Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Ringing Out 2015 Edition: A Final National Capital Y Swim, Lost Holiday Time, Dec. Record Warmth, & NYE Plans -OR- To the North Pole, Rockville, and Back With Just Hoodie & Gloves

1300 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 2:45PM, Dec. 31, 2015.


This will be my last entry of 2015.

I don't have much time to write now. Worse, I don't really have any suitable pictures to post. I may just post this entry with almost none.

I teleworked for part of the day today, but I also made it to the YMCA National Capital for its final day.

I took some pictures and I went into the big swimming pool, which I will quite miss. (The YMCA Anthony Bowen has a pool but it is much smaller with no real deep end.) The pool was having a last hurrah with nearly two dozen people in there -- about as crowded as I have ever seen it.

There was a lot of hugging and farewell conversations at this once-formidable downtown gym. I didn't really talk to anyone except that fellow Roosevelt who has run the shoeshine operation at least since I first joined that gym back in July 2001.

I asked him what he is going to do and he said, "I dunno," although subsequently he said he may try to go over to the Anthony Bowen Y. (He told me he first started at the National Capital Y about 17 years ago -- so in the late 1990s.)

All of that warrants a separate entry.

The big swimming pool at the YMCA National Capital on the very last day in the very last hour of its use before the facility is closed and torn down; Washington, D.C., 2:37PM December 31, 2015.


I tried to get a haircut at the Hair Cuttery on Connecticut Avenue but the wait was 35 minutes so I nixed that idea. I'll just have to be poofy-haired a bit longer and use the CHI pomade or gel that I have. I don't always like using it and sometimes just let my hair remain puffed out.

As for work and this holiday season that is now drawing to an end, I realized that I have used 10 hours of vacation leave time this pay period that I could have used as officially-sanctioned "holiday" by working an additional 6 hours (combined on Christmas Eve day and today, New Years Eve day). Furthermore, I'm practically borderline negative again because I use it almost at the rate I accrue it.

I have a bit more sick leave -- nearly a week -- so I guess I could get a nasty flu and spend a week at home.

For the upcoming MLK weekend trip to Buffalo -- itself the delayed Christmas one -- and assuming it still happens, I may dip briefly negative (you can go to -24 hours or 3 full work days on vacation leave). Some vacation.

We wrap up December 2015 as easily the warmest one on record in the Baltimore / Washington area (including at the three main airport climate stations), as well as over a broad swath of the eastern United States. I don't have the official final numbers yet but Sterling (LWX) has been keeping a tally in the area forecast discussions and through yesterday we have the following:

1) 51.2F (DEC 1-30 2015)
2) 46.1F (DEC 1-30 1889)
3) 46.0F (DEC 1-30 2001)

1) 49.0F (DEC 1-30 2015)
2) 46.4F (DEC 1-30 1889)
3) 46.0F (DEC 1-30 1931)

1) 48.6F (DEC 1-30 2015)
2) 43.3F (DEC 1-30 1984)
3) 43.0F (DEC 1-30 1982)

This means that Dec. 2015 so far is the warmest December by 5.1F at KDCA, 2.6F at KBWI, and 5.3F at KIAD. (The only reason KBWI isn't higher is because the BWI Airport period record since 1950 is vying against the downtown Baltimore Custom House period.) In absolute terms, the three airports are running +11.4F, +12.1F, and +12.0F through Dec. 30th.

Globally, 2015 was almost certainly the warmest year on record. (Sorry, George F. Will and Teabaggers everywhere.)

BTW, all the record warmth in the Eastern U.S. around Christmas time -- associated with a massive and destructive storm that really pummeled the middle of the United States with tornadoes, floods, and blizzards that caused scores of fatalities in multiple states -- actually made it into the high Arctic.

Indeed, it appears that the geographic North Pole eclipsed the freezing mark briefly the other day despite the fact that it is the Northern Hemisphere polar night. Here are two CWG entries about it (links embedded):

(This CWG entry as of now has just over 1,400 comments, so that means it is the usual internet garbage rather than the more genteel and staid style of the CWG.)

To be clear, there aren't weather stations at the North Pole or really anywhere near it but this info comes from a combination of satellite and model data that was subsequently confirmed by a weather buoy closest to the pole.

Graphic made by the Washington Post showing the temperature curve in Celsius on Dec. 29th and Dec. 30th by buoy #6400476 closest to the North Pole at the time.*

*These are buoys maintained by the International Arctic Buoy Programme.


