Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Morning, Last Day of July - An Update (With Some Pics and Stats from Yesterday's Thunderstorms) -OR- On the Cusp of August

The geyser-like fountains at Benjamin Banneker Park Park back-dropped by the clouds from an approaching line of afternoon thunderstorms, SW Washington, D.C., 1:46PM July 30, 2015.

I exited my office and walked over to this strange little "park" at the end of L'Enfant Promenade to watch the approaching storm. A little bird -- a sparrow, perhaps -- watched with me less than 10 feet away the whole time.


This is just a quick Friday morning update to replace the lead entry on the blog. While my previous entry is something that I needed to post, I don't it to be my lead one.

Not only is today Friday but it's the last day of July and the "Dog Days" of August are about to arrive.

Turbulent (even scary)-looking sky above some of the buildings of L'Enfant Plaza as thunderstorms approached, Washington, D.C., 1:53PM July 30, 2015.

Sometimes t-storms take a long time actually to arrive. Not these.


There was a line of drenching thunderstorms that moved across the Baltimore/Washington region yesterday between 1 and 4 PM that dropped respectable amounts of rain -- adding to KDCA's monthly surplus but not enough (despite over 1" falling) to bring KBWI into surplus.

Some radar images ...

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced composite mode, 1:16PM July 30, 2015.

When I saw this, I called my apt building manager and asked her if she could kindly close my bathroom window, which I had left open. She did. I had to explain that I had a large pile of toilet paper next to the window that would have been ruined.


The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced composite mode, 2:04PM July 30, 2015.

This was as the t-storms were over D.C. and environs. There was briefly a severe thunderstorm warning in effect.


The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced base reflectivity mode, 2:08OM July 30, 2015.

This radar mode always looks less dramatic than composite mode since the latter "shows" activity inside the cloud as well.


Of course, the June surpluses were so big that we are still significantly above normal for the month at those two spots as well as KIAD. (KDMH is above normal versus its as-yet-incomplete historical base period that still isn't 30 years.)

The amounts recorded yesterday were as follows:

KDCA: 0.53"
This pushed the monthly total to just over 5" (5.01" to be exact).

KBWI: 1.28"
The monthly total is 3.49" and it not likely to change today (it's just sunny with lower humidity and really no chance of precipitation today and through the next 4 to 5 days). 

The KBWI total is actually 0.58" below the monthly July average. Of course, June 2015 was a record wet June there with a whopping 13.09".

KIAD: 1.15" (daily record)
The monthly total is 4.89", so the month will end at least 1.2" above normal.

KDMH: 0.38"
It is only at 2.44" or over 2" below normal. It has a year-to-date surplus at +2.58" at 26.42". For comparison, nearby KBWI has a +9.35" surplus at 33.78"

The view from L'Enfant Promenade across a maze of roadways and office buildings as the t-storms approached, Washington, D.C., 1:51PM July 30, 2015.

These roadways of on-an-off ramps and the actual highway lanes make up the whole mess of I-395 (Southeast-Southwest Freeway) as it passes through SW Washington, D.C., severing most of the small Southwest quadrant from the rest of the District.


I also want to post at least one more entry, possible two, not including the jukebox Saturday night entry, which I can now post (with YouTube embedded vidoes) thanks to the small, old computer that Andrea gave me last year but that I never actually tried to use until the other night. (It's operating system is old and its Internet Explorer is way out-of-date, but I was able to download the latest Chrome and that seems to work just fine except for a screen image snipping tool. Oh, well.)

The deluge as the t-storms passed through through, as seen from outside the Aerospace Building off L'Enfant Promenade, Washington, D.C., 1:58PM July 30, 2015.

Tourists were running and under plastic rain slickers. Oh, yes, that is the Washington Monument nearby.


Actually, that topic of a "new" small, old computer -- having it, "firing it up," and getting it to connect to the internets -- was a whole entry that I never actually posted for lack of pictures. It negates, at least for now, the need to get a new computer. 

For today (and possibly into the weekend), I have to edit a 39-page document for the client. It's mostly a light copy edit.

