The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

People doing it completely wrong

If he were even a tiny bit better as a human being, I might have some empathy for the old man clearly suffering from some kind of dementia who spoke in Doral, Fla., yesterday. But he's not, so I don't. I mean...just read the highlights.

In other news:

Finally, I got two emails through the contact-us page from the "Brand Ambassador & Link Approval Specialist" at a little company in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick demanding that we remove a link from a post to their site. Each email was clearly the output of an automated process that must have scraped every post on The Daily Parker—all 9,479 of them—more than once, because each email had a different fully-qualified domain name and most of the links they included were for category or history pages. Clearly the BALAS hadn't actually read the post that contained the link. 

The request read: "We kindly request the immediate removal of these links to SchengenVisaInfo.com from your page because SchengenVisaInfo maintains strict editorial control over the information it provides. As such, we do not endorse the linking of our website without our prior consent."

This is dumb for several reasons. First, the emails provide clear evidence that they ran a bot over The Daily Parker more than once, which is rude. Second, this particular link could only benefit the complaining firm as it appeared in context as a way of finding out more about exactly what the company offered. And finally, before you send an email like that, you should confirm that the site you're complaining to won't ridicule you and your firm in a subsequent post.

Of course I removed the link. There are many better sources of information on the topic out there.

(Note to self: remove the company's name before posting!)

Feeling a little better, weather a lot better

A cool front came through last night and I no longer want to take a shower every 45 minutes:

The dewpoint also dropped, from a sticky 26°C yesterday afternoon to a comfortable 13°C right now. Cassie and I will take advantage of this delightful development in about half an hour. I'm hoping we get a good 10-12 km in over two hours or so.

Speaking of weather, the WGN Weather Blog reminded me this morning of the twin derechos that tore through Northern Illinois 10 years ago today. And Facebook reminded me that I got drenched in the first one. Parts of Chicago got 100 mm of rain in as many minutes, while a poor town in Iowa got 207 mm in the storm. That's a lot of rain.

Sticky weather + cooped up with Covid = 2pm shower

Cassie and I have gone on two walks today, the first for 3.2 km and the second for 4.25 km, despite the really uncomfortable 26°C dewpoint. I mean, it's really gross out there. Fortunately because of the way dogs get rid of excess heat, it didn't bother her as much as it bothered me—the air is only 28°C, after all. But we both felt a lot better when we got back to my air-conditioned house. (Fun fact: my thermostat is set for 25°C, but the dewpoint inside is closer to 15°C which makes all the difference.)

Another person who values comfort over just about everything else is Chicago Transit Authority president Dorval Carter, who on Thursday took a "legislative tour" of the transit system he ostensibly runs, prompting Chicago Tribune reporter Alice Yin to arch an eyebrow:

[T]he sight of many Chicago-based politicians partaking in the tour with Carter — who himself has drawn heat for not using CTA buses and trains more — raised the question why do they need a guide to familiarize them with their own city’s public transit agency?

[Chicago mayor Brandon] Johnson’s office did push the effort via a flyer from his intergovernmental affairs office that reads: “Legislative Tour featuring CTA, Chicago Park District, Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus and Chicago’s Urban Historian Sherman ‘Dilla’ Thomas.” His IGA head, Sydney Holman, also gave remarks, the CTA statement noted.

The description says the four-hour tour began at CTA’s headquarters in the West Loop before stopping at three locations “while experiencing transit as everyday Chicagoans on a quick Green Line ride on Chicago’s West Side.” Barreto’s post, meanwhile, said 10 state representatives, two state senators and seven aldermen joined Wednesday.

The flyer also notes: “Limited paid street parking available and one public lot at 180 N Jefferson $16.50 for 6 hours.”

I have a friend who works at Amtrak's head office because he loves trains. He and his wife took a 7-day vacation earlier this year, starting on the 46-hour Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle. Would it kill Patrick to maybe take the Red Line once in a while? Or maybe get a job doing something where he doesn't have to get a tour of the place where his customers spend all their time after having the job for several years?

Gadammit

Yesterday's productivity apparently included my nose producing a few billion coronaviruses:

This comes almost exactly two years after my last bout with the disease (that I know of). That one took about 5 days to resolve, so I figure I'll be fine by Tuesday. I've had a couple of colds since June 2022 but tested negative for SARS-Cov-2, though before 2020 I rarely got colds of any kind.