OK, I guess that's all for now. I have to leave shortly to meet DD and his family for dinner at Thai Pavilion up in Rockville. Later tonight, I might meet up with Andrea either at a Jake and Matt-hosted party in Ballston or somewhere else in Arlington, or just come back to the 'hood and go to Larry's Lounge.

It's mild enough tonight (forecasted low about 35F) that I really need a sweater or heavy coat -- just what I usually wear. Maybe I'll bring my thermals in my backpack since my legs sometimes get cold.

Talk to you on the other side of the New Year.

Happy New Year 2016!


The Joan Crawford YouTube Mommie Dearest Fest -OR- "Not a cent ... Good luck, darling."

**This entry was posted December 31, 2015.**

"Not a cent ... Good luck, darling."

Faye Dunaway in her truly career-stunting role (not my original description but I like it) in "Mommie Dearest" as Joan Crawford rejecting Christina's request for money to help her out.

It need not be repeated but Christina truly hates her mother.

UPDATED 12:30PM 1/3/2016: Having watched part of Mommie Dearest on Friday night (downstairs at Floriana), I discovered that in the above YouTube clip, the sequence had been reversed: Joan Crawford says "Good luck, darling" and gets a cigarette light from her husband first, and it is only after Christina asks her for money that she says "Not a cent."

End of Update.


Sorry for the lack of updates.

Last night was a disaster and I'll have more to say about that and why the false friendship with you-know-who is over forever. Yes, I love Brady, but I can't deal with that anymore. It's sick and I don't deserve it that crap.

Joan Crawford home movie footage (this is part 1) circa 1941.

Anyway, today was a work day recovery that included a nice lunch with Andrea and a good three-part gym workout followed by a nice night at Floriana (Dito's Bar) and later at Larry's Lounge (where last night's disaster happened) with Dave J., who gave me such awesome advice.

This is apparently Joan Crawford herself singing "I See Your Face Before Me" set to home movies including those involving her adopted son Christopher as a newborn. (This is part 2.)


I had a wonderful chat with a lady named Sharon. I also watched the Aretha Franklin performance videos that were shown including her recent Kennedy Center performance.

Prior to that, though, in a rolling montage of local gayborhood scenes, a picture of a wildly tattooed Mattie Wade at kickball (or whatever) play rolled by, and I marveled even in that brief view at the fact that only a scruffy beard is needed to complete the bear happy hour transformation.

Funny that.

Joan Crawford at the 1968 Jerry Lewis telethon for muscular dystrophy reading (in somewhat overwrought fashion) a sad poem about a child who dies from the disorder. Toward the end, Lewis introduces her daughter, who works the phone banks.

Joan Crawford looks a touch crazy here. I should point out that her other adopted daughters -- the twin sisters -- claim to have had a totally different experience. But their interview is sort of weird. They probably weren't cut out of the will.


Re. my gym membership, that was actually the issue that started my day ... It was suddenly in question because it turned out --and I foolishly was unaware -- that my membership at the YMCA National Capital, set to close for later this day [Thursday], was an issue, but I resolved the matter after a flurry of emails and I'm now "officially" part of the YMCA Anthony Bowen after 2+ years of actually going there.

Joan Crawford in a fawning interview from 1969. The volume is extremely low but it is close-captioned.


I'm going to try to go to the National Capital tomorrow for one last time (and I'm apparently not the only one with that idea), at least to go into the swimming pool.

Tomorrow (or rather, today) is New Year's Eve, and my updates might be thin. I am working from home and then supposed to have dinner with DD and his family at Thai Pavilion in Rockville Town Square at 530PM and then, perhaps, meet Jake, Andrea, Nick, et al., in Arlington -- otherwise, I'll just go back to LL.

Amazing Bill Boggs interview in either late 1978 or 1979 with Christina Crawford after the book appeared.

This includes a whole section about the wire coat hangers. Little did Christina know what a gay cultural reference that weird, oblique reference to abortion would become. More generally, Bill Boggs asks her some excellent questions that Christina addresses head on. In particular, the last 3 minutes of the interview are the best -- the part about the will.

To be clear, this was at the dawn of the Phil Donahue / OPRAH! / Ricki Lake / Jerry Springer culture ...


And how could I not end with this ...

"Mommie Dearest" mash-up set to (eventually) "Mamma Mia" by ABBA.

"I've been cheated by you since I don't know when / So I made up my mind, it must come to an end / Look at me now, will I ever learn? / I don't know how but I suddenly lose control / There's a fire within my soul / Just one look and I can hear a bell ring / One more look and I forget everything, w-o-o-o-oh ..."