The view this morning from my apartment looking across my small part of Washington, D.C., 9:22AM July 31, 2015.


I don't have any particular weekend plans except the usual -- gym Sat. afternoon, go out to my usual places tonight and tomorrow night, and a Sunday bike ride from the suburbs (perhaps this time from the Virginia side) back into D.C. I had a good gym workout last night (and went three times this past week). This included both the 6+ mile jog and weightlifting plus a brief swim at the end.

The fountains at Benjamin Banneker Park, SW Washington, D.C, 1:46PM July 30, 2015.

The storm was approaching from the other direction, so looking south created this interesting play of light and dark on the fountain's jet of waters and trees. The crane towers in the background are part of the ginormous redevelopment of the Southwest D.C. Waterfront.


So August begins tomorrow. My annual summer trip with Gary to the Jersey shore is just a touch over 4 weeks away now. LP is not coming and it looks, unfortunately, like Miss Wendy isn't really.

OK, that's all for now. I might not post another blog entry until tomorrow.


Knife Attack on Jerusalem Gay Pride Event: An Overview and Thoughts -OR- Another Day, Another Attack by Another Religio-Insane Nut-Job Hopped Up On the Invisible Cloud Being

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

A young man comforts a young lady at the Jerusalem Gay Pride event following the knife attack on six people, Jerusalem, Israel, July 30, 2015.


I want to post this item in a separate, stand-alone entry rather than corrupt my planned main entry with it. I am interspersing it with pictures from the two re-posted articles. The captions are my own.

From Reuters via the Huffington Post and reposted below with photos:

6 People Stabbed At Jerusalem Gay Pride March

It was the worst attack in years on the event in Jerusalem.

By Allyn Fisher-Ilan
Link here.

JERUSALEM, July 30 (Reuters) - An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man stabbed and wounded six participants, two of them seriously, in the annual Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem on Thursday, with police saying the suspect was jailed for a similar attack 10 years ago.

About 5,000 people celebrating the event were marching along an avenue when a man jumped into the crowd, apparently from a supermarket, and plunged a knife into some of the participants, witnesses said.

"We heard people screaming, everyone ran for cover, and there were bloodied people on the ground," Shai Aviyor, a witness interviewed on Israel's Channel 2, said.

It was the worst attack in years on the event in Jerusalem, a divided city where the religious population is more prominent than in other parts of Israel and highlighted the tension nationwide among disparate social groups.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it "a despicable hate crime," and President Reuven Rivlin warned that social intolerance could spell disaster for Israel.

Police apprehend multiple attempted murderer Yishai Schlissel following his knife attack at the Jerusalem Gay Pride parage, July 30, 2015.


Police said they arrested the suspected perpetrator, an ultra-Orthodox man. Spokeswoman Luba Samri said he was the same assailant jailed for the stabbing of three marchers at a similar Jerusalem event in 2005. Israeli media said the suspect had been released from prison several weeks ago.

The parade has long been a focus of tension between Israel's predominantly secular majority and the ultra-Orthodox Jewish minority, who object to public displays of homosexuality.

Photo montage of police apprehending religious nut-job attacker at the Jerusalem Gay Pride event, July 30, 2015.

This was sent out as a Twitter Tweet on the Israel News Feed.

Note: By calling him "Ultra-Orthodox," it has the implicit effect of attempting to justify his hate crime attempted murder of six people. Call him what he is: A sick religious fanatic. It doesn't matter what is the "brand" of fanaticism.


Many devout Jews, Muslims and Christians criticize homosexuality as an abomination of their beliefs. Gay marriages performed inside Israel are not recognized by the authorities.

Police and medics said the attacker wounded six people. Two were taken to hospital in serious condition, including a young woman, said a doctor at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital, where the victims were being treated.

Wounded woman, Jerusalem Gay Pride, July 30, 2015.


The march is held in the largely Jewish side of the divided city. Palestinians predominate in occupied East Jerusalem.

Oded Fried, the head of a leading gay rights group, said the attack would not deter the movement. A similar Gay Pride event on June 12 in the more gay friendly business hub of Tel Aviv passed off without incident.

"Our struggle for equality only intensifies in the face of such events," Fried said.

