Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Better Instinct to Live -OR- Time Marches On While Spring Tides Ebb and Flow

The Enid Haupt Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 6:05PM March 29, 2016.

I walked home from work on Tuesday stopping at my usual three places. The city -- especially the Monumental core and the downtown area -- is seasonally overloaded with annoying tourists including countless massive tour buses that severely and dangerously "block the box" and pedestrian walkways.


Home at this late hour.

This entry features some pictures that I took on Tuesday and one that was sent to me, plus other images.

I had a good gym workout tonight that was actually a break from my usual routine. While I did that damn hour-long treadmill jog (plus 5 minute cool down, reaching 6.64 mile total in 65 minutes), I actually participated in an "Instinct" class that the YMCA Anthony Bowen is touting as part of a donation drive.

This particular class is usually fee-based but it was an open one tonight -- with a suggested $10 donation.

So for 30 minutes, about two dozen people did the following: 100 push ups, 100 pull ups (using low-hanging rings leaning back and forth), 100 squats, 100 heel touches, and 100 sit ups.

Different people did these exercises in different sequences. As for me, I got through all of it except the 100 heel touches, of which I probably only half.

Of the two dozen people, I was almost certainly the oldest person in the room -- and except for one other person, probably by at least 10 years and in some cases 20+ years.

The music playing was something else.

The "N-word" must have been said about 200 times and "fuck" about 500 times. There was also the usual stuff about "blow," bling, and killing rivals. In short, except for one notable instrumental piece, the songs were simply awful and vulgar.

One song that I just discovered (doing a Google search) was by "Big Sean" and called "I Don't Fuck With You."

You literally cannot have a clean or bleeped version of that song -- there would be nothing left.

It includes the following lyrics and would make Rodgers and Hammerstein roll over in their graves:

"I got a million trillion things I'd rather fuckin' do than to be fuckin' with you. Little stupid ass, I don't give a fuck. I don't give a fuck, I don't I don't I don't give a fuck ..."

I think this was played at Catholic Easter service.

Needless to say, I won't be featuring it in my Jukebox Saturday Night series.

As for a million trillion things, That's 10^6 x 10^12 = 10^18 or 1 quadrillion things Big Sean would rather do, which seems quite unlikely.

Speaking of music, not much of it is played these days on the main workout floor at this gym and, on balance, I'm relieved since I don't wear earbuds and listen to my own music and when it is on, the music is frequently too loud, hip-hop / industrial remixed, and annoying.

Another view of the Enid Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., 6:05PM March 29, 2016.

Alas, Ms. Haupt missed her 100th birthday by just under 7 months.


Weather Update ...

The weather tonight is cool -- temps around 52F here in D.C. proper -- and a bit breezy tonight with a southerly flow. Rain showers are forecasted tomorrow night. Friday is supposed to reach about 80F with rain showers. Thereafter, it is going to get noticeably cooler for next week with highs only in the lower 50s F on Sunday and not much warmer next week.


For some reason, the tree pollen has not yet bothered me at all -- despite the fact that we are well into the "leaf out" period here in the District proper.

Astronomy News: Large Object Crashes Into Jupiter

I'm going to segue from meteorology to astronomy in order to call attention to this story (link embedded): Jupiter Just Got Hit by a Comet or Asteroid ... Again (Video).

Image of the flash impact of an unknown object -- perhaps an asteroid -- on the limb of Jupiter from Earth's perspective (rotating away) in a photo taken by amateur astronomer John McKeon on March 17, 2016.



"Amateur astronomer John McKeon was observing the king of planets by telescope from Swords, Ireland, on March 17 when he captured this stunning time-lapse video of something hitting Jupiter. McKeon was recording the transit of Jupiter's moons Io and Ganymede with an 11-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and his ASI120mm camera when something struck Jupiter, and he struck cosmic pay dirt."

A close-up of the above image with the impact highlighted by the arrow.

McKeon's YouTube posting of the impact is available here.


Some political commentary ...

As a bit of political commentary, it appears that Donald Trump's campaign may be flagging -- he has fallen definitively behind the loathsome reptilian Ted Cruz in polls ahead of the April 5th Wisconsin Republican primary, although nationally he remains ahead (and it isn't clear how well Cruz will do in next month's New England and Mid-Atlantic Republican primaries.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is polling at or better than Hillary Clinton ahead of the Wisconsin Democratic primary (also on April 5th) and he continues to have the real energy and passion of the Democratic base while winning a steady number of states outside the South, chipping into her delegate lead. However, it isn't clear how he will doing the upcoming Democratic primaries that are being held simultaneously in the same six states.

