Thursday, May 28, 2020

Seeking and Finding Any Oasis -OR- A Farrago of Ugly Trumpian Topical Odds & D.C. Springtime Pretty Picture Ends in the Time of Covid-19

Above: The tiny oasis town of Bardaï in the Tibesti Region of northern Chad (Tchad?) deep in the endless Sahara Desert of North Africa. I just really like the picture. Others of the town that I found don't look quite so One Thousand and One Nights fabled:

Bardaï Central Market, Nov 26, 2014 (coincidentally, my 45th birthday); photo by Flickr user David Young, who seems to be something of a globe-trotting professional photographer.


As for the remaining pictures in this entry, specifically, the outdoor ones here in D.C., they are from the sets that I took over the past several weeks (in April and May) while on various daytime walks. They are not topically related to the entry, and I'm not captioning them. The file names contain location and time info.

Wednesday night. Well, it'll be Thursday morningwee hours by the time I posted this entry.

I'm home in my small, comfortable, carpeted, dimly lamp-lit apartment. The window a/c is purring away and its comfortably cool inside.

I'm watching TV. The Carol Burnett Show just ended and Perry Mason is now on. It is "The Case of the Shifty Shoebox," an episode I have not previously seen. A young Billy Mumy is featured in it. There is also The Twilight Zone, The Nanny, Designing Woman, Murphy Brown, and It's a Living, among the late night shows that I watch.

Great Lakes sector base reflectivity radar mosaic looped 0318 - 0428 UTC 28 May 2020


The night is a warm and rather humid one outside (73°F / 67°F dew point) with a nominal but hardly impressive-looking chance of rain. There is a tropical fetch -- and, indeed, even a remnant quasi-tropical system bringing lots of rain to parts of North Carolina and southwestern Virginia.

NWS/WPC/NDFD U.S. surface weather map forecast looped 06Z 28 May to 00Z 30 May 2020 showing fronts, precipitation type, and likelihood


However, for the second time in as many weeks, a highly meridionally elongated, stagnant pattern is causing everything to miss the "DMV" region. This includes two pre-season sub/hybrid weak tropical systems that NHC felt compelled to name (Arthur last week, Bertha this week).

Various dynamics from the 0Z 5/28/2020 GFS in six-hour time steps through hour 48

These include Q divergence, stream function, 850-mb vorticity, and irrotational wind.


We are not in any sort of drought, but these blocked / anomalous patterns are annoying since we always miss out everything. Sterling (LWX) itself manages to remove the joyful interest out of ANY weather situation.

There are a lot of things I want to write about but it just takes so long to compose an entry, and then I end up awake literally all night watching my old comfort TV shows on one of three channels (MeTV, Cozi TV, and Antenna TV) and surfing the internet, not to mention having some drinks.

Last night, I actually didn't get to bed until 6:30 a.m., as I was reading astronomy news and listening to music on YouTube. Despite that, I still got up by 11 a.m., and after getting properly ready, walked to the office at L'Enfant Plaza, where I continue to be the only person who is physically going into that office until further notice.

About postings, I would like to compose a topically-themed entry, in particular, one one related to the Covid-19 pandemic ("public health emergency") and all related matters:

New York Time print edition front page,
Sunday, May 24, 2020

The print edition contained three full pages totaling 1,000 deaths -- or 1% of the total, so you would need 300 pages to get the full death toll.

Topic: The gyrating number of new cases and daily deaths here in the United States -- with a slight and recently sharp downward trends, respectively, but the death toll having definitively crossed the psychologically disturbing 100,000 threshold ...

Washington Post online headline tonight

The print edition for May 28, 2020 will probably have a very similar headline.


Topic: The flash economic depression that the United States (and much of the world) has entered as a result of the pandemic and preliminary efforts at staged, phased reopening (including here in D.C. starting on Friday) ...

Above: Truly chart-distorting staggering unemployment numbers. The April U-3 rate of 14.7% is likely to reach at least 20% in May as it peaks in the Great Depression-level 20 to 25% range


Topic: The "culture war" crap involving the response to Covid-19 including the "mask wars" and Trump's stoking of conflict for his own purposes ...

Trump wearing a mask when he thought no cameras were around while touring the Ford Rawsonville Components Plant, Ypsilanti, Mich., May 21, 2020.

The plant is manufacturing ventilators, masks, and other medical supplies at the present time. Fortunately, and whether through extreme social distancing or whatever, there has not been here in the United States -- even in the New York City pandemic "hot zone" at its peak six weeks ago -- the sort of life-and-death acute ventilator shortage that there was in Italy.