Pride marchers in the Jerusalem Gay Pride event in Israel on July 30, 2015 sent out as an Instragram picture.


Netanyahu said Israel would prosecute those responsible to the full extent of the law, adding: "Freedom of individual choice is a basic value in Israel."

Rivlin, whose job as president is largely ceremonial, said: "We must not be deluded a lack of tolerance will lead us to disaster."

Yishai Schlissel led away by police after his knife attack on 6 people at the Jerusalem Gay Pride, July 30, 2015.

He looks like Rasputin, only more psycho-batty. Maybe he should have just had a pulled pork sandwich instead.


Here is the New York Times account:

Ultra-Orthodox Israeli Stabs 6 at a Gay Pride Parade for Second Time, Police Say

By Isabel Kershner
Link here.

JERUSALEM — An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man who had recently been released from prison after serving 10 years for stabbing participants in the annual Gay Pride Parade here in 2005 struck again Thursday, stabbing six marchers in this year’s parade, according to the police.

Two of the victims were in serious condition, according to the emergency services. The assailant, Yishai Schlissel, was pinned to the ground on a central Jerusalem street and arrested by police officers who were stationed along the route, the police said.

A plain clothes police man clears the away as other security bundle off attempted mass murderer Yishai Schlissel following the Jerusalem Gay Pride knife attack, July 30, 2015.


Mr. Schlissel wounded three marchers a decade ago at a spot not far from Thursday’s attack and was convicted of attempted murder. He was said to have told the police that he had come “to kill in the name of God.” He was released from prison a month ago.

Jerusalem’s annual Gay Pride Parade has long stirred strong emotions in the city, with many Orthodox Jews objecting to the public display, saying that it defiles the city and offends many of its residents. An ultra-Orthodox news website referred to it on Thursday as “the Parade of Abomination.” There has also been criticism from Muslim and Christian quarters in the past.

Security rush to capture the knife-wielding attacker at the Jerusalem Gay Pride, July 30, 2015.


Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade, a smaller event than the annual parade in Tel Aviv, went ahead one year after a court order, over the objections of the City Council. It has occasionally been confined to a stadium as a compromise.

But Israeli officials often hold up the country’s record of tolerance toward gay and lesbian citizens as a badge of honor and as evidence of Israeli democracy, pointing out that other governments in the region are more oppressive.

“In Israel everyone, including the gay community, has the right to live in peace, and we will defend that right,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised statement. He described Thursday’s attack as “a despicable hate crime.”

Chaotic scene at Jerusalem Gay Pride event following knife attack, July 30, 2015.


An eyewitness, Noa Zinger, told Israeli television that she had felt someone pushing and then seen an ultra-Orthodox man stabbing someone next to her. “He told us to get out of the way so that he could escape,” she said.

Asi Aharoni, a spokesman for the Jerusalem police, said the police had prepared meticulously for this year’s parade with a large presence along the route, including officers on horseback and special forces. “But to our regret, despite the massive police presence, a man succeeded in breaking through the lines and stabbing marchers,” he said.

Yet the police faced criticism for not having kept a closer watch on Mr. Schlissel. “This is a disgrace for the police,” one protester shouted as the Jerusalem district police chief, Moshe Edry, spoke at a televised news conference. “The same man in the same place — the police did not do their job,” the protester added.

In an interview with an ultra-Orthodox radio service nearly two weeks ago, Mr. Schlissel said: “The battle is not over. Those unclean people want to continue defiling Jerusalem.”

Asked about the coming parade he added, “To protest is an obligation in my opinion, but it is not enough.” The goal, he said, must be “to disperse them, even by force.”

The Jerusalem Open House, an organization that supports gay, lesbian, bisexual and, transgender residents of the city, said in a statement: “All we ask and expect is that LGBTQ people are free and safe to live in Jerusalem. This is only a sign we need to continue our work and our marches.”


Let me just add a few thoughts:

Fuck this religio-nutjob, Yishai Schlissel, and fuck his diseased mind and it should be a scandal that he basically advertised his plans two weeks ago to carry out a repeat attack -- and was able to do so.

