Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saturday Evening Post for December 31st, 2016: Giving AD 2016 the Send-Off It Richly Deserves

Dusk as seen in the 2000 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 4:28PM December 30, 2016.


Well, I had planned for a bigger end-of-year entry -- given how New Year's Eve is coinciding with Saturday and my usual "Saturday Evening Post" series, not to mention what a shitty year was 2016 and I am eager to see it leave.

The bar at Sea Catch restaurant, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 6:54PM December 29, 2016.


Of course, we have Donald Trump and wall-to-wall rightwing radical GOP government about to assume total power, so 2017 and 2018 promise to be quite ugly, although at least hope as we know it is dead, so there's none of that bullshit optimism.

Yours truly, L'Enfant Plaza Metro station, orange/blue/silver lines platform Washington, D.C., 9:29PM December 29, 2016.


I didn't get to bed until about 430AM and I didn't finally get up until 2PM today, which nixed my plans for a longer entry. Also, I have to leave here by 430PM in order to get to Rockville to meet David and his family at Gordon Biersch for dinner. Thereafter, I don't really know what to do. I have invites to two parties -- one in Hyattsville -- but neither are very convenient to where I live, esp. as I lack a car.

Right now, I'm doing multiple loads of laundry in the laundry room -- or rather, the machines are doing it. I am just waiting for them to finish.

Office view overlooking Southwest Washington, D.C., from L'Enfant Plaza, 1:55PM December 28, 2016.


It is a gray, flat sort of day with temps around 46F. The year ends below normal on precipitation, especially at KDCA. Here are the totals through yesterday -- and I don't think there will be any more today:

KDCA: 31.70"
KBWI: 40.52"
KIAD: 35.33"
KDMH: 39.56"

Compared to the current 30-year annual averages of 39.74" at KDCA, 41.88" at KBWI, and 41.54" at KIAD, this puts them down 8.04", 1.36", and 6.21", respectively. This is with respect to the 1981 - 2010 period.

KDMH does not yet have a full 30-year average or normal period. As usual, it was also above normal temperature-wise. (Not to worry, though, because the study of climate science is about to become a serious crime in America, but the Teabaggers and Trump lunatics are thrilled to be "great again.")

Rain is forecasted for early next week followed by much colder weather.

OK, I do need to wrap up this entry if I have any hope of trying to post a jukebox Saturday night entry in the next hour.

However, I do want to end with a link to a Matt Yglesias piece about the bullshit Hillary e-mail story and how it swayed the election outcome.

This was a result first of the white-hot intense coverage by a whore political "mainstream" media. To be clear, I'm not even talking about the Fox News / GOP conservative media-entertainment complex and agit-prop machine. Instead think nihilistic political pundits such as Chris Cillizza and Chuck Todd, plus CNN and even the New York Times coverage.

Then, there was the unprecedented and basically extra-Constitutional intervention by the FBI under James Comey -- in what was basically a coup by rightwing elements within the FBI with Comey's not-so-tacit help -- that caused so many late votes to break against Hillary in just the right (wrong) states and so allowed Trump to eke out his Electoral College technicality win and gave us this horrible situation. Anyway, here is the piece (link embedded):

And with that, let's end this fucking year 2016 with a big fuck you, 2016.


P.S. I don't think I have time to post a jukebox Saturday night entry today. Oh, well.

The Man in the High Castle, Cont'd: Trump and Rightwing Radical GOP One-Party Rule Begin

**This entry was posted December 31, 2016.**

Wow ...

Just wow ...

I know I've been belaboring this point, but given that this fascist buffoon is about to become our dictator-in-chief under one-party rightwing radical GOP rule, I feel as though this whole The Man in the High Castle motif has real and painful pertinence.


Friday, December 30, 2016

Some Passing Thoughts on a Bright, Brisk Early Winter's Day at the Tail End of Awful 2016 -OR- An Eve of New Year's Eve 2017 Brief Update

Low-angled wintertime brilliant sunlight and puffy stratocumulus clouds in the sky as seen from 16th and U Streets and New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 2:27PM December 30, 2016.


Friday midafternoon.