About that, I still refuse to wear any OUTSIDE -- and despite some D.C.-style ugliness involving certain uber-PC aggressive lesbians and trying to stick their scrawny arms in your face while walking past them on the sidewalk or other fearful females leaping into oncoming vehicle traffic rather than get within 12 feet of you -- but of course I wear a mask (I presently have seven of them) in stores and, yes, on that damn Metro. It's just easier.

Topic: Trump and his his never ending stream of obscene tweets that appeal to his grotesque base locked in the Jonestown phase of the Trumpian cult and libertarian ass-hats everywhere while Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg seek to become trillionaires before Jeff Bezos.

Topic: All these present day Big Tech billionaires, not to mention Bezos and whatever is his supposed to be his business model (a planetary-scale company store owner, I guess), are just parasites and the platforms they created vectors for the breakdown of civil society, indeed, the human psyche outright.

A Better Topic: Trump and his actually downward-trending poll numbers ...

Trump 538 adjusted approval / disapproval trend through May 27, 2020

Of note, the uncorrected Rasmussen daily tracking poll -- historically a Trump/GOP-friendly polling outfit -- reached 42 approval / 57 disapproval or minus 11 points, the highest such negative reading since Jan 2018.


Topic: Trump and the upcoming election ... Although this topic is so volatile and agonizing that I think it best to postpone talking about it until the election is upon us.

For that matter, Trump, Trump, Trump, and this perverted dystopian reality we find ourselves in which he is less a human being leader of the country and more our collectively vomited hairball of everything wrong with American society in the early 2020s.

There seems to be a pattern here.

Topic: Then there is also my own pet issue of how the Republican Party has so much institutional power but is really powerless and ineffectual against the unstoppable power of the Culturally Marxist identity-based PC left and its endless, nihilistic twitter mobs that are forever seeking targets to vaporize from public and private life (like that New York Central Park white lady and the black bird watcher and the whole silly obligatory media "Race in America" passion play that we must endure).

But that sort of entry composition is not going to happen tonight. I'll be up until at least 4 a.m., and once I get past the two episodes of that strangely enjoyable 1980s show It's a Living (on Antenna TV at 4:00 and 4:30 a.m.) with its fun opening theme song, then I know its hopelessly late (early).

That being the case, for this entry, I'm just featuring this list of topical ideas without delving into any of them in detail.

I would like to note here that I updated two of my recent entries including this one on the grave and gravesite of a little boy (7 years old) named Chester J. Rivers in Alexandria who died a long time ago (in 1968) to note that there is a second similar grave in close proximity for an even younger boy (2 years old) named Dennis James McCargo who died not long thereafter (in 1970).

I also updated my extended entry on Columbia University Astronomy Prof David Kipping's work on exoplanets and the chances of abiogenesis to include a new study that he has that came out earlier this month. As I noted in that update, I honestly don't know if that news somehow is why I discovered the Cool Worlds Lab website and YouTube channel last Friday night. But the update is highly relevant to the larger piece.

Speaking of astronomy news -- but on a far, far closer to home and more personal scale but still very noteworthy -- the planned launch earlier today of two NASA astronauts (Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, pictured directly above on March 30th) to the International Space Station (ISS) in the first manned ("crewed") spacecraft since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 was delayed due to stormy weather around Cape Canaveral.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon space capsule atop a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket -- intended to be the spacecraft's final demonstration flight before NASA certifies SpaceX to make regular flights to the ISS -- is now scheduled for Saturday, May 30th at 3:22 p.m. ET. I really hope all goes well.

A lot is riding on this and the abso-frickin-lutely last thing we need as a country or for the world right now is any trouble with this endeavor.

Here is the New York Times article on it, updated to reference the delay. Yes, it's a delay, but only a minor one -- and better delay it than have any mishaps, directly or indirectly caused by the weather.

Before ending, I would like to post a link to this New York Times op-ed that appeared earlier today by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson -- authors of the upcoming book Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality. Their op-ed is entitled [link embedded]: Republicans Think They Can Get Away With It. They Might Be Right.

I may repost this op-ed in its entirety in an upcoming entry because it delves into those political topics that really interest me involving the counter-majoritarian structures and levers of power that are used by the GOP to maintain its hold in a country in which it is an ever-shrinking relative minority.

And on that note, I will end this entry. My next planned entry will be on Friday or Saturday.


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