"Mamma mia, even if I say / 'Bye bye, leave me now or never,' / Mamma mia, it's a game we play / 'Bye bye' doesn't mean forever..."


Joan Crawford with her adopted newborn son Christopher on June 19, 1941.

My dad was just 5 months old at this point -- but 3,000 miles away in Long Branch, N.J. My mom would not be born for another 7-1/2 years.


There is a lot more I want to post but I'm ending this entry right now as I need to get to bed. I'll try to update the blog tomorrow before I head out. Let's see where tonight's dream-world takes me ...

Oh, yes, if any of these YouTube videos are removed in the future (which they will be), then this entry would (will) make no sense.


Updated 4:34AM 12/31/2015: I have to share this that I just found: Faye Dunaway's Feb. 27, 1994 voice mail rant involving her Andrew Lloyd Webber "Sunset Boulevard" disaster:

I found it in this Huffington Post article from April 2, 2015 announcing that Ms. Dunaway might finally discuss in a book the whole Mommie Dearest movie episode and (perhaps) aftermath. (She has steadfastly refused to talk about these topics in any detail ever since.) Of note, Terry O'Neill (mentioned at the beginning as the "big, big liar") is her ex-husband.

End of Update and of Entry.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

On Anniversary Time and Life's Uncertain Tide Plus Brief Daily & (Yes) Meteorological Update

An absolutely wonderful picture of my mom and stepfather (Ray) taken earlier this Monday afternoon at the Rusty Scupper in Baltimore at the Inner Harbor where they went to celebrate their 41st anniversary.

I think this might be one of the best pictures they've ever taken together.

Congratulations, mom and Ray! That is a wonderful achievement.


The Inner Harbor and nearby Baltimore skyline as seen from the Rusty Scupper, 12:20PM December 28, 2015.


Yes, it was on December 28, 1974 that they got married -- by some Army chaplain at the old Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. I had just turned 5 years old and only vaguely remember that. I do know I was not at the wedding.

It was the event that completely redirected the course of all our lives, and it is, why we ended up in Maryland. It is also why I, through a convoluted process stretching over 40 years, ended up living at the present time in Washington, D.C.

Well, if I hadn't ended up here, it would have been somewhere else under who-knows-what circumstances. You can't prove the counterfactual... 

Another view of the Inner Harbor and nearby Baltimore skyline as seen from the Rusty Scupper, 12:20PM December 28, 2015.

Despite being a bad-ass city suffering all kinds of urban pathologies, Baltimore has a distinctly post-modern skyline (not my own notion), as I discussed in this Herculean entry back in Oct. 2012 after Chester and I tried to locate the city's geographic corner and inflection points.


My parents weren't married very long back in New Jersey, and there is no question but whose entire fault that was -- my dad's -- but let's not get into that now. However, I was thinking that at this rate with him down in Flagler Beach, Florida and given his living situation, I might not see him again. He will be 75 next month.

Here is a picture of my parents together at The Branches in West Long Branch, N.J., on January 27, 2013 on the occasion of my late great Aunt Babe's 100th birthday party. I was able to get my mom to go to this event on the paternal side of the family.

I'm not sure I'll get a picture of them together again.


Of note, my dad sent me a Christmas card with a very nice letter. He does that when he realizes -- as he now has with me -- that he has lost control of a situation, or rather, control of someone, in my case, because I refuse to put myself in harm's way (for his bizarre amusement) by participating in the Southern trailer park-and-karaoke-bar freak show chaos that is his life of choosing.

Oh, grandma (and you, too, grandpa) ...

What the hell happened to our family??



As a brief update ...

I was onsite at DOE today (Monday) rather than in my usual office -- and I actually made it almost perfectly on time by 9AM. I have to go there again tomorrow, so I can't post too long of an entry. On Wednesday, I'm back in my regular office.

I'm filling in for a colleague who is away on Christmas vacation.

The DOE cafeteria, Washington, D.C., taken at 1:11PM December 28, 2015.

These curtains are forming a dark backdrop to the Christmas tree in the cafeteria. It is still up but, I assume, soon to be removed until next year.


I made it to the gym tonight. It was an OK workout although I skipped the pool. I'm thinking of going to the National Capital YMCA on Wednesday night for one last and final time. The old dinosaur of a facility closes for good on New Years Eve (that would be Thursday) and is to be demolished and replaced with some office or mixed-use building.

