Friday, April 24, 2020

Friday Night Feature for April 24th, 2020: General and Weather Updates This COVID-19 Constricted and Contorted But Otherwise Lovely Springtime in Washington -OR- Murphy's Law, Then and Now

White flowers grow in profusion in a planter bed at the corner of 21st and N Streets NW, Washington, D.C.,
1:54 p.m., April 13, 2020

I assume these are some type of tulip flower. Whatever type, they are long-lasting flowers.

Of note, here is the same spot 10 days later (earlier this afternoon)...


This pictures in this entry are, once again, a mélange of images spring-themed images that I took over the past few weeks during this weird April -- still in semi-national and local lockdown over the COVID-19 situation and yet such a lovely month both weather-and-natural world-wise. However, I'm only providing captions to some of them.


Once again, there are images are from one of my few weekend walks this month in Georgetown's Oak Hill Cemetery -- such as the one above and below.

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I've been trying to post this personal update since Wednesday night but with no real luck. That being the case, I'll just do a brief recap of the past few nights and days...


For starters, on Wednesday night, I ended up bogged down in my previous entry that took a very long time to compose -- and I didn't actually post it until about 4 a.m. Thursday morning despite the 10:27 p.m. Wednesday night timestamp that I gave the entry (if only so that it was dated Earth Day 2020).


Last night, I got home and made dinner while watching The Munsters and Alice. I became very tired -- even falling asleep for a bit around 9 p.m. -- but then I woke up and ended up doing multiple loads of laundry while watching my late night TV (more on that topic in a bit).


Part of it might have been that I keep trying to go off the sertraline hydrochloride (Zoloft), but after about four days, I start feeling headachy and a "cloudy" dizzy, which I hate, so I take one, and that sort of cures the issue. Based upon my remaining supply from when I had a prescription (I used to take it daily), I can keep doing this for another year.

Yours truly at the base of a large Japanese maple, Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, D.C., April 13, 2020

This might be an Autumn Moon Japanese maple.

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It's now Friday night and I'm home from another one of my odd days in this seemingly endless COVID-19 partial lockdown time -- with no real end in sight for at least the next 1 to 2 months.

Andrea under a magnolia tree in Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, D.C., April 11, 2020

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While there are a number of things I would like to relate on the all-consuming "coronavirus" topic (i.e., on SARS-CoV-2 and the resulting COVID-19 pandemic), for this entry, I'm going to refrain from it since any discussion would quickly overwhelm this posting.


Finally, here is one of my final Oak Hill Cemetery pictures from my recent walks there. It is a picture of the grave marker of someone with the child-of-money name of Lucas Alexander DePeyster Kaempfer, a man who died much too young -- barely 4 months after his 24th birthday. In reading what's at those links about him and his father, needless to say, Lucas A.D. Kaempfer lived in a very different world than I do.


This is also one of the most recent headstones / burials in the cemetery, which is mostly filled with late 19th Century to mid-20th Century Washington High Society sorts. The dog sculpture forever waiting faithfully by the grave marker makes it heartachingly sad.


As an aside, even at 50, it's always very weird for me to see the birth and death dates of someone younger than I am -- understanding that their entire life was encompassed inside the span of mine. In this case, I came to the D.C. area in Sept 1992 at age 22 when this fellow was just six months old, and he died less than 4 years ago when I was 46.

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Ginormous oak tree in a clearing of Dumbarton Oaks Park, Washington, D.C., 3:09 p.m., April 11, 2020

This picture doesn't do justice to the tree's size.

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As a personal update...

Once again, I walked to my little office at L'Enfant Plaza in the early / mid afternoon on a net southwesterly route that involved another iteration of the zig-zap route I typically take involving some combination of the numbered and lettered streets between 22nd and 17th Streets NW and Pennsylvania Avenue, usually near the White House and Ellipse to the National Mall.