To me -- and I admit that I could be wrong -- this just increases the odds of a truly nightmare rightwing corporate theocratic - fascist dystopian scenario of a President Ted Cruz, a Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a Senate where the filibuster has been abolished, and House Speaker Paul Ryan. That would be the Koch Brothers / billionaire donor class / oligarchical overclass "agenda" on steroids.

It would be the Ebola and Zika viruses combined of political climates that would probably mark the end of the American republic as it now exists, replaced by something very ugly.

Meanwhile, at Neoliberal World Order Central -- also known as Fred Hiatt's Washington Post editorial board -- there would be nary a worry as his "stable" of editorial writers, representing the Inner High Sanctum of the Gang of 500 "Professional Centrist" courtier class, would see the "bipartisan nuance" in every GOP action ...

... no matter how class-warring, wars-of-aggression-initiating, society-destroying, ecology-devastating, runaway climate change-bringing are those actions. Cokie Roberts sees, hears, and speaks no GOP evil.

In terms of a potential Cruz - Sanders race, I simply see no way that the American general electorate would elect a septuagenarian Jewish, self-described Socialist -- not to mention a borderline open atheist in a country that regularly demands its leaders go on long and loud about how Christian they are (in that Protestant evangelical fundamentalist sense) -- over a slithery, hatemongering demagogue spouting every platitude and piety that arouses the erogenous zones of the Body Politic. And no amount of angry invective from the "Bernie Bros" and professional and amateur Hillary haters can change that reality.

If we were assured of both Houses of Congress controlled by Democrats for the duration, maybe a Cruz presidency would be survivable, but given the massive structural advantage the GOP has -- plus the fact it is a party that is bat-shit crazy -- we just can't risk this.

I'd love to be wrong. But I just don't think I will be.

Let me just say here -- if it isn't obvious -- that I do not want a President Trump, but my thinking is that he is much less electable than the vile Ted Cruz, who, in turn, is significantly less electable than the hapless Marco Rubio and JEB! Bush, the two Establishment candidates who flamed out.

Then you have the Susan Sarandons of the world who say shit like this in interviews with the ultra-self-righteous Chris Hayes on his UTTERLY AND TOTALLY unwatchable show while the PC thought police over at have pre-written pieces that nobody actually reads defending her.

Not to harp on her, but Susan Sarandon is PRECISELY WHY Democrats lose elections.

She is the unelectable-outside-D.C.-or-San Francisco liberal Yin to the rural-and-exurban-appealing bat-shit crazy conservative GOP Yang. But like any true Democrat, she's perfectly content -- maybe even happy -- to lose "on principle."

OK, that's all I'm going to say by way of political commentary. There are other pieces to which I'd like to link -- including almost anything by Jonathan Chait, Paul Krugman, and Andrew O'Hehir, but I don't have the time or wherewithal to do so now.


The back bar at Baan Thai, Washington, D.C., 7:13PM March 29, 2016.

I stopped there for some dinner. Thereafter, I went to Trade and later to Floriana.


Job Update ...

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I've fallen behind -- owing to all the personal turmoil this month involving the collapse of my employer company and my sudden move to a new job with a new employer that holds the same DOE contract (as the prime rather than the subcontractor).

The job is actually fine and -- because I am with the prime now -- there are many more opportunities across the large, multi-faceted program office that we support.

Today, there was a lot of commotion in the office as folks who are to be based there rather than on client site (myself included) got settled in, but this limited my productivity. I want to try to get into work a bit earlier than usual tomorrow.

The residential building under construction at the corner of 14th St and Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 7:37PM March 29, 2016.

When I saw this building with its ruddy red brick fa├žade, I suddenly recalled the dream I had involving a structure at that location.

I think if I ever can afford it, I will move into this building. But I don't think MV will be my personal trainer ...

Speaking of dreams, I had some really odd dreams last night, esp. in the morning hours just before getting up. In one, I was trying to help Mitt Romney not be deported -- his visa had expired, as I saw by a red message that popped up on a computer screen of some sort -- but then he got angry at me because I had caused him trouble.

Then I watched as he went backwards over Niagara Falls.

I have no idea what that means. Maybe that I've enjoyed watching the GOP Establishment fall apart?


So I think that's all for now. Tomorrow night is a non-gym night, as if Friday night. I'll go again on Saturday. I'm probably not going to take the computer home tomorrow night, so my next planned entry won't be until Friday evening or, if that doesn't come to pass, on Saturday.

Andrea sent me this photo from her back deck earlier this evening. That is her new puppy in the picture.


Oh, yes, I've returned to composing these entries in Explorer rather than Firefox because the latter makes it difficult to color the hypertext links -- you have to manually move the HTML code inside the code for URLs, and then it causes a weird line break that is difficult to resolve.

And with that, I shall sign off now.


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