Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Some Very Informed Feedback on that Startling Mersini-Houghton Paper -OR- Why Black Holes Almost Certainly Do Exist

This entry features a brief overview of the controversial -- and not-yet-peer-reviewed -- findings of two physicists who claim that their mathematical calculations "prove" that black holes do not exist. It also includes my friend Kristof's take on the matter -- sent to me as his friend seeking his general view of the matter.

For starters, the story actually appeared last week when the study first appeared on the arXiv electronic preprints website for scientific articles site. However, here is the story as it appeared on Huffington Post yesterday (Sept. 29th).

The article is by Laura Mersini-Houghton of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Harald P. Pfeiffer of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics located at the University of Toronto.

UNC - Chapel Hill -- perhaps foolishly and certainly prematurely -- touted the findings in a press release dated Sept. 23, 2014.

The key finding (as stated in the press release) is as follows:

"But now Mersini-Houghton describes an entirely new scenario. She and Hawking both agree that as a star collapses under its own gravity, it produces Hawking radiation. However, in her new work, Mersini-Houghton shows that by giving off this radiation, the star also sheds mass. So much so that as it shrinks it no longer has the density to become a black hole.

"Before a black hole can form, the dying star swells one last time and then explodes. A singularity never forms and neither does an event horizon. The take home message of her work is clear: there is no such thing as a black hole."


For starters, this is apparently not the first time that someone has mathematically "disproven" black holes. Secondly, I asked my friend Kristof to comment on this. Kristof is among the top scientists in his field of tropospheric - stratospheric chemistry transport and dynamics, but he also has a Ph.D. in mathematics and is very knowledgeable about general relativity.

Here is his reply -- reprinted with permission (with the text broken up to accommodate some artist conception images and schematics of black holes, accretion disks, and gamma ray bursts):

Hi Richard

I looked at the Mersini-Houghton paper. There's too much math there to check within a short time for someone who is not highly 'edumucated' in General Relativity. However, I suspect the problem may be in the way she sets up the stress energy tensor. Specifically, the Hawking radiation component of it. The stress energy tensor is the right hand side of Einstein's field equation and it represents matter (the left hand side represents space-time geometry). It is a generalization of mass density in the classical theory of gravity.

Why do I think that? On the face of it, the whole thing doesn't add up: her calculations yield a two-fold mass loss of a collapsing star due to the Hawking radiation (HR) during the collapse!

But there exist very precise calculations that show that the HR is energetically extremely inefficient.

The half-life of an evaporating stellar mass black hole ('the Page time', after Don Page) is orders of magnitude greater than the age of the Universe. Many orders of magnitude. Now, projecting things like the temperature of the HR as 'measured' far away to the vicinity of the horizon is very tricky, as virtually everything that involves gravity is. You have to be a quantum physics equivalent of a brain surgeon to do it correctly.

Can't blame anyone for getting it wrong.

You may want to read this short piece on the IFLS website. The woman who runs the website actually approached William Unruh and asked for his opinion. He was kinda harsh, actually. I'm leaning towards accepting his view on the matter.

If anyone understands the Hawking radiation it's him (and Hawking). Back in the 70's he showed that an accelerating frame of reference radiates photons. This 'Unruh effect' is equivalent to Hawking radiation, as acceleration is locally indistinguishable from gravity by Einstein's equivalence principle. He probably knows what he's talking about.

Why has this particular paper gone viral on the internets is beyond me. Maybe it's because of the statement that Hawking made last year ('There are no black holes'). I'm sorry, but Hawking's paper (if you can call it that) was just a collection of random musings on the 'firewall paradox' and the information paradox. No math, no nothing.

If it were published by anybody else no one would pay any attention to it - but being an attention whore he said what he said, bless his heart (actually, he's kind of irresponsible in that way). So now someone says the same thing and there is some actual math in the paper so it gets attention. My gut tells me the result is wrong.