My "diagonal" route across the National Mall can, with virtually no detour, take me right up the slight rise to -- and around the base of -- the Washington Monument. Thence, it is over to L'Enfant Plaza and the small office in the hotel building where I am the only person (the other few coworkers fully teleworking for the last 5+ weeks).


To clarify, sometimes I just go to Farragut West Metro and catch it to L'Enfant Plaza. About the Metro system, it has had something like a 95% reduction in ridership during COVID-19-related lockdown and multiple stations including Smithsonian and Federal Triangle are closed. Oh, and the front and rear cars are now shut and dark -- for the sake of the drivers (since the trains are bidirectionally driven in even-numbered sets of "married pairs").

Spring day, Dumbarton Oaks Park, Washington, D.C.,
3:22 p.m., April 11, 2020

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As for the evenings, I typically take the Metro to Farragut West if I'm just walking home -- either up Connecticut Avenue or zig-zagging my way over to Massachusetts Avenue at Q Street between 21st and 22nd Streets -- or to Foggy Bottom if I'm going to the Whole Foods there.


Tonight, I went to Farragut West and walked home. I got home a bit later than I wanted precisely because I have a fair amount of work to finish in the next few weeks. And, yes, I realize how fortunate my situation is compared to so many at this time.


Speaking of Whole Foods, the one at Logan Circle had an outbreak of COVID-19 that got the attention of the New York Times because of the grocery store angle to it. That store has other issues with it given its location, daily throngs of people, and the mix of yuppies/millennials and homeless people.

One last item: There was definitely more vehicle traffic on the roads today than, say, two weeks ago.

Old gravestones (more than a few of which have toppled over), Holy Rood Cemetery, Washington, D.C., 4:16 p.m., April 11, 2020

I think this is another Japanese maple (different variety). Oh, and I guess I spend too much time gadding about cemeteries. Holy Rood, though, was a 19th and early 20th Century resting place for working class, and even African Americans. I say "was" because the cemetery no longer has interments -- the last one was probably in the 1980s.

Yours truly in Holy Rood Cemetery, Glover Park, Washington, D.C., 4:39 p.m., April 11, 2020

I had a bit of lunch and a couple of drinks, regular and alcoholic, with me in my backpack on this walk. (This was after stopping at the nearby Safeway.)

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Weather update...

The weather has been cool and alternating between sunny spring pleasant and April showers rainy. For the first time since November, we're actually on course for a month that ends up cooler than average rather than above-to-way above normal.

Last night was a rainy one across the region. Precipitation (rainfall) totals over the past two days ending at 5 p.m. today have been as follows:

KDCA: 1.35"
KBWI: 1.17"
KNAK: 1.36"
KDMH: 1.11"
KIAD: 0.69"

I need to note that KNAK's reported rainfall numbers have been squirrely -- with no measurable precip reported on its hourly obs, at least as tracked here, for at least three days. However, it came in with 1.36" today, as reported in the daily climate report.

As for KDMH, it has yet to go offline during that construction project.

This has been an exceptionally nice spring in terms of tender leafy greenery, blossoms, and flowers galore.


As a nighttime TV-viewing update...

I continue to get through this bizarre period with my comfort television thanks to the trio of digital over-the-air channels -- Antenna TV, Cozi TV, and MeTV -- of old and really old sitcoms and other shows (i.e., Perry Mason and The Twilight Zone).

With restaurants, bars, and the gym closed indefinitely, I try to get home from the office by 7 p.m., and not later than 7:30 p.m., in time to watch part or all of the two episodes of The Munsters, a show I find hilarious.

I've always liked The Munsters much more than The Addams Family.

While I usually watch Alice on Antenna TV at 8 and 8:30 p.m., sometimes I'll watch Frasier if it is a funny one.

Of note, the pair of Murphy Brown episodes in the wee hours (3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. on Antenna TV) Wednesday morning included the famous episode "Baby 101" in which Candice Bergen's Murphy Brown character has her baby.