I ended up basically taking most of today off from work (despite the fact that my vacation balance 9 months into this job remains negative). I just got back from doing a financial transaction of taking out $300 on my credit card (through Bank of America) and putting the cash into someone's Wells Fargo account. (Fortunately, there are Bank of America and Wells Fargo banks near each other by Dupont Circle.)

Looking north along 16th St at the 2000 block of New Hampshire Ave NW -- The Brittany condo building -- Washington, D.C., 2:27PM December 30, 2016.

That top rounded-corner condo (which I can see from my little efficiency directly across the street) gets quite the spectacular view of D.C., although I wouldn't want to live that high off the ground.


This is my proffered payment of my stepsister Debbie's January rent as she comes up here from Laredo, Texas to stay with her dad -- my stepfather -- in his terminal condition. She should be a significant help to my mom as I cannot be at their place in Millersville that often. (I had to deposit the cash into her housemate's account since she doesn't have any bank account.)

This $300 transaction cost be an additional $15 or so. (I have a checking account and a credit card with B of A.)

She quit her awful part-time job at some shitty discount retail store. The management apparently didn't like that she was taking time off for her dying father. Being a "right-to-work" state, I suppose, means that in Texas, you can be instantly fired for such a crime against the ruling fundamentalist elite.

Winter bare oak trees and the deep blue sky, 1900 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 2:29PM December 30, 2016.


Last night, Andrea and I went to dinner at Flavio in Georgetown (formerly, Paper Moon), and before that, we had a drink at the bar at Sea Catch. (I quite liked that first place.) We went to Georgetown via an Uber from work.

Later, I met Kevin for a drink at Le Bar in the Sofitel Hotel. God, that place is frickin' expensive. I then went to Trade and talked to this guy who lives in Luray, and thereafter, stopped at Stoney's where Howie was working.

Low-angled sunlight through the city trees, 1900 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 2:29PM December 30, 2016.


The weather today is the sort of winter day I quite like: Very brisk and brilliant sunshine mixed with passing snow showers (even a brief snow squall earlier) with chaotic stratocumulus / nimbostratus clouds in a clean, clear blue sky. Temps are around 41F but it is quite cold aloft following a frontal passage. There is a gusty northwesterly wind.

I'm going to the gym shortly. I'm going today in lieu of going tomorrow -- New Year's Eve -- when I have evening plans. (I'm unsure if I'm going to a house party in Hyattsville for the actual midnight hour or just coming back around here.) My evening plans involve what has become a tradition of having dinner with DD and his family in Rockville town center.

For tonight, I'm supposed to meet Fred later at Annie's.

Approaching clouds / snow shower as seen from Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., 2:53PM December 30, 2016.

This looked like an approaching snow squall but it mostly missed us but for a few flurries.


I plan to post two entries tomorrow -- a Saturday evening post to give an appropriate farewell to the fucked-upness that was 2016 that includes the election-on-a-technicality (by a vestigial slave institution known as the Electoral College) of Donald Trump, which is to say, America's sudden descent into a Philip K. Dick dystopian alternative reality.

I also plan to post a jukebox Saturday night to pay tribute to the various performers who died this year.

OK, that's all for now.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Incredibly Rotten Year of 2016: A Prelude to Its Merciful Conclusion & Reposting In Full Ross Douthat's NYT Op-Ed: "The Trump Matrix"

I intend to post an entry tonight that includes an update. In brief, I'm back from a good gym workout tonight and work went well today.

However, my stepfather's medical condition is of paramount concern to me, and I would like Debbie to return (from Laredo) for a few weeks to stay with my mom. To that end, my mom is getting her an airline ticket and I have offered to pay her portion of her January rent (it's only $300).

In addition, I also want to remark on the horrendous year that 2016 has been in terms of the deaths of so many notable actors and singers this year -- just yesterday, Carrie Fisher of Star Wars fame, and earlier tonight, her mother, Debbie Reynolds (what an indescribably tragic week for Todd Fisher) and on Christmas Day (!), singer George Michael.

Oh, and let's not forget David Bowie, Prince, and Florence Henderson.