Must have a glass of wine now:-)



If I can add my own 1-1/2 cents as a conclusion, and not knowing anything about Einstein's field equations or stress-energy tensors, I also suspect that the two scientists are probably wrong in their conclusions -- it simply flies in the face of too much carefully developed theory that matches so well to so many indirect astrophysical and cosmological observations. Their findings are just a mathematical curiosity based on a set of assumptions that are not "realistic" in the truly bizarre physics that exist near (and in) a black hole.

*No, not the upscale department store.

Finally, here is a more elaborate explanation of what you would theoretically experience falling into the Schwarzschild black hole -- that is, a non-rotating, uncharged one, the "simplest" (and most unrealistic) of all black holes.

OK, that's all for now.

My next planned update will be on Wednesday night (unless the computer issue I mentioned in this entry comes to pass, in which case my blogging will be severely curtailed until late October).


Monday, September 29, 2014

Another Update on that Barracuda Matter and My Computer Contingency Plan

So at this point, the super-restrictive Barracuda update that I could have totally done without is in fact permanent in terms of closed off sites. However, it turns out that the automatic update was botched -- something about it not synching with this or that Windows platform -- and as a result, the IT person needs to reinstall that update. This means that there is a very real possibility in the second, corrected update that I will also lose the ability to access Blogger and update this blog.

In that case, I will just shell out the money on my Oct. 25th paycheck for my own new PC -- trying to keep the cost under $300, if possible. Of course, what that would mean little if any blogging for the month of October unless and until I can find other computers to use during that time.

Above: An image I have always really loved: Sunrise on the distant shore line of the South China Sea in Vietnam. So familiar and wonderful -- and yet truly a different world on the other side of Planet Earth.


While this new personal computer would restore my internet freedom, I am also sure it will also be a piece of Chinese junk (yes, pun intended) with the usual prearranged 18-month life expectancy and that is instantly infected with all kinds of internet garbage.

In that way, it will be just like my previous two including the one that Wall-P pretended to buy for me as a present but actually expensed to his corporate law firm expense account (and probably made money off it). The second one was under the control of the Hysterical One and I was glad to be rid of it.

The former was quite literally my lifeline during the worst days of 1099 independent contractor hell at the Japanese Turkey Farm in Bethesda.

"Eh. Eh. Eheheh. All value in the Universe is measured by the extent to which asset flow is positive. Therefore, anything that fails to make money is not valuable. Eh. Eheheh."

Anyway, that's my plan, and I will know tomorrow if this is indeed what is going to happen.

As for my Monday, it was OK. I had an uneventful but productive day at work and also a good 3-part gym workout tonight.

The weather was mostly cloudy to overcast, seasonably mild, (around 74F) and a bit humid. There were whole batches of precipitation that naturally missed the D.C. area this worthless weather time of the year while the Eastern Shore and New Jersey got showers and light rain. Of course.

OK, I am going to try to post one more entry tonight.


Yet Another Weekend Mass at St. Elsewhere ...

**This entry was posted on September 29, 2014.**

Dawn over the beach at Cape May, N.J., this morning, 6:51AM September 29, 2014.

My mom sent me this picture a short while ago. She has been in Cape May this weekend though I think she and Ray are returning today.


Just a brief Monday morning update.

So another pointless weekend has concluded in which I did nothing but spend and drink too much, although I got in a good gym workout on Saturday. Yesterday was a total bust in that I didn't even take a bike ride. Instead, I sat inside St. Matthew's Cathedral for about 45 minutes as the place filled up ahead of the 530PM mass, for which I did not stay. I left -- and had to run the usual gauntlet of aggressive panhandlers in front of the church steps -- and went to No. 9. Later, I went to Larry's Lounge.

The interior of St. Matthew's Cathedral, Washington, D.C., 4:49PM September 28, 2014.