I forgot what a good episode it was including the very end in which she sings Aretha Franklin's "A Natural Woman" to her newborn (see above YouTube clip; the volume is a bit low). (In the series, Murphy Brown is a huge Aretha Franklin fan.)


Just like I did with Baby Leander, I wonder who was the newborn baby used in that episode to play her son, Avery (who is named in a subsequent episode and in honor of Murphy's mother, Avery Brown, played by the late, great Colleen Dewhurst).

I also forget how stupid it was that then-VP Dan Quayle decided to make such a fuss about the fact that Murphy Brown was an unwed single mother "glamorizing" being born out of wedlock.

It was story that hit the media / entertainment complex's Culture Wars freak freely button -- as that complex existed in the pre-internet time of May 1992 when network and cable TV plus talk radio were the players.

Of course, in that long-ago pre-Trumpian time, Quayle's speech and the whole reaction seems kind of harmless. If you download the New York Times front page image below, it is a large one and you can read the intro to the article, which gives some period context.


In the 2018 Murphy Brown series reboot that formed Season 11 of the show -- twenty years after the original series went off the air -- her son, Avery, now 26 (in 2018), is a reporter for the fictitious "Wolf Network" -- which is, of course, a riff on Fox. Avery was played by actor Jake McDorman. Oh, and it just dawned on me, the fellow who died so young mentioned above -- Lucas Kaempfer -- was a two-month old infant at the time that the fictitious Avery Brown was born.


Alas, the series didn't survive its reboot and there will be no season 12.

Anyway, after all this TV viewing -- often spent while updating this damn blog in interminably long entries that no one reason -- I usually go to bed by 4 a.m.. Sometimes, though, I'll watch the first of the two episodes of It's a Living.

Of note, the actress from that show, Marian Mercer (shown at left), had the same birthday as I do: November 26th, although she was born in 1935, making her 34 on the day I was born. She passed just about nine years ago in April 2011 at age 75.

Marian Mercer was in one episode of The Golden Girls -- a show with two of the executive producers as It's a Living, namely, Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas -- in which she played Stan's cousin, Magda, a Communist by her own admission from former Czechoslovakia.

The two shows even use the same font for the credits. Susan Harris was a third executive producer for The Golden Girls. Harris was married to Witt until his death in 2018.

Their son is the interesting character of Sam Harris, whose numerous self-applied appellations -- to include neuroscientist, multi-school philosopher, and best-selling New York Times author, not to mention podcaster -- brought to my mind the titles of Voltaire's Candide character, Dr. Pangloss:

Metaphysico-Theologo-Cosmolonigology.

Other still-living performers and/or celebrities with a November 26th birthday include the great Tina Turner, voice impersonator Rich Little, and Daniel Davis of The Nanny fame.

Speaking of TV shows and actors from long ago, Tom Lester just passed away this week (on Monday). He played Eb Dawson on Green Acres (a program that is aired week nights on MeTV at 9:30 p.m.).

The cause of death was related to Parkinson's disease. Lester, 81, was the last regular cast member from that long-ago show.

Here is a tidbit from his Wikipedia article:

Lester was a farmer and for many years had been a Christian speaker who traveled the nation, preaching a message of faith and obedience. He still participated in autograph shows and fan forums, often dressed as Eb Dawson.

With the death of Mary Grace Canfield, who portrayed Ralph Monroe, on February 15, 2014, Lester was the last surviving regular cast member of Green Acres.

Another pic of a (Japanese maple?) tree in Holy Rood Cemetery, Washington, D.C., 4:40 p.m., April 11, 2020

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OK, I think at this point, I'm going to sign off. My plan is to post an entry tomorrow (Saturday) night, although it might not be until Sunday or Monday. For tomorrow afternoon, I plan to take a walk. As it is, it's supposed to be rainy, or at least showery, on Sunday. Given all the rain, it will probably be too muddy to do any walking in wooded areas.

2000 block N Street NW, Washington, D.C., 1:22 p.m.,
April 16, 2020

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Alright, goodnight for now.

--Regulus

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