As it is, the Washington Catholic Archdiocese owns half that block of Rhode Island Avenue between Connecticut Ave. and 17th Street NW.

I am a bit worried that once the New Year starts, the YMCA Anthony Bowen is going to be crazy mobbed as a result of the influx of potentially hundreds of former National Capital members -- in addition to the usual post-holiday January surge in attendance.

For tomorrow night, I'm just probably stop at Trade and/or No. 9 en route home.


Yet Another Weather Update (I Can't Help It) ...

Portion of the eastern U.S. NWS high-resolution surface weather map at 0300Z December 29, 2015.

This map reveals a leeside Appalachian coastal plain cold air damming situation as powerful and destructive storm system lifts up toward the Great Lakes, weakening as the closed low opens up and the surface low occludes.


It's a rainy, drizzly, chilly night across the Baltimore/Washington area including right here in D.C. It feels cold with the rain and the northeasterly wind, at least in part, because of the contrast to all the record and near-record warmth of the past week but, in fact, the current air temp (42F with 41F dew point at the 11PM at KDCA) is, at most, just average for this time of year (in particular, a daytime average).

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard base reflectivity mode looped from 1038PM to 1120PM December 28, 2015.


Rainfall totals have been light so far area-wide -- mostly under 0.1" -- but anything that falls will add to the yearly surplus (except at KIAD, where the 2.5 inch year-to-date deficit is probably too much to overcome in the next three days). I'll have end-of-year summaries for the three airports and KDMH.

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard composite mode looped from 1028PM to 1114PM December 28, 2015.


However, I'm truly going to keep this entry short tonight. There were a few other items I wanted to post -- links to political-themed pieces that I liked -- but I'll refrain for now and perhaps post them in the next entry.

OK, that's all for now.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Recap of the Rest of My Extended Christmas Holiday Weekend and Another Weather Update

Cherry blossoms practically in full bloom in Fairfax, Va., in a picture taken by CWG photographer Kevin Ambrose on Dec. 26, 2015 and posted in this CWG entry.

True, some of these cherry blossoms are "fall blooming," but it's ridiculous this year.


This entry recaps my past two days. I am a bit thin on pictures but I'll do my best. It is quarter to 11PM as I start this entry after the extended Christmas holiday weekend that was, on balance, a good one for me although it involved too much drinking.

I have to be at work early tomorrow because I actually have to be onsite -- rather than in my usual office -- by 915AM or so. I have to staff a desk for two days in a row at the agency. Thus, I need to be in bed by midnight or thereabouts.

Both yesterday and today ended up good days, although my early evening-to-nighttime walk from Bethesda back into D.C. wasn't the best idea I had (more on that below).

The Christmas decorations in the yard of the rectory of the Swedenborgian Church, The Church of the Holy City on 16th St NW, Washington, D.C., 8:39PM Dec. 26, 2015.

This is the church where Darrold Hunt's wake was held.


Last night (that would be Saturday night), after I posted my previous two entries (here and here), I met Brian at Logan Tavern for dinner. Brian was in D.C. this weekend as part of a trip to see his family in Maryland. He came down from New York City where he lives in Midtown Manhattan with his husband of many years.

(Brian and I went to high school together in Glen Burnie back in the mid-to-late 1980s.)

After dinner, we tried to go to Trade but didn't have much luck so instead we walked to Floriana where we had a couple drinks at Dito's Bar. En route, we met LP, who ended up joining us for the night.

Larry's Lounge, Washington, D.C., 12:33AM Dec. 27, 2015.


After one of those invigorating conversations with Dito, I departed with Brian and LP and we headed to Larry's Lounge. It was a festive night there with the whole regular crew in place including my friend Dave J., who had a good conversation with Brian.

The night could have -- and, indeed, probably should have -- ended right there. However, Brian wanted to do something 1990s D.C. Old School, so we went to Ziegfield's / Secrets, the combo drag show and male dancer go-go bar in Southwest D.C.

A picture from March 2006 shortly before the Nationals Park baseball stadium was constructed showing the business establishments that graced the Unit Block of O Street SE and the 1300 block of Half Street SE, Washington, D.C.

This old entry from August 2008 discusses it a bit more. (There is a picture of me as well -- I was so frickin' fat at 40+ pounds heavier.)


