The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Happy New Year!

Weather Now is all new.

We're ecstatic to roll out a completely new visual design by Katie Zoellner. It's actually been lurking as a Beta site for several months. We didn't roll it out because not all of the features from our old site (see are complete. But today is the first day of a new year, which we thought an appropriate moment to finally give Katie's design some exposure.

(Nearly-)Total Internationalization

Notice the flags along the left side of this page. Is one of those flags from your country? Click on it. Almost everything on the site will automagically show up in your country's main language.

We're still working on a lot of the translations, and some of them are tragicomically wrong. If you find a mistranslation, please let us know. We have plans to add a few more languages (does anyone speak Japanese, Mandarin, or Hindi?), as well as to make the site better at guessing your preference.

Also notice that you can now change easily between International System (metric) and English measurements. The site will get better at guessing each visitor's initial preference here, as well.

Vastly improved flexibility

All of the data pages use XML and XSL to provide the data you're looking for. This gives us much more flexibility, and allows us to vary the content much more than we've done in the past.

Take the home page, for example. Each of the sections is independent of the others. Soon, you'll be able to mix and match them as you'd like, or choose from one of the themes that we'll offer.

Lots more under the hood

The Site now uses the Inner Drive Extensible Architecture™ throughout. The Idea™ underpins all Inner Drive Technology applications, of which this is our biggest demonstration.

Stay tuned

We have a lot more cool tools planned for the site, including a massive upgrade of the geographical gazetteer that holds all of our place information and some neat things to do with your mobile PC.

While you were at war

Richard Clarke reminds the Administration (751 days, 2 hours) that Iraq isn't the only problem we face, even though it's consuming all of the Administration's bandwidth via Talking Points Memo):

National Security Council veteran Rand Beers has called this the "7-year-old's soccer syndrome"—just like little kids playing soccer, everyone forgets their particular positions and responsibilities and runs like a herd after the ball.
Without the distraction of the Iraq war, the administration would have spent this past year—indeed, every year since Sept. 11, 2001—focused on al-Qaeda. But beyond al-Qaeda and the broader struggle for peaceful coexistence with (and within) Islam, seven key "fires in the in-box" national security issues remain unattended, deteriorating and threatening, all while Washington's grown-up 7-year-olds play herd ball with Iraq.

Clarke's list of crises that merit attention, but haven't gotten any from the White House, will surprise exactly no one who has paid attention for the last five years.

Today's Daily Parker

I'm an hour late getting in TDP, for which I'm sorry. Today was the last business day of 2006, and possibly Parker's last day in the office for a while (I'll be working downtown starting next month). Fittingly, here's Parker, doing what he does best: being a good office puppy.

The ParkerCam will return!

(Possibly tomorrow...)

Sunrise chart for Chicago, 2007

It's time to update the sunrise chart. (You can get one for your own location at

Notice that in 2007, Daylight Saving Time lasts a lot longer than in years past: from the second Sunday in March through the first Sunday in November. This actually makes the autumn a little darker, as you can see from the chart.

