Yesterday's temperature at O'Hare got up to 21°C, which we last hit on November 5th, and is the normal temperature for May 15th. It was quite a lovely day, in fact. Tom Skilling pointed out that this was the earliest 21°C day in 16 years, and was 3 weeks earlier than the average date of its first occurrence based on 145 years of data.
I tried, I really tried, to hit 30,000 steps, but...well:
Crap. I missed 30,000 by 225 steps, and missed my record by only 721:
|2015 Apr 26
|2016 Mar 8
|2015 Jun 15
|2015 May 2
|2015 Sep 5
Note that on September 5th I also missed a goal by almost the same amount. Quite irritating. Still, yesterday's step count was fully 4.86 standard deviations above my mean daily count of 12,660, so it was a pretty good effort. (At this point today I'm already up to 9,534, so the week is looking pretty good.)
And Parker got over 90 minutes of walkies.
Man, I have missed this:
I had lunch with a friend here at the Duke today (and I walked, getting me to 15,000 before noon), so why not stay and write some documentation?
I've also decided on a new rule. I gave up beer for February because I think there's a correlation between me drinking beer and me staying consistently 3 kg over my target. Well, not much changed, and I missed beer, so my New Rule is that I can have one beer per 10,000 steps (or fraction thereof). And I think I'll aggregate this over the week.
Yesterday's 17.2°C temperature at O'Hare was the warmest since it was 17.8°C on November 15th. It might not get warmer than that, but who cares, because it that's plenty warm for early March. 17.8°C is Chicago's normal temperature for April 29th; the normal for March 8th is 6.1°C.
That's the good news. The better news is that working from home means Parker is working napping from home as well. And we just got back from an 80-minute, 8.1-km walk, his longest in (no surprise) even more months.
Now the bad news. We were walking from the car dealership where they are figuring out how much I'm to pay them later this week. My car has a couple of "minor" symptoms including a damaged tire (thanks, Chicago!), but it's a 7-year-old BMW. So anything that would cost $100 to fix on a Corolla will cost me $200. Can't wait for the call...
I do have some work to do today—more on that this afternoon. But I'm already at 11,000 steps, with a goal of 30,000 for the day. I've only hit that number once, last April 26th. There's a lot of day ahead of me, and it's 9,000 steps back to the car dealership. Stay tuned.
Update, 11:26: The 11am temperature at O'Hare was 19°C, the highest reading since November 5th. If we hit 23°C we'll have the warmest day since October 21st.
Think Progress grinds through the history of Trump Steaks™:
Reporters from Home magazine, Gourmet magazine, People, New York Daily News, and Every Day with Rachael Ray showed up to the launch, which featured speeches by both Levin and Trump. Trump took the opportunity to boast of the steaks’ quality, telling reporters that the product was going to be a boon for the company, equivalent to Trump Vodka, which had launched just a year earlier.
The steaks were only available for mail order, and ranged from the Classic Collection, which cost customers $199 for two filet mignons, two cowboy bone-in rib-eyes and 12 burgers, to $999 for 24 burgers and 16 steaks.
But despite the rash of media attention, [Sharper Image CEO Jerry] Levin said, the steaks just didn’t sell.
Not all reviews of Trump Steaks were bad. Sharon Dowell, former food editor for the Oklahoman, called the steaks “tender, juicy and absolutely among the best-tasting steaks I’ve cooked on my home grill.” The New York Post gave them a 7.5 out of 10, noting that it was “an undeniably good steak” — but still three times the price of another steak that they gave a 7 to in the same taste test. Gourmet, in their taste test, were less effusive, calling the steaks “edible, but not particularly good.”
Martha Stewart, however, had perhaps the most unique response to Trump Steaks. In an interview with Joan Rivers, the lifestyle mogul and former Apprentice contestant replied “Too bad!” when Rivers said that the steaks weren’t actually from a slaughtered Donald Trump.
This person is the front-runner for leadership of the Republican party.