What a fucking rotten year that can't end soon enough -- just 72 hours to go. But, alas, next year brings us Donald Trump and wall-to-wall rightwing radical Republican government.

What is this, some kind of sick Cosmic joke??


P.S. Ahh, who am I kidding? I'm not going to be able to post another entry tonight. Pfft ...


The Trump Matrix

By Ross Douthat
The New York Times
December 28, 2016
Source article here.

Anyone who tells you, with perfect confidence, what a Trump administration will do is either bluffing or a fool. We have a prospective cabinet and a White House staff, but we haven't got the first idea how the two will fit together or relate to Congress, or how the man at the top will preside over it all.

What we can do, for now, is set up a matrix to help assess the Trump era as it proceeds, in which each appointment and policy move gets plotted along two axes. The first axis, the X-axis, represents possibilities for Trumpist policy, the second, the Y-axis, scenarios for Trump’s approach to governance.

The policy axis runs from full populism at one end to predictable conservative orthodoxy on the other. A full populist Trump presidency would give us tariffs and trade wars, an infrastructure bill that would have Robert Moses doing back flips, a huge wall and E-Verify and untouched entitlements and big tax cuts for the middle class. On foreign policy it would be Henry Kissinger meets Andrew Jackson: Détente with Russia, no nation-building anywhere, and a counterterrorism strategy that shoots, bombs and drones first and asks questions later.

In an orthodox-conservative Trump presidency, on the other hand, congressional Republicans would run domestic policy and Trump would simply sign their legislation: A repeal of Obamacare without an obvious replacement, big tax cuts for the rich, and the Medicare reform of Paul Ryan's fondest dreams. On foreign policy, it would offer hawkishness with a dose of idealistic rhetoric -- meaning brinkmanship with the Russians, not a rapprochement, plus military escalation everywhere.

The second axis, the possibilities for how Trump governs, runs from ruthless authoritarianism at one end to utter chaos at the other. Under the authoritarian scenario, Trump would act on all his worst impulses with malign efficiency. The media would be intimidated, Congress would be gelded, the F.B.I. and the I.R.S. would go full J. Edgar Hoover against Trump’s enemies, the Trump family would enrich itself fantastically -- and then, come a major terrorist attack, Trump would jail or intern anyone he deemed a domestic enemy.

At the other end of this axis, Trump and his team would be too stumbling and hapless to effectively oppress anyone, and the Trump era would just be a rolling disaster -- with frequent resignations, ridiculous scandals, Republicans distancing themselves, the deep state in revolt, the media circling greedily, and any serious damage done by accident rather than design.

Trump's transition -- the process, the appointees, the tweets -- can be charted along both axes. On policy, much of his cabinet falls closer to the conventional conservative end, with appointees like Tom Price and Betsy DeVos and Rick Perry who would be at home in a Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or even Jeb! administration.

On the other hand, some of his cabinet picks are a little more ideologically unknowable (like Steven Mnuchin at Treasury), and his inner circle remains highly unconventional. Stephen K. Bannon is intent on remaking the G.O.P. along nationalist lines, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump seem eager for their paterfamilias to negotiate with Democrats, Peter Navarro is girding for a trade war with China. And Trump's foreign policy choices -- especially Rex Tillerson at State -- seem closer to full-Trumpist realpolitik than to Reaganism-as-usual.

On the governance axis, the president-elect's strong-arming of the private sector, his media-bashing tweets, and his feud with the intelligence community all hint at an authoritarian timeline ahead. Likewise, other fact patterns -- that Congressional Republicans are mostly supine, that the stock market has surged -- suggest that Trump could be authoritarian, corrupt and politically effective.

But anyone who fears incompetence more than tyranny has plenty of evidence as well. Trump's tweets might be a sign, not of an incipient autocrat, but of an unstable narcissist who will undermine himself at every step. He has no cushion in popular opinion: If things go even somewhat badly, his political capital will go very fast indeed. He has plenty of hacks, wild cards and misfit toys occupying positions of real responsibility -- and his White House has already had its first sex scandal!

Then, finally, there is the question of how the axes interact. A populist-authoritarian combination might seem natural, with Trump using high-profile deviations from conservative orthodoxy to boost his popularity even as he runs roughshod over republican norms.