Yes, let's get this out of the way: This knife attack doesn't "embody" or "define" Judaism any more than what Catholics and Protestants have done in the name of their religion for centuries, nor Islamic - Muslim civilization, even with all its present-day mayhem, embodies or defines those faiths. They are all vastly more than just the crazies and so much of it good.

However, anybody whose religion requires them to maim and kill others who aren't in the slightest bothering (hurting) them -- but instead merely by the very existence of those others are offending their "sensibilities" -- is a crazy piece of shit and his religion (and, let's face it, it's usually a guy), at least as he understands it, is garbage, and it should be called out as such.

And let's face the truth: Its religion more than anything that really gets people whipped up into this diseased mental state.

Note to all religio-nut jobs: The Invisible Cloud Being* not only doesn't need you to fights "His" battles, "He" doesn't even exist, not in your warped way, so just go fuck yourself.

You understand nothing, your belief system is toxic, you yourself are a poison, and the world will be better off once you kick off. Oh, and go to whatever hell you believe in.

*I got that term from the late, great Bartcop, along with the "religio-insane" one.

I'm so sick of fundamentalist horseshit in whatever form(s) it takes.

To Schlissel: you're the one who defiles. You are the defilement. Go fuck yourself. You'll have a lot of time in prison to do just that. Oh, and your sicko beliefs are slowly dying out anyway, and gay pride parades will be around long after your dead and forgotten, so you doubly and triply lose.

Happy LGBTQ Pride.

I will say that at least here in the U.S. of A., at least in this time, it's just mass communications-based political-themed entertainment, and people don't usually get physically hurt. Indeed, as Frank Zappa correctly observed, politics (in the U.S.) is just the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.

We can live with that.

We can't live with this religio-insane violence and the mentally-ill human belief systems that incite it.

The Invisible Cloud Being smiles upon His Creation.


OK, good night. And, no, this was not the entry I intended to write tonight. 


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cecil the Majestic Lion's Slayer Identified -OR- From the Annals of Why Humans Sometimes Just Suck (But Hippos Still Make Me Happy)

Cecil the lion in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe in an undated photo.


OK, it's late and I'm very tired (I went to the gym again) and my other entry crapped out because it was just too long and I don't have enough pictures or time. However, I do want to just note the (ugly) story that quite literally blew up social media today.

It's the story of Walter James Palmer, a suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota dentist who lives a double life as an African big game hunter of the bow and arrow sort, who killed Cecil, a much-loved 13-year old male lion that lived a tranquil existence in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

Cecil the lion in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, 2012.


Palmer was part of some legal poaching operation that turned illegal when Cecil was lured out of the park and onto private land by an animal carcass tied to the bumper of a vehicle in the hunting "party."

Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow and then, wounding the creature, and then up to 40 hours of stalking later, "dispatched" the noble creature with a rifle. Palmer reportedly paid $50,000 for this morally obscene African safari adventure.

Walter Palmer (left) and some other idiot doing their Teddy Roosevelt-meets-Rudyard Kipling's "The White Man's Burden" routine of posing with the dead corpse of beautiful Cecil the Lion outside Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park on or about July 1, 2015.

Apparently, Cecil was then beheaded -- for Mr. Palmer's trophy, no doubt -- and the rest of his corpse left to rot under the African sun. (See New York Times article link below.)


Because the hunt was illegal, it triggered a local investigation by the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force and, as a result, the two men were arrested in connection with Cecil's killing.

It was during this time that Palmer (pictured above in his incarnation as a dentist) was identified. It was the UK Telegraph that published Palmer's identity. It did so in the context of a story -- replete with pictures -- of his long history of trekking about Africa killing large and endangered creatures. Palmer himself faces illegal poaching charges in Zimbabwe. Here is that story (link embedded):

The sub-headline reads: EXCLUSIVE: A Minnesota father of two is discovered to be the hunter who shot dead Cecil -- one of Zimbabwe's most loved lions

The unassuming River Bluff Dental office of mild-mannered dentist and African Big Game hunter Walter Palmer, Bloomington, Minn.