To be clear, this "Z/S" is not the original one that occupied the legendary "Unit Block of O Street SE" -- now on the very footprint of the Nationals Park Baseball Stadium -- but rather the replacement one that exists on the other side of South Capitol Street in the not-as-blown-out-as-it-once-was-but-still-kinda-badass section of Navy Yard in the 1800 block of Half Street SW.

("Unit" block in D.C. address system parlance are numbers 1 - 99; there is a Half Street SE and a Half Street SW between South Capitol Street and 1st Streets SE and SW, respectively.)

Blurry image taken during a high speed drive on the subterranean I-395 tunnel under the National Mall, Washington, D.C., 1:49AM December 27, 2015.

During Obama's first inaugural, thousands of people were trapped in this tunnel -- the "Purple Tunnel of Doom" -- for hours thanks to the massive security theatre performance put on by the military-industrial-surveillance state apparatus, which for its part was DELIGHTED with that outcome. Fred Hiatt's Washington Consensus was purring like a kitten it was so "bipartisan" pleased.


We took an Uber there -- Brian paid -- and although the place was not really crowded, I got to see these places (Ziegfield's is downstairs and Secrets is upstairs) for the first time ever in its "new" location.

Brian and I used to go to the original Z/S, not to mention La Cage Aux Follies and Wet (located a bit of a distance away) back in the 1990s day ... Unless you were there, it's kind of hard to describe the scintillating illicitness of it all -- and seeing the U.S. Capitol dome about a mile away all gleaming illuminated at night.

Anyway, a boozy, hazy, stage fogged time later upstairs in the Secrets go-go dancer boys part, we took an Uber back to Dupont and parted ways (actually, LP dropped me off). (Of note, I cannot do Uber with my dumb flip-open phone.)

Late night on the dance floor at Ziegfield's, Washington, D.C., 2:38AM December 27, 2015.

It's a blurry picture but there is also nothing incriminating, so I think I'm OK in posting it.


For today (Sunday), I had few plans. I actually nixed plans with Quill since I didn't think I was going to be able to get up and function. However, Brian texted me and cajoled me out of bed. We met around 130PM after the checked out of his hotel, and we drove all the way up to White Flint to see the destroyed ruins of the mall there (not sure what is going to replace it).

Then we went back down to Bethesda where we had an awesomely wonderful time at Mon Ami Gabi, where I went with Quill about two months ago. Lunch was delicious, and we had an excellent waiter, although I again spent more than I intended.

We parted around 430PM, although not before listening -- with a group of others -- to this violinist fellow named Cal Morris (I took a card he had out) who had been playing there both Saturday (Brian told me) and today. He was playing a variety of pop songs on the violin, and I particularly enjoyed his rendition of Katy Perry's Firework.

Cal Morris playing the violin outside Barnes & Noble, Bethesda, Md., 4:15PM December 27, 2015.


I opted to walk back to D.C. via the Capital Crescent Trail, which in the end was kind of a dumb idea. I made it -- in the dark at that point -- to the DC/Maryland line in the area around Sibley Hospital, exiting the trail by Newark and Potomac Streets, and walking along MacArthur Blvd and Reservoir Rd into Georgetown.

The Capital Crescent Trail somewhere south of River Rd., Bethesda, Md., 4:53PM December 27, 2015.

Yes, this is kind of a forlorn and depressing picture. It was.


I walked about 7 miles but could not make it anymore and got a cab at Wisconsin Ave. and Q Street and took it most of the rest of the way to Larry's Lounge, where I met up with Dave J., Gary, and Fred before heading home. Fred, who is also my neighbor in the next building, walked with me back home.

So that was my weekend. Tomorrow night is a planned gym night. New Years Eve is later this upcoming week -- the end of 2015 and the start of 2016.

New Jersey Turnpike southbound near Exit 11 with a sign for "The Amboys" and "Shore Points" in an undated photo.


Oh, yes, I wanted to mention that Brian texted me while en route back to New York City to tell me that he had just passed the sign for "The Amboys" on the New Jersey Turnpike. Interestingly, my friend DD -- with whom I am having dinner on New Years Eve in Rockville (at a Thai restaurant in Rockville Town Square) with his and his family -- texted me the very same thing on Christmas Day.

"The Amboys" refers to Perth Amboy and South Amboy. My mom is from South Amboy and my uncle still lives in the very same house on Henry Street, but it is highly unlikely I will ever see that place again.

Weather-wise ...

NWS weather advisories for the United States as of 424UTC December 28, 2015 (11:24PM EST Dec. 27th, 2015).

This does not include the color-coded legend.