But you could also imagine an authoritarian-orthodox conservative combination, in which Congressional Republicans accept the most imperial of presidencies because it's granting them tax rates and entitlement reforms they have long desired.

Or you could imagine a totally incompetent populism, in which Trump flies around the country holding rallies while absolutely nothing in Washington gets done ... or a totally incompetent populism that ultimately empowers conventional conservatism, because Trump decides that governing isn't worth it and just lets Paul Ryan run the country.

As for what we should actually hope for -- well, the midpoint of each axis, the center of the matrix, seems like the sweet spot for the country: A Trump presidency that's competent-enough without being dictatorial, and that provides a needed populist corrective to conservatism without taking us all the way to mercantilism or a debt crisis.

But this is Donald Trump we're talking about, so a happy medium seems unlikely. Along one axis or the other, bet on the extremes.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on December 28, 2016, on Page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: The Trump Matrix.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Christmas Story 2016: And So It Goes, But One to Remember ...

Dusk silhouettes a row of evergreen trees that stand sentinel at the edge of the trailer park, Millersville, Md., 4:17PM December 24, 2016.


This was a very good but also very emotional Christmas spent at my mom and stepdad's little place in Millersville, Md. It was made better by the welcome presence of my stepsister, Debbie, whom I had not seen since, I believe, September 1995 (that is, 21+ years).

It was good because we were all together for what is quite likely to be the last Christmas that we can all be together given Ray's terminal health condition.

Debbie and Ray, Millersville, Md., December 26, 2016.


It was also good because I was able to reconnect with Debbie and discovered her to be a very lovely person with a gentle and good-natured soul despite having what sounds like a difficult life living in Laredo, Texas (!), where she has successfully raised two children -- a young lady and a young man in their 20s -- who seem to have turned out well despite a lot of socioeconomic challenges.* (Debbie once lived with Ray's parents on Bristol Avenue in the Brooklyn section of Baltimore.)

*Yes, I'm a step-uncle, and since they both have children of their own, a step-great-uncle. O-K, then.

My mom, Debbie, and Ray, Millersville, Md., Dec. 26, 2016.

There was a picture of all four of us taken with an automatic timer camera -- except my mom didn't send that one to me.

Debbie it two years younger than I.


Ray's condition is dire and terminal, and it is necessarily the focal point of all day-to-day activities and decisions. Ray -- a 69-year old Vietnam veteran -- has pulmonary fibrosis that is most likely due to agent orange exposure while there all those decades ago as a 19-year old kid drafted right out of high school from his South Baltimore neighborhood. To be clear, Ray is on disability for his Vietnam service but not for that particularly condition (the VA threshold of proof for which is very high).

Yours truly and Debbie and my mom, Millersville, Md., December 26, 2016.


Also, as an aside, it was also a good Christmas because I also had a nice phone conversation with my dad down in Florida -- and we seem to be in a much better place father-son relationship-wise despite the fact that he will not shake off a destructive and lop-sided relationship with that Shannon character.

Yours truly and my mom, Millersville, Md., Dec. 26, 2016.


Ray is on in-home hospice care with nurses who visit and in which the whole process is simply designed to make the person comfortable. He really isn't able to leave the little place where they live (which, while comfortable, is not really designed for a terminally ill person). One issue is that his blood pressure is so low that it is almost impossible for him to walk.

Illuminated Nativity display, Church of the Holy City, Washington, D.C., 9:53PM December 23, 2016.

Yes, this is the church whose rectory yard has all the lovely Christmas decorations -- and decorations for almost any significant holiday.

The rest of the pictures in this entry are posted chronologically in the way I took them.


Debbie happily refers to me as her brother although I'm her stepbrother -- and one she hasn't seen in decades. (Neither she nor I have any whole or even half siblings.) Oh, and I was glad to bring the presents that I did (Ray really seemed to like the slippers I bought him.)

A Christmas tree in the main hall of Union Station, Washington, D.C., 10:59AM December 24, 2016.