Date Significance Sunrise Sunset Daylight
4 Jan Latest sunrise until Oct 30 07:19 16:33 9:13
28 Jan 5pm sunset 07:08 17:00 9:52
5 Feb 7am sunrise 06:59 17:10 10:10
20 Feb 5:30pm sunset 06:40 17:30 10:49
27 Feb 6:30am sunrise 06:29 17:38 11:08
10 Mar Earliest sunrise until April 15th
Earliest sunset until Oct 28th
06:11 17:51 11:39
11 Mar Daylight savings time begins
Latest sunrise until Oct 21st
07:10 18:52 11:42
17 Mar 7am sunrise 07:00 18:59 11:59
18 Mar 12-hour day 06:58 19:00 12:02
21 Mar Equinox, 00:07 (Mar 21) UTC (19:07 CDT) 06:53 19:04 12:11
3 Apr 6:30am sunrise (again) 06:30 19:18 12:47
13 Apr 7:30pm sunset 06:15 19:30 13:15
22 Apr 6am sunrise 06:00 19:40 13:39
10 May 8pm sunset 05:35 20:00 14:25
16 May 5:30am sunrise 05:30 20:04 14:34
15 Jun Earliest sunrises of the year 05:14 20:28 15:13
19 Jun 8:30pm sunset 05:15 20:30 15:14
21 Jun Solstice, 18:06 UTC (13:06 CDT) 05:15 20:30 15:15
27 Jun Latest sunset of the year 05:17 20:31 15:13
1 Jul 8:30pm sunset 05:19 20:30 15:11
17 Jul 5:30am sunrise 05:30 20:24 14:54
9 Aug 8pm sunset 05:52 20:00 14:08
17 Aug 6am sunrise 06:00 19:49 13:48
29 Aug 7:30pm sunset 06:13 19:30 13:17
15 Sep 6:30am sunrise; 7pm sunset 06:30 18:59 12:28
23 Sep Equinox, 09:51 UTC (04:51 CDT) 06:39 18:47 12:08
26 Sep 12-hour day 06:42 18:42 12:00
3 Oct 6:30pm sunset 06:49 18:29 11:39
13 Oct 7am sunrise 07:01 18:13 11:12
21 Oct 6pm sunset 07:10 18:00 10:50
3 Nov Latest sunrise of the year
Latest sunset until Mar 2nd
07:25 17:43 10:17
4 Nov Standard time returns
Earliest sunrise until Feb 29th
06:27 16:41 10:14
7 Nov 6:30am sunrise (again) 06:30 16:38 10:07
15 Nov 4:30pm sunset 06:40 16:30 9:49
2 Dec 7am sunrise 07:00 16:20 9:20
8 Dec Earliest sunset of the year 07:06 16:20 9:13
21 Dec Solstice, 00:08 (Dec 22) UTC (18:08 CST) 07:15 16:22 9:06

You can get sunrise information for your location at

Today's Daily Parker

The couch is dead. We're going to take it to the street tonight or tomorrow, because Parker has quite literally beaten the stuffing out of it. He even knows he's being bad, running away from it the moment I take a step toward him. But just seconds after I turn away, there he is again, performing dog-o-suction on the cushions:

I'm going to bet that no one takes it before the trash haulers find it. I might even bet that they will leave it behind, too.

Before there was Parker...

...there was Eliza:

I got my first camera in June 1983. Now, more than 23 years later, I'm scanning all the old slides and negatives. It's a little trippy. I keep finding things like this photo of the pet gerbil I had back then.

I've also found a whole bunch of documentary shots around Northbrook, Ill., where I grew up. I'll re-shoot some of these at some point and post some then-and-now views. Here's a preview: the LP stacks at the Northbrook Public Library. They were still about two years from their first CD player.

Today's Daily Parker

Parker is back in the office!

We had quite a full weekend. We drove down to see the in-laws in St. Louis, and for the first time on a drive of any length, Parker didn't puke. If you've never dealt with a car-sick puppy before, you can't fathom how important this is. Trust me.

While in St. Louis, Parker met my brother-in-law's dog, Biscuit. She's 18 months old (to Parker's 6), and about the same size (18 kg, 40 lbs). Plus, she's cute. I think Parker's smitten. They played for the entire weekend, and only had one minor scrap over property rights when Biscuit tried to walk off with the bully stick Parker was gnawing.


Unusual aircraft maintenance rituals

Via AVWeb: An aviation mechanic crew chief at Istanbul's airport got fired for allowing a ritual camel sacrifice on the tarmac:

A crew of mechanics at Istanbul's airport were so glad to be rid of some trouble-prone British-made airplanes that they sacrificed a camel on the tarmac in celebration—prompting the firing [December 13] of their supervisor.
Turks traditionally sacrifice animals as an offering to God for when their wishes come true.

So...does this mean God did not accept the sacrifice?

Internship for the donor's kid

I haven't really formed an opinion on Sen. Obama's office giving an internship to the son of a guy who gave $10,000 to the 2004 campaign. I'm not really surprised, nor do I really think it's a big deal. I've got a sort-of meta-concern about it, because I think it presages the kinds of stories we'll have to read every week after Obama announces he's running for President.

Perhaps I've just got a typical native Chicagoan's indifference to petty nepotism. I'm wondering if this hints at a deeper connection with Rezko that will come out closer to the primaries next Winter. Or if, as it appears from the pro-Obama camp, this looks more like Rezko trying to get in with Obama, who in turn sensed the danger and kept Rezko at arm's length.

I'm sure we'll hear more about it over the summer.