Not surprisingly, he behaves like a dick:
Though Trump is pitching himself to voters as a dealmaker who wins, the 12-year drama of the Trump International Hotel & Tower offers a more complicated narrative. While it reinforces his preferred image as a bold risk-taker and consummate salesman, it underscores his darker reputation as a bullying businessman willing to back out of deals and trash the competition when it's convenient. And that big TRUMP sign on the front of the building fits perfectly with the caricature of the developer as a narcissist and braggart.
Altogether, buyers of 43 condos—32 residential units and 11 hotel units—took advantage of [a 10% discount "friends and family"] deal, a group that included attorneys at DLA Piper, Trump's law firm, and architects at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, which designed the skyscraper. Some buyers demanded that Trump honor his original deal, and Trump backed down. Others were unwilling to jeopardize a valuable business relationship and simply accepted Trump's new terms without a fight.
Trump took on another group—his financial backers. Unable to pay off a maturing construction loan from a bank group led by Deutsche Bank, he sued them in 2008 for more time, citing a “force majeure” clause in his loan agreement. Such clauses are designed to give borrowers relief in the case of unforeseen, cataclysmic events, like floods or wars, but Trump argued that the financial crisis qualified. He also sought $3 billion in damages.
That a good 25% of American voters support this guy turns my stomach. But evidence about how he behaves, and how he repeatedly tries to screw his counterparties on deals, actually boosts his standing among those voters. Regardless of the outcome of this election—I'm hoping for something like the Whig implosion of 1852—it speaks poorly of our country that he's got this much support.
I've been out of town twice in the last 10 days. First, to New York, where I found this light at the end of a tunnel in Riverside Park:
This weekend I went to Indianapolis for a wedding, and stopped by the Indiana State Capitol:
That building is home to what may be the stupidest legislative body in the Western world. Don't even get me started.
Wow, a Saturday post. Rare this year, yes?
Tomorrow I'll have photos from New York and Indianapolis, including the latter's monument to stupidity. Check back.
I had a meeting this morning to bring a new developer onto a maintenance-mode project. In doing so I went over some code I wrote 4 years ago. Yikes.
We're doing a deep-dive on Monday...
After the criminal gang known as ISIS held the Mosul Dam in Iraq last year, it did not follow the campsite rule when it fled the Iraqi government's counter-attack. Consequently, engineers say the dam is in danger of imminent collapse:
[P]ressure on the dam’s compromised structure was building up rapidly as winter snows melted and more water flowed into the reservoir, bringing it up to its maximum capacity, while the sluice gates normally used to relieve that pressure were jammed shut.
The Iraqi engineers also said the failure to replace machinery or assemble a full workforce more than a year after Islamic State temporarily held the dam means that the chasms in the porous rock under the dam were getting bigger and more dangerous every day.
Nasrat Adamo, the dam’s former chief engineer who spent most of his professional career shoring it up in the face of fundamental flaws in its construction, said that the structure would only survive with round-the-clock work with teams filling in holes in the porous bedrock under the structure, a process known as grouting. But that level of maintenance, dating back to just after the dam’s construction in 1984, evaporated after the Isis occupation.
People are worried that the rise of Donald Trump in the polls here in the U.S. signals a new dumbing-down of our country. But nothing beats the destructive power of religiously-fueled anti-intellectualism of the kind that ISIS and, even better, Boko Haram perpetrate on innocents.
Also, let's not forget who is most responsible for the chaos Iraq has suffered for the last 12 years: us. This is one more legacy of George W. Bush's needless war.
Both United and American want approval for non-stop flights from Chicago to Havana:
Initially, the customer pool for Chicago-to-Havana trips would be limited, given the ongoing trade embargo. The Department of the Treasury only permits travelers to fly to Cuba for a dozen reasons, including family visits, official governmental trips and humanitarian missions.
But carriers are eager to establish a beachhead in the island nation, which might eventually prove a robust destination for leisure and business travelers as well.
“It's been an untapped market for 50 years,” said John Weber, director for the Americas at British consultancy Aviation Analytics. “The interest of carriers is to get in and get established from the very beginning.”
Both airlines proposed a weekly 737-800 flight leaving Saturday morning and returning Saturday night. As soon as I can, I'll be happy to spend a week in Cuba and get full frequent-flyer miles for the trip.