My mom is methodically making sure Ray takes the baker's dozen of pills that he has to take every day (staggered in four increments). Everything is written down and kept in an electronic file on the computer. Still, the whole situation is exceedingly difficult and stressful -- and it is exacerbated by the fact that really nothing can be done except to have this terrible unfold as it will with an ending that is fully known ahead of time.

A homeless man who was unable to stand up gets help from D.C. paramedics as a policeman stands by, Union Station, Washington, D.C., 11:04AM December 24, 2016.

Union Station is basically a homeless encampment. Also, it was raining outside so lots of them had come inside. I gave $5 to one guy who had unsuccessfully worked the entire line I was in -- asking for $3.90 to go to the McDonalds in Union Station to buy lunch.


My idea is that he should have one of those automatic wheelchairs that, I think, would at least allow him to get outside. (Medicare certainly pays for them -- that's why you see an infinity of commercials for them.) I just think this would at least free him from being a prisoner inside.

Yours truly on an Amtrak train heading from Washington Union Station to BWI Rail Station, 11:34AM Dec. 24, 2016.

Naturally, I missed the 10AM MARC train (wasn't even close as I had gone out with Fred the night before to Trade and gotten rather drunk) so I had to spend $31 for an Amtrak ticket (instead of $7 for a MARC ticket). I also took a taxi to Union Station rather than dicking around with the Metrorail.


As it is, Ray could not join my mother and me for our Christmas eve dinner -- which was at the Sunset Restaurant in old Glen Burnie. Debbie stayed at home with her dad (with whom she reconnected after many years -- and not a moment too late). She came up from Laredo for a one-week stay -- returning to Laredo via a flight to San Antonio tonight. Hopefully, she will come up again later this spring.

The interior of the Sunset Restaurant, Glen Burnie, Md., 1:12PM December 24, 2016.

The menu is enormous -- as in many laminated pages long. And the bar was noisy. On one of the flat screen TVs was, of course, Fox News Channel.


My idea is that starting in January, I will go up there one day a week on the MARC train (they don't live far from both the Odenton and BWI Rail Station stops) and stay overnight -- teleworking from their place. (They have a computer with the necessary stuff on it for me to do the bulk of my work and I am allowed to telework.)

Yours truly and my mom at Sunset Restaurant, Glen Burnie, Md., 2:06PM December 24, 2016.

Our waitress took this picture after dinner. We brought two dinners back for Ray and Debbie (for which I was happy to pay).


In any event, last night was nice as we had a pleasant dinner in the small place where they live and then watched TV. We actually watched the last half / final TNT showing of A Christmas Story -- the 1983 movie that has become a sort of Christmas day classic aired continuously for 12 times on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on either TNT or TBS. I didn't realize the actress who plays the mother -- Melinda Dillon -- was the woman who played the mother of the little boy who is alien abducted in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Shoppers grocery store, Millersville, Md., 3:26PM December 24, 2016. That's my mom in the image.


My mom was unfamiliar with the movie -- which I first saw on one of my Buffalo snow trips at Christmas with ex-friend Gary -- but ended up liking it. Later, Debbie and I watched on YouTube an episode of The Golden Girls (one of my favorite, "Bringing Up Baby").

Sky above Millersville, Md., 4:17PM December 24, 2016.


By the way, I should note that Wednesday -- Dec. 28th -- is my mom and Ray's 42nd anniversary. They got married at the old Fort Monmouth, N.J., Army base (I don't even remember my mom and dad together. And, no, I was not at their wedding. I had just turned 5 years old and, I assume, I was with my paternal grandparents that day in Long Branch.)

Christmas dinner, Millersville, Md., 3:57PM Dec. 25, 2016.

We had lasagna and ham -- two entries -- as well as rice and broccoli. I also bought a bottle of wine, of course.


Today, my mom took me to BWI Rail Station today after lunch at the Honey Bee diner -- a Glen Burnie institution. The weather today was suddenly gloomy gray and drizzly day with temps only around 45F after a sun-flooded, mild, naturally snowless Christmas day (with temps around 50F).

Honey Bee, Glen Burnie, MD., 1:17PM December 26, 2016.