St. Matthew's is pleasant enough inside (and there was even Gregorian chant music being piped in through the speakers), but the place is also a de facto homeless shelter when it is open. (I guess most urban churches are like that.) One lady in particular has lived in and on the steps of the cathedral for at least 15 years. She has her bedding including this old, dirty umbrella that she is able to keep in a little storage space in the church. She has slept outside in all imaginable weather including large snowstorms, sleet, rain, and bitter cold during that time.

Communion wafers and some sort of oil on a little table that I don't think is supposed to be all out in the open like that.


She is not an aggressive panhandler at all. Indeed, she won't even take any money unless you call it a donation. She's pleasant enough to talk to (as I have done a few times over the years.) She's just in her own devoutly Catholic world, though clearly mentally ill as well. (I think someone helps her to use the nearby National Capital YMCA in the morning.)

St. Anthony's Chapel, St. Matthew's Cathedral, 5:21PM September 28, 2014.


I used to spend a lot of time at St. Matthew's back in the mid-1990s -- going to the 5:30PM Sunday mass before JR's happy hour time and then for a few years hanging around that crazy rightwing single men's group (the St. Lawrence Society) that used to meet there because I liked this awful person named Tim who is long gone from there. The church's congregation is a mix of people with a sizable component of young, affluent gay men next to the old, working poor Hispanic women.

And let's not even start with Father, now Monsignor Watkins, who isn't even at St. Matthew's anymore but has moved his one-man Italian Operatic and Drag Show Society to another nearby church (last I heard, it was Immaculate Conception) as he dreams of being the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

St. Anthony's Chapel, St. Matthew's Cathedral, 5:21PM September 28, 2014.

Now that we have this awesome pope -- Pope Francis -- I can actually go back to Catholic Church and not feel agitated, annoyed, or angry.


Mgr. Watkins is such a learned man, too, with 18 letters after his name including Ph.D., because I always want my spiritual minister to have a doctorate, speak Italian and Greek (even during Confession), rudely turn away even when you compliment his theatrical performances, and above all else, have the finest dining experiences.

As for St. Matthew's Cathedral, Monsignor Jameson is still the rector there after all these years. He is a nice guy. I like him.

Speaking of wealth and who doesn't have it versus who does, read Paul Krugman's New York Times op-ed today (link embedded): Our Invisible Rich. By this, he means the top 0.1 percent multi-millionaires and billionaires whose lives are so far removed from most Americans that the latter actually have little idea how unequal our society has become in this new and ugly Gilded Age.

As always, also, read Prof. Krugman's regularly updated blog as well.

Changing subjects, I really need a haircut. I'm starting to look like an ashen-gray chia head. I suppose I could go to the Hair Cutter right after work, except that would interfere with my Monday gym night.

Maybe I'll go tomorrow ... except that would interfere with my occasional Tuesday night happy hour ... so maybe Wednesday ... except that is also a gym night. Definitely Thursday. Unless it's Friday, which is the ideal day.

I would have gone last Friday except I had that Medieval Madness dinner theatre to attend.

But I can't stand how my hair feels all big and poofy, and I am running out of that CHI pomade stuff, so maybe I'll go today.

OK, that's all for now. I'm just going to try to have a low-key, productive week. My next update might not be until Tuesday night.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

In the Millennial Good Valley of Endless Selfies AND George Clooney Marries Himself, The Observable Universe Collapses On Itself

This picture was just sent to me by my mom on her after-season trip to Cape May, New Jersey, although judging by her texts, it is still quite mobbed there even though it is now a month after Labor Day.

I really had hoped that she and Ray would retire there in the next few years rather than Delaware, but that doesn't seem likely.


Sunday early afternoon ... Naturally, I'm getting up way too late. I am going to try to take a bike ride this afternoon and then go to Larry's Lounge later. I' not exactly sure where I want to bike today. As for this upcoming week, it needs to be low-key and work-and-gym focused. Unfortunately, it looks like the forecasted rain for mid-week has been removed from the forecast entirely.

This is NOT the view from my D.C. apartment. It was taken on Sept. 18th in Silverton, Colorado.


