The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog


Parker and I are home, unpacked, and well-rested. Part of the well-rested bit resulted from three days of rain. When you go to a cabin in the woods and plan on lots of hiking, and no hiking happens, there is disappointment.

There is also a serendipitous find: Scratch Beer in Ana, Illinois. They make beers from locally-found ingredients: Pignut Ale, from local pignut hickory nuts. Pumpkin seed ale, which "DOES NOT TASTE LIKE PUMPKIN SPICE OR PUMPKIN PIE." I'll have photos tomorrow.

Right now: unpacking, laundry, deleting hundreds of emails, and sampling Grand River Spirits whiskey.

Slow posting

I'm traveling this weekend for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, so posting will be sparse. We don't have WiFi but we do have topography:

Late autumn in Chicago

Sunday morning, after Saturday's snowstorm:

Last night, making mini turkey pot pies for tomorrow:

That's all from scratch. Inside a rosemary-sage crust, from the bottom we've got turkey, pinot noir-reduction gravy, stuffing with organic Italian sausage, and cranberry sauce made with cranberries, orange, honey, and a secret ingredient that makes them amazing.

I think I'm going to gain three kilos this weekend.

Things to read

A couple of articles floated through my awareness today:

Happy reading.


Craft Brewery Central

By one measure, Chicago is the Craft Beer Capital of the U.S.:

Craft brewers in the Chicago area occupy an estimated 1.6 million square feet of commercial real estate, more than any other metro area in the country, according to a report from Seattle-based brokerage Colliers International. The area also has the second-most craft breweries with 144, behind only Portland, Ore.'s 196.

And craft beer—defined as being made by small, independent brewers—is still growing here. Just four U.S. markets have more breweries in the planning stages than the 39 in Chicago. (This was Colliers' first report on the subject, making comparisons to past years difficult.)

Never has Chicago had so many breweries. The last peak was around the start of the 20th century, when the city had about 60 small breweries that combined to produce about 100 million gallons of beer a year (compared with 12.4 million in 2014). Prohibition wiped out most of them. The few that survived into the middle of the century were either purchased by rivals or shut down, victims of national beer brands that gobbled up much of the market by selling less-expensive beer in cans.

I have expressed concern about the big guys buying up the craft guys, but this new statistic warms my heart. We might still have craft beer in Chicago come 2050...

Missing my Fitbit numbers

For the last couple of days, I've missed my 10,000-step goal by 100 to 500 steps. This is why:

Yesterday Chicago got its biggest November snowfall in 120 years; today it's well below freezing. Walking is treacherous at best for bipeds and uncomfortable for quadrupeds. So today might also be a miss.

I haven't missed three days in a row since March 5th-7th—when, not coincidentally, we had a miserable, snowy week. Winter is hard on fitness.

If I had a month off

I might follow this map. Explanation:

Community beer and brewery review site RateBeer puts out a list every year of the top 100 breweries in the world, “according to reviews taken last year and weighted by performance within and outside of style, balanced by indicators of depth.” From this year's list, 72 of the breweries are based in the United States.

Randal Olson found a pretty good solution using genetic algorithms and the Google Maps API. He computed an optimal road trip to visit a historical landmark in each state.

Forget that though. I want beer. Tasty beer. I applied Olson's solution to breweries to get the order in which to visit them in the least miles possible.

The trip to see just the 70 breweries on Yau's list takes 197 hours over 19,789 km. He thinks he can do it in 8 days. Or he can stop at any of the 1,414 other breweries in between and extend the trip to a month.

On the other hand, given the same amount of time off, I might rather do a oneworld explorer fare.

Lottery, anyone?

Whoops (10 years, plus a few days)

I missed an important anniversary last Friday, probably because I was traveling and got distracted.

The Daily Parker is now ten years (and six days) old. I launched it officially on 13 November 2005, from Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters in Evanston, Ill.

In the 10 years ending last Thursday night, I posted 4,842 entries, averaging 40 per month, or one every 32 hours or so. Not a bad record.

Any odds the blog will be around another 10 years?

Good, bad, and ugly, episode 314

The good: A new study shows that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day has measurable health benefits.

The bad: A black resident of Santa Monica, Calif., got hauled out of her apartment at gunpoint by 19 police officers after a white neighbor reported someone trying to break in.

The ugly: Yale law student Omar Aziz writes about the soul of a Jihadist.

And the neutral, which could be ugly: forecasters predict 15-30 cm of snow in Chicago tomorrow night into Saturday morning.