Here are some other stories about it (with embedded links):


As noted, Palmer has a long history of killing other beautiful and endangered creatures such as this leopard in Zimbabwe in 2010:

Walter Palmer appears to get some weird thrill "posing" shirtless with a dead leopard he killed in Zimbabwe in 2010 with this weapon of choice: The bow and arrow.

Apparently, bow and arrow hunters get all tingly all over when they "honor" their target animal by killing it in this way, or so says the bow hunting group Pope and Young (see Telegraph article link above).


And here is Palmer posing with a dead white rhino in South Africa (date uncertain):

Walter Palmer posing with a dead white rhino he apparently killed in South Africa (date uncertain).


I won't go into too much detail on the social media messages -- from Palmer's Facebook page to Yelp reviews of his River Bluff Dental office in Bloomington, Minnesota -- that occurred. Here is an online WaHoPo article on it: A vengeful Internet trashed the Yelp page of the Minnesota dentist who shot Cecil the lion.

A sampling of two Yelp reviews:


(Actually, given my own emotional make up, this is kind of why I don't do social media but only this blog, which for me tends to be a much slower and more deliberative process. Well, that and I don't feel like being "unfriended" all day long, but that's a separate story.)


While (needless to say) I hope no physical harm to comes to him or his family in any way -- and I can intuitively understand how jarring, if not frightening an experience this must be for him -- all I can say is that he is a piece of shit and I don't feel sorry for him one teeny bit for all the negative publicity.

A note for Walter Palmer left outside his office in a Tweet posted by Paul Blume, July 28, 2015.


A local Minneapolis Fox 9 reporter -- some fop named Paul Blume who find the whole thing bemusing, as you would expect a local Fox reporter to do -- posted images taken outside Palmer's dental office where a makeshift "memorial" of sorts -- including lots of stuffed animals -- has appeared.

Stuff animals outside of Walter Palmer's dental office in Bloomington, Minn., July 28, 2015.


I suspect that by tomorrow (later today) I'm sure Rush the Pigboy and others of the conservative entertainment complex -- sensing a political angle to this to exploit -- will rush to this guy's defense. That's kind of how our Manichean politics roles in this country with every day a virtual refighting via various mass communications methods -- in particular, cable, internet, and radio, cable) of the Civil War, which, as I've said before, never really ended.

Majestic Cecil the Lion.

I'm sorry, Cecil. My species kind of really sucks sometimes. It as though sometimes it can't fuck this planet and everything on it fast enough, even when it has nothing to do with daily survival.


My own suggestion is that for his next trip, Mr. Palmer try to tangle up-close-and-personal with a hippopotamus. (Hint: Please get between a female hippo and her baby or a male hippo and water. It works like a charm.)

Tony the Hippo in Puerto Rico gets some dental surgery -- presumably not from Walter Palmer.


I've said it before, I'll say it again: Good oral hippo hygiene is a must.

Even Walter Palmer would (probably) agree with that.


Just don't get too close (and don't try this at home!):

Not Dr. Walter Palmer, I presume: Here an angry hippo charges a young park warden in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, Aug. 2009.

Yes, the young man made it to safety.


OK, that's all for now. Oh, and it goes without saying that this was not the entry I intended to post.

Anyway, I probably won't post another one until late Thursday or early Friday. 


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Few High Summer Morning Notes (Including Rainfall and Precipitation Stats Update)

As near as I can tell, this is the stormwater management pond created by damming up the Crabbs Branch just beyond the Shady Grove Metro station in Montgomery Co., Md., 1:51PM July 26, 2015.

I have the picture labeled as "Gaithersburg" but the address for the Metro is "Rockville" -- by which is meant the non-incorporated part of Rockville and, if any place, "Derwood" (which, I believe, was Endora's disparaging nickname for Darrin on Bewitched).

Anyway, this was at the start of my bike ride back to D.C. on Sunday from the Metro station.


I had intended to post an entry last night even though I did not start drafting it until 1AM. Indeed, I created the base of an entry involving a number of articles and commentary.

A tangle of bushes and bushes, brushes, and shrubs growing just beyond the Shady Grove Metro near the Crabbs Branch Way pond (see above) in, I guess, Derwood, Md. (see above), 1:49PM July 26, 2015.