I didn't realize this person was observing me take the photo. This person also looked like s/he could have been in a hair band back in the early-to-mid 1980s. (And THAT was quite popular in Glen Burnie at the time.)

As an aside, Glen Burnie -- or at least parts of it -- is definitely a bit more ghetto than I remember, although most definitely not the Honey Bee. Maybe Baltimore City can annex it (the 21060 and 21061 postal codes) as an exclave ...


I got back to D.C. and went to the gym where I had a full multi-part workout ending with a swim. (The music was awful at the gym tonight though I was mostly able to ignore it.) I then met my neighbor / friend Fred at nearby Exiles, where we had a bite to eat and a drink.

Honey Bee diner, Glen Burnie, Md., 1:17PM Dec. 26, 2016.

This diner used to be located on the other side of Ritchie Highway prior to about 1986 -- and I recall walking there with my mom in the immediate aftermath of the blizzard in February 1983 for lunch from our then-residence in the Colonial Square Apartments along Oakwood Road.


I'm home at the midnight hour. I'm doing two loads of laundry since I didn't do my laundry as I normally do on Saturday.

Waitresses at Honey Bee diner, Glen Burnie, Md., 1:31PM December 26, 2016.

The place never closes. Oh, and there were Trump bumper stickers on pickup trucks in the parking lot.


So I need go to bed shortly as I want -- need -- to be at work by about 930AM tomorrow in order to have time to finish up some edits on another EERE peer review report for another one of the programs.

Final Honey Bee diner picture: 1:52PM December 26, 2016.


For this upcoming week, my plan is to post entries on more familiar topics for me (weather and politics), although for tomorrow after work -- a non-gym night -- I will probably just stop at Trade and may not post anything when I get home. That means my next entry might not be until late Wednesday / early Thursday.

BWI Rail Station, 2:23PM December 26, 2016.

I have a feeling I'm going to be passing through BWI Rail Station a fair amount for at least the first half of 2017.


OK, that's all for now.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Jukebox Saturday Night for Dec. 24th, 2016: A Special Extended Christmas Eve Edition w/ Burl, Bing, Mariah, Andy, & Handel's Hallelujah Hippo

This is my special extended Christmas Eve edition of my weekly Jukebox Saturday Night feature ... Enjoy.

First up, an old favorite as performed so memorably by the late Burl Ives...

"A Holly Jolly Christmas" as performed by Burl Ives from his Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer album (1964)


Next, a terrific Christmas song that manage to be upbeat and melancholy at the same time ...

"We Need a Little Christmas" as performed by Angela Lansbury from the original Broadway musical Mame (1966)

The 1958 movie version Auntie Mame starring Rosalind Russell is, of course, the best.


Yes, Ma'am.

Queen Elizabeth II in the 18th Century Room at Buckingham Palace after Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech, Christmas 2015.


Continuing with the Yuletide music ...

"Do You Hear What I Hear?" as performed by Bing Crosby (1963)

I love this song, especially this version by Bing Crosby.

I actually recall when Bing Crosby died -- October 1977. I was 7 years old (almost 8) and living in Long Branch, N.J., with my paternal grandparents and dad. My grandma said to me something to the effect that he was "an old fart" and I said, "Noooo...." -- because I was confusing Bing Crosby will Bill Cosby (whom I knew from the Fat Albert cartoon). For real.

Two of Bing Crosby's seven children -- his sons Dennis and Lindsay -- both committed suicide. His granddaughter, Dennis Crosby, played Security Chief Tasha Yar in Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Now how could I not...??

"I Wanna Hippopotamus For Christmas" by Gayla Peevey (1953)

I do, in fact, want a hippo for Christmas -- or at least another plush hippo.


This one never gets old -- and somehow gets played in gay bars in the middle of summer and people still love it...

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


Here's another one of my Christmas favorites ...

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

Chester and I have had a lot of fun adjusting the lyrics of this song -- centered around the refrain: "It's the hose baggiest time of the year" and includes lines such as:

"They'll be hosings and baggings and baggings and hosings / And hose-bags out in the snow/ There'll be scary hose stories and tales of the glories of hose-bags long, long ago -- OH!"


