and what an odd juxtaposition it created with folks at the beach along the lakeshore (or even on the water) in the 85F weather over the weekend.

Sunbathers on a beach along still ice-clogged Lake Superior, May 25, 2014.


Beachgoers enjoy a very warm day along the shores of Lake Superior near Marquette, Mich., despite the residual ice in the water from the near-record Great Lakes freeze-up this past winter, May 25, 2014.


The second is about all the strange -- even freakish -- accumulating hail storms that have hit such widely disparate places including São Paulo, Brazil; Vilafranca del Penedès, Spain; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in the past 10 days.

A Tweeted image from São Paulo, Brazil, May 18, 2014 ...

I haven't really researched this issue, but this has to be a very unusual event for São Paulo -- by which I mean so much hail in a thunderstorm as to mimic a snowstorm. Based on the reactions of people, that much hail is truly an unusual event.


Ditto the hail storm that hit Vilafranca del Penedès, Spain not far from the Mediterranean Sea, on Sunday shown in the above Tweeted image.


So at this point, the storm appears to be winding down. I don't think I am going to take my computer home tonight (regardless of whether this dinner comes to pass or not). But this means my weekend entry will be (predictably) delayed. As for tomorrow and Thursday, I plan to have regular gym nights after work. My next planned update should therefore be late tomorrow. Right now, I'll just start to head back toward my place and see whether I get a text or not.


More than a Patch of Blue -OR- A Really Brief Memorial Day Weekend 2014 Brief

**This entry was posted May 27, 2014.**

Deep blue sky with a single fair weather cumulus humulus cloud high overhead as framed by leafy branches including a deciduous and coniferous tree as seen outside the Grosvenor Park II high rise in Rockville ("North Bethesda"), Maryland, 1:49PM May 25, 2014. I was heading to LP's place to see him.


Well, my extended (four day!) holiday weekend is over. I tried to write up an entry tonight but the flippin' thing OF COURSE got out of control in terms of length and complexity, and I'm not even going to try to post it now. Suffice it to say, my Sunday and Monday involved Metrorail treks to Grosvenor Park and Silver Spring in suburban Maryland on the Metro and visiting friends (LP and Quill (and her parents), respectively). Monday also featured brunch at Trio with Gary and his mom (who has recently moved to the D.C. area) and Kristof and Gloria.

I'll try again to post tomorrow with the two dozen or so pictures I took Sunday and Monday as soon as possible. (Of note, I'm again taking tomorrow off from the gym for reasons I can explain -- possibly dinner with someone I know from Nellie's -- but then will go on Wednesday and Thursday.) As for my work week, I am not sure what it will hold but the new position is quite up in the air in more ways than one.

Right now, though, I'm going to bed.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Jukebox Saturday Night Entry for May 24th, 2014: Arthurian & Old School Eurodance Edition

"Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" by Christopher Cross from his release "Arthur - The Album" (1981).

It was the title theme for the movie Arthur that came out that year starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli. The YouTube video features a montage from that movie set to this piece.

I still can't figure out if Cross is saying "all of his life, he's mastered choice," or what would make more rhyming and perhaps conceptual sense, "all of his life, his master's toys" (since the next line is "Deep in his heart, he's just a boy"). I've seen it written out both ways. However, it could also be something different.

But I love the "If you get caught between the Moon and New York City / The best that you can do is fall in love" refrain.

I had my own parody version "If you get caught between JR's and Matt Wade Henry / the best that you can do is ..." but I never really finished it.


Let's end with something really Old School 1990s Eurodance energetic (I know the YouTube clip has "2007" in the title but that's when it was posted ...

"Happenin' All Over Again" by Lonnie Gordon from her album If I Have to Stand Alone album (1990), although the hyperkinetic "dance" version that she performs in this video is probably from the re-recording and re-release a few years later on her Bad Mood album (1993).

OK, that's all for now.


A Saturday Evening Blog Post: Drumbeat Sailing

**This entry was posted May 24, 2014.**

A Saturday evening post.

This day never really got off the ground in that I was very tired and slept late (even though I specifically said in my previous entry that I did not want to do that this weekend).

However, I managed to make it to the gym -- Anthony Bowen YMCA -- for a second day in a row, and while my workout wasn't as long as the full 2-1/2 hour ordeal yesterday (hour treadmill jogging, hour light-to-moderate machine-based weightlifting, and half hour swimming) because the gym closes early on Saturday evening. However, I still got in 5.81 miles on the treadmill over 61 minutes (after doing 6.40 miles over 65 minutes yesterday). The pool was nice, too, although today I only got in 15 minutes.

My stuffed toy dog (a terrier), clown, and plush hippo, Flippo, on my bed in my apartment, Washington, D.C., 7:25PM May 24, 2014.

Flippo my plush hippo is always on my bed with my other stuffed animals (the rest were under the covers). However, I keep the dog and the clown on a shelf in my closet. Both are too old and fragile -- and tend to leak, the clown in particular a sort of sandy grit.

They are both very old and were once toys belonging to my late Uncle Richard for whom I was named and who died over 51 years ago at the age of 19 (a full 6-1/2 years before I was born). They lived in the house at Kirby Avenue in Long Branch, N.J., for many years. They have followed me ever since. The rag on the clown's head is something I put on when I was perhaps 14 years old -- stupidly gluing a piece of a bed sheet to stop him from leaking. Now I dare not remove it.

The clown has frightened people when I've shown him. He doesn't frighten me. I love him.


Oh, yes, my weight on the scale in the locker room yesterday was a whisker over 142 pounds.

Last week, when I went to the National Capital YMCA, I weighed in a whisker under 142 pounds on the big scale there. Thus, I'm happy to report I am maintaining the net weight loss of about 42 pounds from my peak flabbiness 2 years ago and a fat loss probably closer to 45 pounds (since I've put on a bit of muscle as well).

Anyway, I won't be going to the gym possibly until Wednesday.

I'm doing my laundry now and making dinner (I'm trying pork chops again and jasmine rice and steamed broccoli and carrots). I'm also watching Wonder Woman on Me-TV. It's the episode "The Man Who Made Volcanoes." It has to be one of the dumbest episodes of the series. The show was better in the early part of the series when she was fighting the Nazis rather than in its 1970s setting and weird plot lines.

We still love Lynda Carter, though.

Next up is Star Trek: TOS -- it's the wonderfully-named episode "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky." Thereafter, it is the Svengoolie-hosted monster movie. Tonight's movie is the 1957 film The Land Unknown involving a dinosaur-filled tropical jungle deep in a subterranean volcanic crater in Antarctica. Low-budget special effects abound in the film.

Later on, I'm going out to meet Jim at No. 9.

Tomorrow, I plan on going to LP's place at Grovsenor Park and then I'm meeting Quill up in Silver Spring on Monday (Memorial Day).

I intend to post a jukebox Saturday night entry shortly -- except I'm not exactly sure what songs to post.

Oh, yes, before I end this entry, I just want to note this little discovery I made ...

The above picture has been my computer desktop image for the past several years. There are actually FOUR people in that image -- yet I only saw the standing figure at first and only subsequently / sequentially realized there were others in the image.

More importantly, I have long been baffled by the letters on the banner because only a  portion were visible, namely,  "-IMBEAT". However, I have determined that it is VERY LIKELY "DRUMBEAT" and refers to a yacht based in the Cayman Islands. The images on its website seem to confirm this, specifically the photos of its deck. Oh, and to be clear, there is another, smaller yacht called Drumbeat 1 that plies the waters of the Virgin Islands.

That is all.