Last night, I went to No. 9, where it was quite busy. I stayed for about 2-1/2 hours just standing in the throng. I think I had four drinks, maybe five. They were the $5 Absolut pear and soda that is my lowest sugary drink that I find has any taste at all.

Mr. Good Valley, a.k.a., Donny Osmond, was there and I have three observations, two trivial and the other more substantive ...

1. He looked fine except for that sweater. It looked like something my late Polish (maternal) grandmother would have worn to Catholic mass in South Amboy, New Jersey back in the 1970s.

2. He really doesn't like me. That's fine. I have a 1-800 number for him to call.

3. Most importantly -- and this is directly to him -- you do not need to take THAT MANY pictures ("selfies") of yourself and your friends and bar acquaintances.

I realize that as a Millennial, you will be unable to grasp the following concept for at least another decade or two, but here it is: NOT EVERY NANOSECOND of your life must or should be filmed / photographed and shared INSTANTLY in the Social Media Universe including the D.C. gay sorority boy realm. No one needs to take 100 selfies per night. And it cheapens the times that are important. Besides, I personally don't like getting blinded by all the flash photography and always having to look away.


I started this entry last night but ended it and I wasn't sure I wanted to post it, especially because I came across the following news item on Yahoo that really annoyed the hell out of me: George Frickin' Clooney just got married in Venice and apparently the whole goddamn ancient city had to shut down and/or rearrange itself for his benefit.

Above: The superhumanly annoying George Clooney on his bullsh!t day of Infinite Celebrity Narcissism With Mannequin Wife in which the Observable Universe collapsed upon itself in a total paparazzi sh!t show of George Clooney-is-God-ism. I'm just surprised Venice itself didn't finally sink into the Adriatic.

He reminds me of Wall-P in the I'm-the-Center-of-the-Universe, I-Know-Everything, Look-How-Great-I-Am megalomaniacal way. Anybody care to wager how long this marriage lasts? I say 18 to 24 months.

OK, that's all for now. And I PROMISE henceforth to keep this blog a George Clooney Free Zone.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday Night Recap of Friday Night: Medieval Madness, Much Mead, and an Unplanned Metro Ride to Addison Road

Tonight Two knights and the Duke himself at Medieval Madness dinner theatre, Alexandria, Va., 9:14PM September 26, 2014. I took this picture when the lights came up for the sword-fighting contest.

All but one of the pictures in this entry were taken last night at the Medieval Madness dinner theatre show at John Strongbow's Tavern in Old Town Alexandria. Three were taken by me and three by another person (Nate) in the group with a much better quality camera. I went there as part of a group of 9 people. Naturally, I was 20 minutes late and the show was already underway.


It is Saturday night and I cannot post a jukebox Saturday night entry because of the frickin' evil Barracuda update from hell that I cannot undo on this my work computer. I'm hoping I can get some resolution next week. I ALMOST had a resolution on Friday with the help of the (remote) IT person but it just didn't work.

At Medieval Madness, Old Town Alexandria, Va., 9:12PM September 26,2014.


As it is, I'm home watching (well, listening) to one of the RCN music channels (channel 896 / smooth jazz). I just had a 72-minute phone call with my dad just now. We hadn't talked in a while, partly because I was mad at him for never shutting up about Shannon. Sometimes I can handle it and other times I cannot.

As for my mom, she is in Cape May, New Jersey with Ray on what should be a nice late season vacation, except based on her texts, it sounds like it's anything but enjoyable. At this point, Ray's health issues are interfering with his quality of life.

Medieval Madness dinner show, Old Town Alexandria, Va., 9:32PM September 26, 2014. This was one of Nate's pictures.


As for tonight, I ought to just stay in. The previous two nights have been, well, excessive. Last night's Medieval Madness dinner show outing was actually quite fun -- and I really like the new location at John Strongbow's Tavern at 710 King Street in Old Town Alexandria. It is a lot nicer than the previous location a few blocks away on King Street in Renaissance Hall (now basically empty). The upstairs space is actually quite pleasant, and I also like the downstairs main bar.

