Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Neither Terrific Nor Terrible Tuesday Night Pyle of a Posting: Snowless Sunday Recap, Rainy Record Expectation, Trump's Oval Office Public Tantrum -OR- Washington, D.C., Then and Now

Winter bare forest silhouetted on a softly illuminated sky overcast sky along a trail in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C., Dec 9, 2018

Several pictures in this entry are from a Sunday afternoon-to-evening walking with Chester in Rock Creek Park. Chester took them since my flip-open cellphone camera couldn't possibly take decent pictures that day.


I'm back from the gym and work, where I've been fairly busy at work yesterday (Monday) and today. This included doing some work last night from home, which is why I didn't even try to post an entry.

I'm home at this late hour watching the usual MeTV line up - Hogan's Heroes, Carol Burnett & Friends, Perry Mason, and The Twilight Zone (unless I dislike the episode -- some are terrific and others I can't watch).

Speaking of old television …

After work yesterday, I stopped at Provision for some dinner and then got home at 7:30 p.m. and watched the MeTV line up beginning earlier to include Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and WKRP in Cincinnati.

The former featured one of the (few?) episodes featuring Gomer in Washington, D.C., in this case, with Sgt. Carter in the episode "Gomer Says 'Hey' to the President."

There is some footage with Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle taken around the National Mall and the familiar sites including the Capitol exterior, the Washington Monument, and the Smithsonian (including the Arts and Industries wing). But from 1967.

Here are some screenshots from a YouTube version of the entire episode:

Gomer photographing the U.S. Capitol Building

This is seen from the west side. Taken long before 9/11 and anthrax attacks and Capitol Police security theatre, you could go up the West Steps of the Capitol.


Screenshot from this episode: Gomer taking a picture of the Jefferson Memorial.

Note in this picture the trees on either side of the Jefferson Memorial -- including the ones that appear behind the camera strap of Jim Nabors' Gomer Pyle character.

I point this out because there are a series of trees including at least one (and perhaps a cluster of) white pine tree(s) growing on what is the northeast side -- corresponding to the left sides of the images above. There also appear to be some pines or firs growing on the south side. What's more, at least some of these trees are the same from 50 years ago -- although they lot taller than they appear in this image below:

This is a much more recent picture of the Jefferson Memorial -- within the last 5 to 10 years. I know this because the exterior dome has that weird "biofilm" on it that the National Park Service keeps trying to find methods to remove. Note how much bigger are the trees on either side.

Undated NPS photo of the Jefferson Memorial with the white pine(s) clearly visible on the left.

I should walk down there at some point and see for my self how many of these white pine trees there are.

And, no, I'm not talking about the goddamn Yoshino ("Japanese cherry") trees that ring the Tidal Basin. I usually avoid those, at least in the spring.


Screenshot from this episode: Gomer Pyle and a tour group at the Washington Monument

The black lady in the orange dress with the big white handbag ("pocketbook") intrigued me. Almost despite herself, she appears to throw some shade his way. Judge for yourself:


Screenshot from this episode: Gomer's tour guide standing several hundred feet NW of the Washington Monument

In the episode, you can watch several figures -- at least two wearing white summer clothing -- walk in the distance across the shot. They appear just over the tour guide's right shoulder. The view would be toward the northwest. For some reason, the ordinariness of that D.C. tourist visit from 50+ years ago just captured me.


Screenshot from this episode: Gomer Pyle on a tour bus outside the Smithsonian castle

I work quite close to the Smithsonian -- barely a five minute walk away at L'Enfant Plaza. That this was 50 years ago and what the world of Washington was like then just seems so weird to me.


According to IMDb, this episode first aired on Oct 20, 1967, so it was probably filmed a few months earlier or 2-1/2 years before I was born.) However, they are in color and look like the could have been filmed in the more recent past (see images above). Very strange thought to think of D.C. back then -- nearly 30 years before I would arrive here and now a half century ago.

Again, a weird thought.

And a half century from now, who knows how the world, much less Washington, D.C., will be. Regardless, I'll be long gone and totally forgotten from D.C.

Updated 10:06 p.m. 12/15/2018

It turns out that there were a trio of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. episodes in which Gomer was supposed to be in D.C. to include the one mentioned above and the two that followed -- "A Child Shall Lead Them" (initially aired Oct 27, 1967) and "The Show Must Go On" (initially aired Nov 3, 1967).

The third episode is the one features Gomer's tremendous rendition of "The Impossible Dream" -- a performance that really jump-started Jim Nabors' singing career.

End of Update.

Yours truly on a gray and cold day in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C., Dec 9, 2018


On Sunday, Chester texted me and we arranged to take a walk from Silver Spring Metro (where we met) into Rock Creek Park and -- after a wending way that was partly on the Valley Trail -- a name that doesn't do justice to all its hills -- through the tangle of forest.

Photo of the exterior of Peirce Mill in what looks like late winter (judging by the Sun angle); photo by William Mills.


We made it by December early darkness to Peirce Mill (yes, "Peirce," not "Pierce") -- see pic directly above -- and thence up Tilden Street to Connecticut Ave in Cleveland Park. We then stopped for dinner and (for me) a few drinks at St. Arnold's.