It is another ridiculously mild night with an earlier downpour having given way to drizzle and mist. Temps. are still 65F at the 10PM hour following a daily high of 70F at KDCA (not quite enough to break the daily record high of 72F).

But so far the daily low (51F) is enough to break the previous daily record high minimum (50F in 1881 -- a pre-National Airport record).

KBWI easily broke its previous daily record high of 65F by climbing to 68F (which it did around 4PM and then again at 8PM and 9PM, which is quite amazing).

KBWI actually dropped to 49F in the early hours (before a boundary moved back north again as a warm front), so it did not break the previous daily record max low of 52F.

KIAD reached 69F, significantly below its daily record high of 73F and its overnight low of 51F narrowly missed the previous daily record max low of 52F.

All of these numbers are through the 5PM preliminary update.

The 0Z 12/28/2015 GFS showing 6-hr precipitation, mean sea level pressure (MSLP), and 1000-500mb thicknesses over the United States valid at 6Z 12/28/2015.

This is a model run but it is so close to the current time that it is effectively a surface analysis. Indeed, by the time I post this entry (around 12:45AM), it will almost be 6Z. This is easier to show than the NWS high-resolution map or the cartoon low-resolution map.


This should be the last day of record warmth for the time being as a frontal boundary sags back south again as a powerful storm system -- involving a deep closed low over Texas that is generating all kinds of weather from tornadoes to flash flooding to howling blizzards in the Southern Great Plains -- lifts north-northeastward up the Mississippi River Valley toward the Great Lakes, opening up and dragging a lot of moisture across the Eastern Seaboard.

NWS composite radar mosaic for the Southern Great Plains sector looped from 0118 - 0228UTC Dec. 28, 2015.


Tomorrow (Monday) is forecasted to be much cooler with highs only around 45F during the day (indeed, the high temp is likely to occur around midnight across the region) with rain showers and a chilly northerly wind. While 45F is actually about normal for this time of year (indeed, even a degree or two above normal), it will feel MUCH colder after all the recent record warmth.

However, there won't be any frigid weather for the East Coast -- winter remains in total abeyance, and it is quite likely that the three regional airport climate stations here (not to mention a number of other places in the Eastern U.S.) will have the warmest December on record.

NWS composite radar mosaic for the Southern Mississippi River valley sector looped from 0128UTC to 0238UTC December 28, 2015.


Through Dec. 26th, the month is running +10.7F above normal at KDCA at 50.9F; KBWI is +11.4F at 48.7F; and KIAD is +11.2F at 48.3F. Of note, Buffalo (KBUF) is running +12.6F above normal at 43.4F and has had 0.1" snow for the month.

OK, that's all for now. I may try to update the blog tomorrow (Monday night) but it might not be until Tuesday.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Jukebox Saturday Night for Dec. 26th, 2015: The Day After Christmas Yuletide Standards Edition

OK, I know it's the day after Christmas -- and a near-record warm one at that -- but I think we can still dedicate at least part of this Jukebox Saturday Night entry to a few of the yuletide standards ...

"Do You Hear What I Hear?" as performed by Bing Crosby in a released single (1963)

I love this song as Crosby crooned it in that wonderful baritone and with the uplifting choral backup.

"Said the night wind to the little lamb,
Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite,
With a tail as big as a kite ... "


"Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" by Burl Ives on album of same name (1965)

This video version of it is a nice sing-a-long one.


"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" by Andy Williams from The Andy Williams Christmas Album (1963)

This particular version features an original audio track dubbed over a live performance on some unspecified program at some unspecified time. It (mostly) works.

Chester and I have our own version of this song that we somehow developed involving extensive use of the word "hosebag" and it goes something like:

It's the hosebaggiest time of the year / They'll be hosings and baggings and baggings and hosings out in the snow! They'll be tales of the glories of giant hosebaggings from long, long ago!

Something like that.


"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee from her album Merry Christmas from Brenda Lee (1958)

This is a wonderful song. In its way, it's a mix of American music styles at their best. Of note, Ms. Lee, now 71, was only 13 when she recorded this song.


And, of course ...

"All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey from her album Merry Christmas (1994)

'Nuff said.


Saturday Evening Post for Dec. 26th, 2015: The Warm and Wet Christmas Recap Edition (Plus Weather Update)

**This entry was posted December 26, 2015.**

The Francis Scott Key Bridge and Potomac River in the fog on Christmas Day, December 25, 2015.