However, the entry required a number of images, and it was so damn late that I just couldn't finish it. I got such a late start because not only was it a gym night -- I was there for just under 3 hours -- but I then did three loads of laundry (including some bedding, which required me to re-make the bed, or rather, the pile of quilts, blankets, and pillows on the floor in which I sleep).

So I'll try again tonight. I am planning on a supplemental light gym workout (rather than going to a bar after work).

The forest (semi-)primeval along the upper stretch of the Rock Creek Trail just south of Lake Needwood, Derwood, Md., 2:33PM July 26, 2015.


As a brief weather update here in the "heights" of high summer, it is a sunny, warm morning with temps. already about 80F here in D.C. and in the the mid-to-upper 70s across the Baltimore/Washington region.

Yesterday (July 27th, 2015), there were two bouts of t-storms -- the one around 430AM and another in the 4 to 6PM hour -- that dropped some heavy rainfall.

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity, 3:28PM July 27, 2015.


National Airport itself (KDCA) had the jackpot of the four regional climate stations with a daily total there of 0.94 inches -- and bringing the monthly total to 4.48 inches, which puts us in surplus for the entire month (KDCA July monthly average is 3.73 inches).

The KDCA year-to-date total is 31.20 inches or +8.20 inches through the end of July 27th.

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced composite mode and zoomed in, 3:28PM July 27, 2015.

Composite mode always looks more dramatic, especially with thunderstorms.


The other three main regional climate stations recorded the following on July 27th:

KBWI: 0.15 inches.

Despite a sizable yearly and summer seasonal* surplus (+8.35 inches and +8.18 inches, respectively, at 32.38 inches), for the month, KBWI is only at 2.09 inches and will likely end below normal.

KIAD: 0.33 inches

KDMH: 0.53 inches (most of that occurred in the wee hours storm)

*Climatological summer seasonal started June 1st.

Thunderstorms are not likely today.

OK, that's all for now.

I'm not even going to try to post anything else now but instead return to this blog later tonight.


Monday, July 27, 2015

High Summer and a Few Monday Morning Low Political Thoughts

The forested Rock Creek Trail just south of Lake Needwood in either Derwood or Rockville (not sure which), Md., 2:29PM July 29, 2015.


Monday morning. It's a summery warm and humid "high summer day." We had a thunderstorm in the wee hours that woke me over the sound of my fan and air conditioner with brilliantly flashing lighting and a brief deluge of rain.

The regional obs show the following: 0.11" at KDCA; 0.27" at KIAD; 0.15" at KBWI, and 0.53" at KDMH.

Anyway, I don't have time to post an entry now. I took a nearly 30 mile bike ride yesterday that started at the Shady Grove Metro (well, actually, it started at my apartment but I rode to the Farragut North Metro) all the back to D.C. on a circuitous rout including three main bike routes (Rock Creek Trail, Georgetown Branch, and Capital Crescent) and down to the Mall and back to Dupont. It included a nice lunch with Quill at Rock Bottom in Bethesda.

I have some pictures that I intend to post late tonight (probably after midnight by the time I finish). Tonight after work is a planned gym night.

The forested fecunity along Rock Creek Trail near Lake Needwood, Montgomery Co., Md., 2:29PM July 29, 2015.


Below is something I started to write last night, so here goes ...

So at this point, I am increasingly of the view that Hillary is probably going to lose the 2016 general election and -- despite however unfair this is given our atavistic domestic political situation with today's GOP, it's partially her own fault and not just because of the media's awful "Clinton Rules" of coverage.

And Donald Trump -- Huey Long character though he may be -- is surging for reasons that the WaHoPo Editorial Board and Beltway "Washington Consensus" Crowd are too insular to understand. True, that just means we are much more likely to have a Scott Walker presidency -- unless Trump really has a third party candidacy that enables Hillary to win with just a plurality of votes and an oddly configured Electoral College tally -- but there you have it.

Scott Walker is, of course, the boy-toy of Koch Brothers intrigue a facilitator and enabler to what appears to be an inevitable outcome of Feudalism and Oligarchy, 21st Century American-style.