Lest I end on a sacrilegious note, let's conclude with this ...

Hallelujah Chorus, Messiah Part II, Scene 7 (Novello #44 / Bärenreiter #39) by George Frideric Handel (composed 1741 / first performed 1742) as performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Not a drop of alcohol nor any vice, really, not to mention not a single Democratic voter, are to be found in that lot.

OK, that's all for now. Merry Christmas, all, except for everybody I dislike. You know who you are but you're probably not reading this anyway.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday Night Creature Feature for Dec. 23rd, 2016: Eve of Christmas Eve 2016 Update with Some Lovely Photographs (That I Didn't Take)

One World Trade Center in all its nighttime glory as seen in Lower Manhattan, Dec. 11, 2016; photo by Eric E. Dunn.

Most of the pictures in this entry are primarily taken from the Twitter page #ItsAmazingOutThere and that is the source of some of the pictures in CWG entries. The twitter page appears to be updated regularly, so these pictures will eventually drop into a sort of oblivion. I've tried to credit the photographers by linking to their Twitter pages.

This is a far better use of Twitter than the Authoritarian Buffoon-Elect Donald J. Trump's misuse, which are for the purposes of satisfying megalomaniacal needs and sowing confusion among friends and foe alike.


The view toward One World Trade Center -- the top half of which was cloaked in low clouds -- as seen from Pier A in Battery Park, Lower Manhattan, New York City, December 17, 2016. Photo by RosEspinosa Quinto.

One World Trade Center is also sometimes called the Freedom Tower (that was going to be its name but in the end, it was not.) The top spire is 1,776 feet high (for obvious reasons) and it is the 6th tallest skyscraper in the world (and tallest in the Western Hemisphere).


Friday night. Christmas Eve Eve.

My schedule this week has been upended owing to the need to be at work late repeatedly due to three different major tasks, one of which I simply could not finish tonight and I'm not even going to try given that it is Saturday and Christmas Eve tomorrow. There is time on Tuesday to work on it. (This has been a minor issue with my supervisor.)

Speaking of One World Trade Center ...

Two penguins gad about on the observation deck of One World Trade Center; Dec. 21, 2016.

According to this account, the penguins are a brother and sister named Betty and Vern and reside New Jersey's Jenkinson's Aquarium on the Jersey shore in Point Pleasant (which isn't far from my hometown of Long Branch).


Owing to this unforeseen work schedule, I was unable to go to the gym except once this week -- on Wednesday -- and because I'm away for the weekend, I won't be able to go until Monday or Tuesday. (The gym is open regular hours on Monday even though that is technically the Christmas federal holiday this year since Christmas itself falls on Sunday.) To be clear, I'm planning on returning to D.C. on Monday.

A stunning Full Moon rising above a grain silo on the Minnesota prairie on a serene evening, December 18, 2016; photo by Tamie / redrocks222.

I believe this was the last of the (many) "supermoons" this year.


I managed to get to the Metro Center Macy's tonight and buy some gifts for my mom and for Ray. (I felt I should get gifts for Ray since this may very well be his last Christmas.) I spent over $250, only $30 of which was for myself (a new shower curtain and new towel). I need a new belt and new shoes but that will have to wait until after Christmas.

Shortly before sunrise at Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colo., September 18, 2016; photo by John Skiba.

Some of John Skiba's (a.k.a., Nikonian's) photos are incredible.


The MARC train is supposed to be running tomorrow despite the fact it is Saturday and Christmas Eve, and I'm going to try take the 10AM one in order to have enough time to get to Sunset restaurant in Glen Burnie at 1PM.

The awesomely starry night sky and an abandoned little church taken somewhere (possibly in Colorado) by John Skiba. This is part of his Twitter page wallpaper.


Because I need to get up by 715AM -- owing to the fact it takes me so damn long to get ready and out of the apartment in the morning -- I really can't do much tonight although I may go to Trade and perhaps even meet Fred for a bit (at JoJo, assuming it's not too crowded).

If I miss the 10AM train, then I need to take a much more expensive Amtrak to BWI Rail Station. (I do have such trouble getting up in the morning.)