I'll get my next Covid booster in September when flu shots come out, but I think going forward, I'll get one every six months instead of annually. This virus really won't go away soon enough.

Really lucky timing this morning

I woke up at my usual time this morning, noticed how dark it was, checked radar, and got Cassie out the door less than 10 minutes later. Because by the time I had her to day camp and got myself to the Metra platform, it looked like this:

Waiting for the train, I got this:

But what luck, it let up just as the train arrived. The photo doesn't do it justice: those are horizontal rain bands, and I was standing behind a window.

By the time I got down to Ogilvie, we had this:

Again, just a bit of light rain as I walked the 300 meters from OTC to my office.

I would like to point out that Governor JB Pritzker (D) made my morning commute possible today, by restoring funding to the Ravenswood Metra station construction that took 12 years to complete because of his Republican predecessor's ideological cruelty. I really hope that Bruce Rauner goes to hell, and has to stand on the temporary, unsheltered platform for every minute that every commuter had to over the years we waited for the project to resume.

Now we're just waiting for the new Alstom train sets to arrive (probably 3 years from now) and for the electrification of the remaining diesel-powered Metra lines (probably 40 years from now). Apparently, though, adding a third track to the UP-N mainline between Rogers Park and Clybourn might happen before 2035. We'll see.

Lazy Sunday

Butters Poochface has gone home, Cassie and I have taken about an hour of walks so far, and the temperature hasn't yet cracked 25°C.

I'm about to upend Cassie's life, though. It's bath time. Even one night boarding can create an awful smell.

Wish me luck. Last time I bathed her, Cassie accepted her fate with grace and humility. The time before that she...didn't.

Gonna be a hot one

I've got a performance this evening that requires being on-site at the venue for most of the day. So in a few minutes I'll take two dogs to boarding (the houseguest is another performer's dog), get packed, an start heading to a hockey rink in another city. Fun! If I'm supremely lucky, I'll get back home before the storm.

Since I also have to travel to the venue, I'll have time to read a few of these:

Finally, the Post examined a Social Security Administration dataset yesterday that shows how baby names have converged on a few patterns in the last decade. If you think there are a lot of names ending in -son lately (Jason, Jackson, Mason, Grayson, Failson...), you're not wrong.

Houseguest for a night

Butters is back at IDTWHQ:

Just for one night, though. Cassie seemed pretty happy when Butters' person dropped her off, but after a 35-minute walk (that should have been about 20% shorter) with Butters pulling against the flow of traffic, I think Cassie got a little irritated:

Between Cassie and me, who together out-mass Butters by almost 10:1, we got Butters moving on more than one occasion when Butters didn't want to.

Butters is now crashed out on the dog bed in my office. It's kind of adorable.

RIP Carmen Sancicada (2007-2024)

I had a dentist appointment up in Hubbard Woods this morning, so I took half a day off and had a relaxing walk through Winnetka. And as on Sunday, I encountered a lot of cicadas.

I found one attached to my bag as I boarded the train back to the Loop:

She* tried wandering off the bag in various directions, which prompted me to help her out from time to time. She could not get a grip, mentally or physically, on the outer surface of my bag, nor on the vinyl seats or metal frame of the train car. By the time we got to downtown Chicago, she had gone about 2,000 times farther than she ever would have gone without bumping into me (unless the wind or an animal gives them a push, cicadas live and die within about 15 meters of where they emerge), and she was thoroughly exhausted. I suspect she was already exhausted when she attached herself to my bag, though.

She finally stopped trying to go somewhere and remained attached to my bag as I got off the train:

Alas, when I stopped to get another selfie with her by the schedule board, she was gone. I infer she jumped or fell off my bag onto the platform, and with all the people getting off the train, I further infer that she remains on the platform still, albeit a lot thinner and a lot less alive.

Poor thing. I hope she at least enjoyed the adventure, and that she died quickly and painlessly. I suspect, however, she spent the last hour of her life completely bewildered.

* Female cicadas have pointy abdomens, while male cicadas have buzzing plates on the thorax. Also, male cicadas tend to buzz when you pick them up; females don't.