I'm unsure of the time but it was (obviously) nighttime. This picture appears in this CWG entry and was taken by someone identified as Andrew Pasko-Reader. Of note, this individual has some amazing photos on his Flickr page.


This is just a brief Saturday night update as I'm (as usual, it seems) in a hurry to meet someone. I've already composed my jukebox Saturday night entry -- and I've opted to do a Christmas-themed one even though it is the day after Christmas.

Kristof playing an old piano at John's place, Arlington, Va., 7:35PM December 25, 2015.

I always forget that Kristof can play the piano and keyboard quite well.


I managed to make it to the gym today, and I have to say it was a difficult hour-long jog (actually, 65 minutes with the cool down) totaling 6.64 miles. Given the liquor excesses of the past several days, I was in crummy shape and my pulse was worryingly racing by the end but I got through it and then later on -- after the weightlifting and core workout -- I felt much better.

It's such a weird Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde way to live of too much drinking and then strenuous gym visits (Fred's term, not mine, but I like it).

The Christmas party last night at John's place, Arlington, Va., 8:20PM December 25, 2015.


Yesterday, I went to John L's condo in Arlington with Gary, where we met Kristof, Dilshan, and a few other folks including John and Anna. We had quite a nice time. The bulk of the pictures in this entry were taken there by my crummy flip-open cell phone camera.

Yours truly holding up a copy of Slavoj Žižek's book "Living in the End Times," Arlington, Va., 9:02PM December 25, 2015.


At one point, it was literally monsoon-ing with rain outside in the near record Christmas warmth courtesy a wet tropical air mass. We had to open the window to allow a breeze in because it was so stuffy -- what with the building's a/c already turned off. (Thankfully, I have a window a/c in my apartment.)

(Official rainfall totals yesterday ranged from 1.08" at KBWI to 0.67" at KIAD to 0.30" at KDCA while KDMH received 1.96".)

Later, I went to Larry's Lounge, where I met Brian and Greg -- in town from New York City this weekend. Actually, I am supposed to meet Brian for dinner at Logan Tavern at 830PM 845PM, so I need to cut this entry short.

This picture of a hungry waif of a child, one of his wide eye visible while the other is concealed under a mop of hair, and holding what looks like a little cup of soup is on a wall in John's place. A family member painted it. I found it captivating and disturbing.


The weather today has been overcast and drizzly with temps in the 50s Fahrenheit. It's 52F with drizzle and mist at the 7PM hour at KDCA. While this 52F is still 8F above the normal daily high of 44F, it feels almost chilly after all the record and near record warmth. (To be clear, it still touched 60F earlier today at KDCA.)

A frontal boundary extending to the southwest back to a powerful storm over the Southern Great Plains (see below) has sagged south of the region, allowing maritime polar (mP) air to engulf the East Coast coastal plain and piedmont.

The boundary is forecasted to move back north as a warm front and near-record to record warmth -- around 70F -- is again forecasted for tomorrow for both the high temps. and overnight lows.

Here are tomorrow's temp records -- record highs and record high minimums (lows), respectively:

KDCA: 72F (1971) / 50F (1881)
KBWI: 65F (1949) / 52F (1949)
KIAD: 73F (1971) / 52F (1971)

Of note, there were no record daily highs on Christmas Day at the three airports owing to the clouds and rain, but there were record daily high lows. Christmas Eve featured record highs at all three airports -- 71F -- and record overnight high lows including in two cases (KIAD and KDCA) all-time record December high lows of 63F and 60F, respectively.

The 18Z 12/26/2015 GFS showing 6-hr precipitation, mean sea level pressure (MSLP), and 1000-500mb thicknesses over the United States valid at 0Z 12/27/2015.


One other weather story of note, a deep closed low that has "dug" all the way south to Old Mexico and is bringing all kinds of stormy weather to the Southern Great Plains along a powerful pressure and thermal gradient. The following are the current weather advisories in effect as of 7:35PM CST in the Norman, Oklahoma NWS (OUN) county warning area (CWA):

That's quite a colorful potpourri. It rivals the colors I use in these blog entries.


OK, that's all for now. Jukebox Saturday night entry to follow momentarily.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Some Lost Notes on Gloomy, Very Warm, & Wet Christmas in Washington, D.C., 2015 (with Pics from Annapolis on Christmas Eve)

Home in a dusty, threadbare, old apartment somewhere in Washington, D.C., on a cloudy, misty, unusually warm Christmas Day. No TV (I got rid of cable in Nov. 2014 and have yet to figure out how to set up the digital antenna) but the window air conditioner is on. Not only that, but the actual a/c chiller is on rather than just the blower.