Just wanted to get that out there.

OK, that's all for now.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Jukebox Saturday Night Entry for July 25th, 2015: A Time for Good Beginnings Edition

"Time to Reflect" by Paul Hardcastle from his Hardcastle 4 release (2005)


OK, I am back from a rather wonderful wedding reception day ... although I MISSED the ceremony and feel like shit about that (all the more so because everyone was so nice about it and actually wanted me there). Not only that, but I was the least nice dressed among the family and friends there. Furthermore, I sat at the table at the Friendship Heights with Nick's parents and grandmother (!) -- all down from Massachusetts (the Braintree, Quincy, Watertown area).

Nick and Luana at The Capital Grille reception, Chevy Chase, Md., 1:55PM July 25, 2015.

Jake's toast to them was so wonderful, I nearly cried. As for me, all I can say is with total sincerity is: all the best to you both in a long and happy life together. 


Later, I went to the National Cathedral in an Uber with Andrea, Imara, Matt, and Daria. It was my first such Uber ride -- the driver laughed when I said that, and it was such a nice route we followed through residential upper Northwest D.C.) 

A short time later, the wedding party showed up and Jake took lots (approx. 500!) photos of Nick and Luana and family and friends (I'm in some of the photos), and I walked around the interior of the cathedral (we didn't have to pay the mandatory-voluntary $10 at that point) with Andrea, Imara, Matt, and Daria.

Nick and Luana doing the wedding cake ritual, The Capital Grille, Chevy Chase, Md., 2:34PM July 25, 2015.


Thereafter, we went to Barcelona restaurant and wine bar on Wisconsin Avenue in the Cathedral Heights section of D.C. and had a lot of drinks and light appetizers. The staff were very attentive to us even as the place became quite crowded.

I have lots of pictures and Jake has even more that I intend to post at some point.

This is the Scientists and Technicians Window -- a.k.a., the Space Window -- at the Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., 4:09PM July 25, 2015.

This stained glass window incorporates a 7.18-gram basalt lunar rock brought back and given to the Cathedral by the crew of the Apollo 11 mission. The full story is available here.


As for now, I am attempting to post a jukebox Saturday night entry while running up against the clock. (You see, I can temporarily disable Barracuda, but it re-enables itself after a few seconds, and I can only do it three times before I have to reset the counter, as it were, by "rebooting" the computer (which means shutting it down and restarting it).)

This is my weird life.

Anyway, for the next song, this seems appropriate for today ...

"Wedding Bell Blues" by The 5th Dimension from the group's The Age of Aquarius release (1969)

This was actually the No. 1 song -- on the Billboard Hot 100 list -- the week I was born (Nov. 26, 1969).


Oh, yes, I ate and drank a lot today (although I had more the vodka drinks than wine at Barcelona). 

I might be meeting up with some of them later tonight. I walked to the intersection of Wisconsin and Massachusetts Avenues and caught a fortuitously timed N6 bus that brought me to Dupont Circle in literally 5 minutes and biked the short way home (to be clear, I rode my bike to the Dupont Circle southside entrance this late morning).

And to end this jukebox Saturday night edition, this also seems appropriate ...

"Better Be Good To Me" by Tina Turner from her Private Dancer album (1984)

Tina Turner and I have the same birthday -- November 26th -- except she is 30 years precisely older than me. And looks much better.


OK, that's all for now. For tomorrow, I am planning on taking a bike ride and meeting Quill for lunch in Bethesda. Right now, I'm headed back out to meet the group at a place on U Street. 


Saturday Morning Post on Sundry Topics -OR- Computer Woes, Wedding Bells, and Random Park, House, and Dog Pics

**This entry was posted July 25, 2015.**

The Chesapeake Bay looking northeast from John Downs Memorial Park, Pasadena, Md., 2:22PM July 24, 2015.

Commonly just called "Downs Park," it figured occasionally into my teenage years in Glen Burnie -- as in, my mom and I would go there.


Saturday morning.

First thing's first ...