A freak snowfall dusts the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert in Ain Sefra, Algeria, December 19, 2016; photo by Karim Bouchetata and appearing in this CWG entry.


The weather tonight is overcast (a high cloud deck) and seasonably chilly (air temp about 40F) but not much wind. It's supposed to rain tomorrow followed by partly cloudy and seasonably chilly on Christmas day (high around 43F). There is no snow forthcoming.

OK, I think that's all for now. I'm going to try to post a jukebox Saturday night entry tomorrow night from my mom's place. I'm unsure how many entries I will be able to post the next few days.

As it is, it's going to be crowded in that little trailer with Debbie also there. (She is visiting from Laredo, Texas. I have not seen her since, I believe, Sept. 1995. Yes, she is technically my stepsister.)

Dusk at the harbor in Chatham, Mass., Dec. 12, 2016; photo by Twitter user and photographer Dapixara.


OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will be tomorrow evening.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

An Eve of Eve of Christmas Eve Morning Entry: A Mile 150 House Homestead for My Betrothed

A Swiss chalet-style house located at 2894 Prospector Road in the summertime in a place called 150 Mile House, British Columbia, that was for sale / listed on RE/MAX.

It doesn't look like that in the winter up there.


A quick morning update on this the first full day of astronomical winter.

It will be quick as I want to try to get into work before 11AM today in order to finish two tasks. Also, we're having an in-office lunchtime potluck starting around 1130AM. (Well, lunchtime for me is more like 2PM, but this is more attuned the regular work schedule world.) Of note, I'm not expected to bring anything -- just myself. Funny how allowances are made for me.

I went to the gym last night and had a good multi-part workout ending with a swim.

More Mile 150 House: A lot for sale (Lot 17) on Gold Digger Drive, Mile 150 House, British Columbia, Canada.

For better or worse, I'm too much of a city person to live in a place like that. I know some folks would go happy nuts over an opportunity to live there.


So I tried to post an entry last night after I got back from the gym, but I just couldn't do it. For one thing, I read too many disparate online pieces -- including some interesting ones by Sean Illing (formerly of but spending his talents in far better fashion at his new gig these days).

As I tend to get distracted easily, each new piece I read becomes the focus of my thoughts and of a planned entry -- until it's so late that I need to go to bed and no entry happens.

This is going to be an ongoing difficult challenge for me in the Age of the Trumpian Kleptocracy and vicious One-Party GOP oligarchical rule.


Changing subjects to a happier matter ...

Now there's a faithful plush hippo:

Flippo, my plush baby hippo and trans-dimensional angelic being planning good things for the Multi-verse (even this shitty, broken local Universe corner of it).


For tonight, I don't really have any plans. I'm low on money although I may stop one of my usual places. I'll try to post an entry -- including links to the aforementioned pieces.

Oh, yes, I did propose to my BETROTHED, BIG Y'EYEMAH ... a.k.a., my Y'eyemapotamus... with the promise of a new life in Mile 150 House, British Columbia. But, alas, my dainty beloved said no, not at this time.

Maybe next time, darling. "Huggin' and chalkin'" and all that.


I'm taking tomorrow off from work (despite a negative vacation balance) and will try to do an assortment of chores -- gym, visit to Macy's to buy a birthday and Christmas present for my mom and perhaps a Christmas present for Ray, maybe finally get a haircut, and laundry. I'll head to their place on Saturday and return probably on Monday (the day after Christmas that this year is the actual federal holiday since Christmas falls on a Sunday).

The weather is sunny-to-partly cloudy and seasonable / blah with no active weather of any note forthcoming. Today's high should be around 50F (although at KDCA, it will invariably bump up several degrees higher). Rain is forecasted for Christmas eve followed by partly cloudy and about 49F on Xmas day.

Outdoor illuminated Christmas tree in Stanley Park, snowy in Vancouver, British Columbia. Source here.

Naturally, there's no snow here for Christmas and not even the slightest chance.

I mentioned in my previous entry the bizarre -- up to 50F above normal to nearly freezing -- temperature anomalies at and around the geographic North Pole expected today.

OK, that's all for now.