Medieval Madness dinner show finale, Old Town Alexandria, Va., 9:32PM September 26, 2014. This was another one of Nate's pictures.

The guy in the green shirt is Alana's boyfriend. I'm forgetting his name right now. Somehow, I started explaining to him the complex / hybrid continental-collision / ocean basin subduction geomorphology of the American Rocky Mountains and what the next supercontinent configuration might be a quarter of billion years hence.


However, I had much too much mead, ale, wine, and then a shot of Jamison (which I did with this guy with long hair who I told looked like Jesus and after the show when we had all gone downstairs to the main bar).

Not even the food I had could absorb all of those libations that booze. There were 9 of us in the party. By the end of the night -- around midnight -- Jake and his friend M.* departed by Uber while Andrea, Imara, and I walked to the King Street Metro.

Two knights at Medieval Madness, Alexandria, Va., 9:12PM September 26, 2014.


*M. is not only from New Jersey but was born in the same hospital as me in Neptune -- although, like, 16 years later. (Back when I was born there, it was commonly called Fitkin Hospital. The "University" part got appended at some point in the past 15 years.) Of note, M. looked not a little like Rhianna.

Of note, I need to tell her that there is actually some doubt as to whether or not the name "Jersey" itself derives from Caesarea, as in "Island of Caesar."

Another picture from the Medieval Madness dinner show, Alexandria, Va., 8:52PM September 26, 2014. This was the third of Nate's pictures.


Andrea told me (I actually don't recall) that I jumped onto the first Blue Line train to arrive while Andrea and Imara debated whether to take the Blue or Yellow Line (the latter would be shorter for them to get to the Green Line as they live in Michigan Park).

I got on the train and must have promptly fell asleep. I eventually woke up 22 stations -- and easily 50 minutes -- later as the train was pulling into Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Addison Road - Seat Pleasant station out in the suburban wilds of Prince Jawjuhz County. Thus, I had transited the entire Washington, D.C., area. It was quite disorienting.

THANKFULLY, it was still early enough that I was able to get a train back into D.C. I took the next Blue or Silver Line (I don't recall which it was) all the way to Mac-Person, I mean, McPherson Square and then gave up and just cabbed the rest of the way home.

Apparently, nobody bothered me that whole time: I was whole and complete and unharmed, and I had my money, wallet, jacket, and shoes (don't ask).

A random picture of the Addison Road - Seat Pleasant station.


As for this Saturday, I managed to get to the gym this afternoon and have a complete, 3-part, 3-hour work out including jogging, weightlifting, and swimming.

OK, that's all for now. I intend to take a bike ride tomorrow, so I might not update the blog until Monday night.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Late September in the D.C. Sunshine and Sometimes Sunflowers Down Argentine Way ...

A sunflower -- with a large bee on it -- growing along the sidewalk in the 1700 block (1711 to be exact) of Q Street NW, Washington, D.C., 4:19PM September 26, 2014.

Alas, bee populations remain in serious jeopardy worldwide due to agricultural pesticides and perhaps other environmental stresses being exacerbated by global climate change.


This is a quick Friday early evening update as I need to get to Old Town Alexandria to go to tonight's Medieval Madness dinner theatre show with Andrea & Co.

My day was upended at both ends: On the morning side because I was hung over from last night after going out with another office colleague who just got married about a month ago and on the evening side because I needed to bring my computer home (not to mention do some grocery shopping) before I headed out tonight.

I also filled a prescription from last year that is about to expire (tomorrow)for another prescription of Sumatriptan Succinate (Imitrex) for my intermittent migraine headaches (aural and non-aural ones). As it is, per perscription you only get 4 tablets, which is kind of stupid and probably some combo insurance industry / Big Pharma racket.

Above: My sumatriptan prescription. Yes, I blocked out three of the Rx numbers.