Blog-Keeping Notice:

I continue to have vexing issues involving my (work/home use) computer and accessing my blog, in particular with Internet Explorer 11. It's all-but-worthless in terms of letting me do everything including even viewing the site. Furthermore, I have to suffer through that incredibly annoying message "A problem with .blogspot caused Explorer to close" and "Windows is seeking a solution" and reload it about 5 times before the page appears.

Then there is the YouTube blockage and the "temporary" workaround. It's all due to Barracuda on this computer, and I have no control over that.

As I wrote in my previous entry, I desperately need my own computer to end this pointless vexation since there is nothing I can do to correct it with my current one. But for Chrome, I would not be able to view, much less upkeep, this blog.


The Chesapeake Bay looking southeast from John Downs Memorial Park, Pasadena, Md., 2:22PM July 24, 2015.

Apparently, on a clear day, you can see the blue water tower directly across the bay in Rock Hall, Md.


As for today, I am going to a wedding in a little while (indeed, I need to finish up this entry and get ready and moving). It's an "informal" wedding -- the invite from Nick came by e-mail and simply asked about my "availability" on July 25th for a "small ceremony and reception" up in Friendship Heights.

Nick is marrying Luana, and I think they are both wonderful and I am happy to go. The wedding announcement webpage is here.

Oh, yes, that picture -- which I am reposting directly above -- was taken on an April 6, 2013 group outing at the National Arboretum that I wrote about here.

When I saw this picture, I realized that part of me (my right foot!) was in it as I was lying on the grass next to Nick and Luana when it was taken. I told him he should crop it out but he has not.


The house at 5362 Macomb Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:16PM July 19, 2015.

I've always been intrigued by this house. It's near the National Cathedral.


As for yesterday, it was a strange sort of Friday.

For starters, I only got in a half day at work -- and it involved more remote logging in by the IT person of my computer because the update following the reloaded Matrix reimaging did not fully take because of Barracuda blocking something. Eventually, he resolved it. I was able to set the stage with phone calls and emails for additional work next week since I was kind of slow last week.

I had a flurry of text message exchanges with my mom, who was enjoying herself Downs Park along the Chesapeake Bay in Anny Runnell Kenny not far from where she lives (see two pictures above).

(As an aside, I love the Maryland accent: "She raid in boskle in a da snao wif her ayes glazed in Balmer's Druddle Park, hon." That translates as: "She rode her bicycle in the snow with her eyes closed in Baltimore's Druid Hill Park, hon.")

A crane tower framed by a cumulus cloud, 1400 block of P St NW, Washington, D.C., 6:53PM July 24, 2015.


Anyway, I left work around 5 PM. I had ridden my bike to work and I biked up to 14th Street to meet Dave J. at Teakwood. I hadn't been there in a while -- I usually go to Baan Thai across the street with its much more authentic Thai cuisine -- but I knew it would be dark and cool in the back, away from all the endless overheated, blindingly bright sunshine of the July afternoon. I also got the young bartender to put on jazz music, which was quite nice.

Dave prefers the coolness and grayness as well. Indeed, earlier in the day he texted me his favorite five light houses and included some particularly fog-bound locales. I would write them down but I left the list at work.

Yours truly upstairs at No. 9, Washington, D.C., 7:48PM July 24, 2015.


We had some appetizer food and drinks and then went to No. 9, where we met Gary. Later, I stopped by Floriana, where I had a glass of wine with Jamie and then went to Dupont Italian Kitchen where I had another meal. (Those were my only two meals yesterday.) The night ended in its usual fogginess, but I got home safe and sound with all my stuff including my computer and went to bed.

Oh, yes, the weather is all frickin' sunshine and 90F heat again today. The dew point is creeping up (around 67F now). Actually, that's a decent dew point: I hate the 90F+ weather when it's really dry because then it's just like a desert climate. I know that most folks can't get enough of that but not me.

Miss Wendy's large malamute Tacoma, a.k.a., "Fluff Bomb," exploring the Rock Creek in, yes, Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C., July 18, 2015.


OK, that's all for now. I am unsure how today will play out and whether I'll be able -- computer technical issues aside -- to post a jukebox Saturday night entry.