The fog and the trees at Lake Newport Soccer Field in Reston, Va., December 23, 2015.

This picture was taken by Leanne Wiberg and reposted in this CWG entry.


I am alone right now except I'm having text exchanges with folks including my mom. I have two offers later -- either to go to Quill's parents' house in Silver Spring or with Gary to John L's place out in Arlington somewhere. Ordinarily, I would do the former but I just don't know -- I can only do one of the two owing to (lack of) transportation.

Group dinner picture at the Chart House, Annapolis, Md., 7:24PM December 24, 2015.

Left to right: Ray, Gary, myself, and my mom.


I'm not in that great of a mood because, honestly, I skipped the gym on Wednesday (I'll go tomorrow) and instead I've just been drinking too much each night. It never turns out enjoyable. Last night, following dinner yesterday evening at the Chart House in Annapolis with my mom, Gary, and Ray, I returned to D.C. with Gary and we went to Stoney's (the only place open on P Street) and then to Larry's Lounge (always a mistake).

This is a side street off Cathedral Street in Annapolis, Md., 3:39PM December 24, 2015.

I didn't get the name of the side street. It was 70F at that point on Christmas eve.


The night ended up with me walking home alone in the semi-depopulated city (D.C. really empties out in the days leading up to Christmas and then quickly fills back up by New Years).

The gym is very important to me because it is the only thing keeping me from being a doughy, aging, ashen leprechaun. Instead, it keeps me just an aging, ashen leprechaun. See the difference? My picture should be on a box of Lucky Charms cereal.

The Maryland State House building -- a.k.a., the state capitol building -- in Annapolis, Md., 3:52PM Dec. 24, 2015.


Earlier, Gary and I went to Annapolis and stopped at O'Brien's for -- what else? --  two drinks before heading over to the Chart House to meet my mom and Ray. I was happy that Ray could make it. He is not doing well.

Shops along State Circle, Annapolis, Md., 3:52PM December 24, 2015.


The Chart House was mobbed but we had a seat right by one of the windows looking out onto the harbor. A shallow fog was forming over the water and kept wafting by, occasionally creating wonderful ghostly silhouettes of passing sailing boats back-dropped by the lights on the Naval Academy side.

The bar in O'Briens, Annapolis, Md., 3:58PM December 24, 2015.

The air conditioning was actually on in the restaurant.


Of note, while Gary and I were in O'Brien's -- less than an hour -- the temp. dropped from 71F to 56F as the wind shifted to the east off the water. It was noticeable when we left. This was a very localized effect and it was captured in the Naval Academy's weather observations:

Weather observations for the U.S. Naval Academy station (KNAK), Annapolis Md., for part of Christmas Eve, 2015.

I've highlighted the significant temp drop in one hour -- from 71F to 56F -- as the winds shifted to the east.


As for the warm weather, it's 69F at National Airport at the 1PM hour with a 68F dew point -- kind of crazy this exceptionally warm Christmas season. Another batch of moderate rainfall is approaching with a weather system.

The NWS composite radar loop for the Great Lakes sector, 1708UTC to 1818 UTC December 25, 2015.


Indeed, Sterling (LWX) just issued a flash flood watch for the Baltimore/Washington region and multiple such flood watches and warnings extend back across a wide swath of the southeastern and south central U.S.

NWS advisories for the United States as of 1843UTC December 25, 2015.

I did not include the color-coded legend in this image.


All three regional airport climate stations hit daily records yesterday:


Overnight lows on the 24th were also daily record high minimums (lows):


KIAD obliterated its previous daily record high minimum -- 42F set in 1979 and 2014 -- by 21F.

Furthermore, both the KDCA and KIAD lows set all-time record high minimums for December -- KIAD's previous one was 62F while KDCA's was 59F set on Dec. 22, 2013 and Dec. 5, 1973, respectively.

For today, all three airports are still a touch below their daily record highs of 72F, 72F, and 71F, respectively. KDCA is at 69F, KBWI is at 71F, and KIAD is at 70F. It might be a bit of a challenge to reach these given the overcast and developing rain.

Regardless, the daily record high minimums of 49F, 48F, and 50F, respectively, should easily be eclipsed by 5F to 10F.

The Capital Weather Gang has had a number of entries discussing this: here, here, here, and here. I also wrote about in my previous entry.

OK, that's all for now.