Fair late afternoon blue sky above 1819 Q Street NW, Washington, D.C., 4:15PM September 26, 2014.


The bottom line is that I did not get in a full day of work. I'll try to make up the time this week. I have a BA case to finish for a county in Colorado, not to mention some IA-HEV glossary work I can do.

I need to go to the gym tomorrow. I don't want to get fat / pudgy/ flabby again.

The weather is very -- too -- sunny today and warmish with temps. around 78F for a high.

The Argentine Embassy with the country's flag at the corner of Q Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 4:15PM September 26, 2014.

By the way, Argentina, I think you should NEVER, EVER pay those international banksters, hedge fund operators, shadowy billionaires, and other vicious corporate oligarchs that are behind the effort to cajole you into giving them billions of dollars that these vultures don't need or deserve.

Oh, and screwing the Washington Consensus Crowd is ALWAYS BY DEFINITION the CORRECT decision.

Sorry, Uncle Fred. I know how "unseemly" that must sound in your WaHoPo Editorial Board "stable."


Last night started out well enough: AB and I went to the Black Rooster (The Bottom Line was uncharacteristically mobbed and all annoying D.C. transplant Millennials -- indeed, the Universe nearly collapsed on itself in a Social Media Kerr–Newman black hole). Another former coworker joined us and we ended up at Burning Laughing Man Tavern where a big table of noisy UCLA fans were watching -- and shrieking over -- some college football game between their team and Arizona whatever.

My mistake was to go to Old Ebbitt by myself, where I had a perfectly shitty time before taking a cab home.

OK, that's all for now.

Oh, yes, today at work, one of the IT guys helpfully remotely tried to uninstall the firewall that is blocking my access to all streaming video content including YouTube, and we thought we had done it, but alas, to no avail. I don't even have the option to uninstall this particular and excessively restrictive Barracuda update.

It's ugly.

(As for that update, there seems to be some confusion between two parts of IT about how it came about and other details.)

So for the time being, so Jukebox Saturday Night entries or any YouTube embedding.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Midweek Update; The Fizzled Rainfall Event; and More on That Annoying Work Computer Change (Updated with Overnight Rain Totals)

**Updated 7:47AM 9/25/2014: See below.**

City park benches on a gloomy, wet, lovely summer evening.

I've posted this picture a few times over the 6-1/2 years I've kept this blog but recently I found information (on Flickr, I think but I can't find the link now) suggesting that it was taken in Union Square Park in New York City on a rainy evening in July 2004.


Home now.

I had a good gym workout tonight -- and I even got a used "new" pair of goggles from amid the dozen or so turned into a makeshift lost-and-found cabinet next to the pool (and they are better than the ones I had). That part was also good.

The Wakefield (AKQ) NWS radar in standard version base mode reflectivity, 1:40PM EDT September 24, 2014. This shows the big slug of precipitation slowly rolling north and northwestward.


On the negative side, the forecasted rain from the coastal cut-off low is turning out to be mostly a bust (at least so far). It took forever for the rain to roll into the mid-Atlantic and then it just seemed to bypass the D.C. and Baltimore areas and is now mostly west of here in the Virginia and Maryland piedmont, not to mention (of course) over New Jersey.

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard version base mode reflectivity, 4:30PM EDT September 24, 2014. This shows the precipitation just on the edge of the immediate Baltimore / Washington metro areas.


There is some additional rainfall off the coast but it doesn't look promising. The flood watch really needs to go. Tentative, though the midnight hour, KDCA had a whopping 0.04" of rainfall while KIAD had 0.06" for the calendar day. KBWI (and, I think, KDMH) managed to have just a "TRACE." By comparison, Norfolk (KORF) had 1.54" of rain.

Updated / Corrected 7:47AM 9/25/2014: For yesterday, Sept. 24th, as noted, KDCA had 0.04" and KIAD had 0.06" but KBWI had 0.03" and KDMH 0.01".