Another version of the picture of yours truly in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C., Dec 9, 2018


The weather that day was quite overcast and cold with temps only around 35F. The solid, opaque overcast made for a very somber gray day that morphed into a softly illuminated night as seen from the winter-bare forest of Rock Creek Park as a result of the not-too-distant lights of the surrounding city, especially to the south.

Silhouetted images of the nighttime forest on a overcast night, the cloud base wanly illuminated by nearby city lights, Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C., Dec 9, 2018


About those clouds, they were associated with a potent southern stream winter storm system that, as predicted well by the models, JUST MISSED the immediate D.C. area as a result of a high pressure block and dry air in place.

Map of heavy snowfall across interior sections of the Southeastern U.S., 08 - 10 Dec 2018 with 17+ inch totals in select locations noted.


The storm dumped a large amount of snow across portions of the interior Southeast with widespread amounts of 15 to 20 inches. Roanoke racked up its snowiest December day ever (15.0 inches) while Richmond recorded its second snowiest December day ever (11.5 inches) -- see image directly below.

Top 10 snowiest December days through Dec 10, 2018 for Roanoke (KROA), left and Richmond (KRIC), right


The northernmost extent of the snow shield got literally within 20 miles of D.C. -- I think places such as Fort Belvoir and Lorton had some flurries. Dale City recorded about 0.5 inches and Woodbridge around an inch. Just south of the immediate D.C. area, Fredericksburg picked up 4 to 6 inches.

Mid-Atlantic and Southeast 48-hour snowfall map ending 7 a.m. EST Dec 10, 2018


The images and pictures regarding this snowfall are taken from this CWG entry (link embedded): Southern storm dumps historic amounts of snow in Mid-Atlantic: Here's how much fell.

Directly below are a couple of snowy scene pics from the areas of biggest snowfall:

Newfound Gap, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, morning Dec 10, 2018


Snowy view, Burnsville, N.C., Dec 10, 2018


We didn't get shit here in D.C. -- not even a flurry -- thus continuing our relentless trend. But I knew that was going to happen and, honestly, while a bit disappointed there was no lovely snowy forest walk, it was more of a relief than anything since the aftermath is always a giant, messy, pain-in-the-ass. Even without a flurry, though, a shit-ton of toxic rock salt was scattered everywhere around D.C. I wish that shit were illegal.

Use sand. Or maybe POUND sand.

As it is, I'm more interested in the impending heavy rain event for Friday into Saturday that SHOULD drop more than enough to get that fucking rain gauge at National Airport (the KDCA AWPAG) over 61.33 inches and thus set a new wettest-year ever. KDCA is presently at 60.78" -- just behind the 60.83" set in 2003 and the pre-airport period record of 61.33" in 1889.

KBWI surpassed its old record (62.66" in 2003) on Nov 15th -- and it occurred, ironically, in a minor snow.

KIAD is at 61.30" but it's doubtful it will surpass the 65.69" wettest year tally set in 2003 by Dec. 31st.

I'll have more to say about this weather event in the coming days, but here is the 5-day QPF for the Lower 48 from the NWS:

NWS/NCEP/WPC 5-day quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) for the US Lower 48, valid 0Z 12 Dec - 0Z 17 Dec 2018


I'm going to refrain from any political discussion here even though Trump and his mentally (syphilitically?)-addled brain are getting worse. The Oval Office televised farce today with Trump arguing semi-incoherently with the incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in front of the cameras was one for the presidential history books.

Scene in the Oval Office earlier today, Dec 11, 2018

Yes, Pence was there. Didn't say a word. What a smarmy, fundie-crazy but, thankfully, lazy douchebag.


It was embarrassing and painful to watch. True, it won't change the warped minds of the Fox News-addled MAGA hat-wearing crowd but who cares at this point. However, as this WaPo article states, it gave Trump a taste of the new power dynamic in Washington.

Image of a video still from the Washington Post of the same shit show.


However, I'd like to post an excerpt from Jonathan Chait's piece earlier today on Trump's ongoing search for a third White House Chief of Staff -- now that John Kelly is (finally) leaving (link embedded): Trump Boasts at Least 10 Americans Willing to Take Job As His Chief of Staff.


Of all the positions one can have working for Trump, there is none more predetermined to fail than chief of staff. (The sole possible exception is "wife.")


Trump's chief of staff is tasked with forcing him to do the job of president when his preference is to binge-watch Fox News and gab on the phone with assorted kooks, most of whom are also from Fox News.

The chief of staff is thrust into the role of stern, disapproving governess, while paradoxically having to treat his ward like a great man of history.

The contradictions between Trump's irrepressible infantilism and the need to conceal it leads Trump to humiliate whomever holds the position.

OK, that's all for now.

For tomorrow, I'm supposed to go over to Fred and Doug's place to watch some episodes of 'Allo 'Allo! We didn't do it this past Sunday as both I and they were engaged. For what I did, see above.

We are making our way through the especially extensive fifth season.

Signing off for now. My next planned update will be late Thursday.


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