Here is the LWX NWS radar in standard version base mode reflectivity, 11:02PM September 24, 2014. Note how all the precipitation has already moved -- without much actually falling -- to well west of the immediate D.C. area.


The 1 to 3 inch amounts aren't going to come close to verifying...

... this should please the Palka-cabra Creature and her desire for endless heat and drought.

There she is ...


In any event, it is a cloudy, cool night with a light breeze and scattered light rain showers.

UPDATED 7:47AM 9/25/2014:

During the wee hours of Thursday morning, there was additional rainfall with about 5 hours of light to moderate rainfall across the Metro D.C. / Baltimore area with amounts ranging from one-third to two-thirds of an inch.

The LWX NWS radar in enhanced base reflectivity mode a at 7:12AM Sept. 25, 2014.

Additional precipitation moved over the region from the coastal low in the wee hours and is now slowly pushing north / northeast.


From midnight through the 7AM hour, it looks as though KDCA had about 0.50"of rain (I can't tell the definitive amount because the 1, 3, and 6 hour obs are inconsistent) while KBWI had 0.56", KIAD had 0.34", and KDMH suddenly and again had the most at 0.66" rainfall.

It was also breezy with a northerly breeze in the 10 to 20MPH with occasional gusts and temps. in the 58F to 63F range.

So all in all, it was a rainy, breezy, cool night for September with some useful and beneficial rainfall.

The Fort Dix (DIX) NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity mode at 7:12AM Sept. 25, 2014. As is typical (and almost universal for a coastal storm), New Jersey got substantially more rainfall than the D.C. area.

End of Update.


I am home watching the second of the two-part episode of The Middle where the Heck's go camping. Interestingly, Ray Romano guest stars in it as a flashback. He was, of course, Patricia Heaton's husband in Everybody Loves Raymond. She plays the mother Frances "Frankie" Heck in The Middle.

As for Patricia Heaton, she is an interesting person in real life with a curious mix of political beliefs both religious / conservative (esp. on abortion issues) and liberal (fine with gay marriage).

Above: Patricia Heaton getting her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in May 2012.

I'm not sure why I like the show so much. It's not like I relate to it in my growing up whatsoever. I guess there are some real American archetypes there -- and it is done in a comical way. It's not as dark, tumultuous, and even hateful as Roseanne (at least before the show freaked out). FYI, My mother used to love watching Roseanne back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

As a follow up to my previous two entries, I am still very upset about the Barracuda update on my work computer (which I also use at home) that has eliminated all my YouTube / streaming video capabilities. Nor is there any resolution as in undoing the changes.

As a result, my "Jukebox Saturday Night" feature is torpedoed for the time being unless and until I can find a new computer. (I can see the YouTube clips in those entries but they do not work.) Having said that, I guess I should be happy that I still have access to Blogger and my blog and image uploading capabilities -- all the more so because I realize I could lose those capabilities.

Oh, yes, I can access the smooth jazz channel on sky.fm on my Windows Media Player but not the actual website (nor does it tell me the songs being played).


Of note, I inquired about buying at a discount a surplus computer from my work's IT department and was told that might be a possibility around Christmas.

Showery, gloomy (lovely) evening at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:07PM September 24, 2014. I was walking to the Anthony Bowen YMCA when I took this picture.


As for tomorrow, I am supposed to go with a coworker to what was originally an after-work dinner to celebrate her recent marriage but then morphed into a group happy hour but now is back to just the two of us. We're either going to Old Ebbitt Grill or to The Bottom Line (which tends not to be crowded).

As for Friday night, I am supposed go to with Andrea & Co. to the Medieval Madness interactive dinner show in Alexandria. Unfortunately, Nick can't make it.

Here was a group picture from my first and most fun visit to Medieval Madness back in March 2013.

My next planned gym visit is on Saturday, and I'll try to take a bike ride on Sunday (though I am quickly running out of late afternoon-to-evening light given the time I typically start those rides).

OK, that's all for now. I will try to post a bit of my planned other entry but at this point, it's doubtful.