The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Truly a dog's life

Yesterday Cassie got to sample whatever she found on the ground at Ribfest, but she hoped for so much more:

And today, we spent an hour walking around St James Farm out in Suburbistan with one of her friends:

We're just about to head back to Ribfest for Day 2. I may not get to all the vendors this year, but I think I'll get to the good ones.

Wind shift, anyone?

We got up to an uncomfortably humid 32°C yesterday, but with a forecast of a much milder 23°C today. It got a bit warmer than that, topping out at 26°C, but got quite a bit cooler just as Cassie and I returned from our lunchtime walk:

This evening, we will go on another walk to...RIBFEST. I might have to put on jeans, but we will have ribs tonight! And tomorrow night, and probably Sunday for lunch. Because ribs.

Authentic frontier gibberish

Tom Nichols says it's past time to quit disregarding the convicted-felon XPOTUS's disordered mental state:

For too long, Trump has gotten away with pretending that his emotional issues are just part of some offbeat New York charm or an expression of his enthusiasm for public performance. But Trump is obviously unfit—and something is profoundly wrong with a political environment in which he can now say almost anything, no matter how weird, and his comments will get a couple of days of coverage and then a shrug, as if to say: Another day, another Trump rant about sharks.

Sure, it seems funny—Haha! Uncle Don is telling that crazy shark story again!—until we remember that this man wants to return to a position where he would hold America’s secrets, be responsible for the execution of our laws, and preside as the commander in chief of the most powerful military in the world. A moment that seems like oddball humor should, in fact, terrify any American voter, because this behavior in anyone else would be an instant disqualification for any political office, let alone the presidency.

Worse, the people who once managed Trump’s cognitive and emotional issues are gone, never to return. A second Trump White House will be staffed with the bottom of the barrel—the opportunists and hangers-on willing to work for a reprehensible man. His Oval Office will be empty of responsible and experienced public servants if the day comes when someone has to explain to him why war might be about to erupt on the Korean peninsula or why the Russian or Chinese nuclear forces have gone on alert, and he starts talking about frying sharks with boat batteries.

The 45th president is deeply unwell. It is long past time for Americans, including those in public life, to recognize his inability to serve as the 47th.

I mean, who said it better, the convicted-felon XPOTUS, or Gabby Johnson?

Sure, they get a party

Dignitaries and Metra executives celebrated the opening of the Peterson-Ridge station on the UP-North line this past Sunday:

Hopefully West Ridge, Edgewater, and Lincoln Square residents remembered that patience is a virtue, as they waited for more than ten years for Metra's new Peterson/Ridge station, 1780 W. Peterson Ave., to serve their communities. The commuter railroad, elected officials, and neighbors rejoiced over the completion of the Union Pacific North line stop, which opened on May 20, with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning.

The $27.8 million project included a pair of new six-car platforms; heated concrete stairs and wheelchair ramps; a warming house; two shelters; an access drive; and lots of car and bicycle parking. It was bankrolled with $15 million from the state's Rebuild Illinois capital program, with the remainder of the cash coming from the Federal Transit Administration.

The new station was discussed for over a decade, and took more than two-and-a-half years to construct. That was about a year longer than planned, and the project cost roughly $5 million more than expected, according to a Tribune report last month by Sarah Freishtat.

"I'm glad it's finally done!" local alder Andre Vasquez (40th) told Streetsblog this morning. "This was like, I wouldn't say a CTA-level delay, but it's completed, so that's awesome... We kind of showed up on the last leg of it. [Ald. Vasquez took office last year.] During the [Governor Bruce] Rauner era there were funding challenges."

Just 3 km south, the Ravenswood station—my damn station—took more than 12 years to rebuild because of "Rauner era funding challenges." When it finally opened almost a year ago, did we get a fancy ribbon-cutting? No. Did politicians show up and give speeches? Nope. Did anyone even mention it before, one day, they cordoned off the 10-year-old "temporary" platform? Guess again.

Ravenswood, by the way, was the busiest station on the UP-N and the 3rd-busiest overall just before the pandemic. Ridge-Peterson never existed before, though trains used to stop at the Rosehill Cemetery gate two blocks south and at Granville, a block north, until 1958. (A 1955 schedule I saw showed a 40-minute travel time between Ravenswood and the Loop. It's now 16-18 minutes.)

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.

Who is buried in Couch's tomb?

I remembered that Chicago used to have a cemetery at what is now the south end of Lincoln Park, near State and North. But I never connected the dots that a small building over there actually had dead people in it:

In 1869 Chicago City Cemetery was taken over by the Lincoln Park Commissioners for conversion to a park. The bodies were transferred to Graceland, Rosehill, and other graveyards. The Catholics also vacated their cemetery, using the land for a new archbishop’s residence.

One story says that the Couch family fought removal of the tomb all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won its case. However, nobody has found any documentary evidence of such a decision. Perhaps the mausoleum is still there because neither the park commissioners nor the Couch family wanted to pay for tearing it down. That’s the kind of explanation that makes sense in Chicago.

After decades of neglect, the park district renovated the Couch tomb in the 1990s. The shrubs were cut down and the limestone structure itself was repaired. Now a spotlight illuminates it at night. The civic embarrassment has become a point of civic pride.

My city has a lot of history, even though the first settler got here so recently his house would be considered "new" in most of Europe.

Long, loud walk

Cassie and I took two long walks yesterday. We drove up to the Skokie Lagoons before lunchtime and took a 7.25 km stroll along the north loop. The weather cooperated:

I wanted to go up there in part because a 100-year-old forest had a higher probability of cicadas than anywhere near my house. We were not disappointed. Cassie and I both had passengers at various points in the walk:

And wow, were they loud. I forgot how loud they got during the 2007 outbreak. Even at the points on the walk closest to the Edens Expressway, the cicadas were often louder than the hightway:

On Saturday we're heading out to a friend's house in Wheaton, and we'll take our dogs around that neighborhood. My friend complained that the cicadas have taken over her backyard. Can't wait!

How have I never seen this before?

John Cleese did a political advert in 1987 for the SDP/Liberal Alliance, a moderate coalition of small UK parties that, as one would expect, got annihilated in the election that year, and ultimately became the Liberal Democratic Party. The LDP went on to get the shit kicked out of them in every election until the Tories found them useful for a hot second in 2010, whereupon they got kicked to the curb as soon as the Tories had an outright majority, before everyone forgot about them in 2015.

Anyway, his rant about extremism still has a lot of resonance today:

Was not expecting this

I just beat a hasty retreat from where Cassie and I had spent our warm summer afternoon; see if you can spot why:

In Chicago, if the temperature is above -18°C and you feel cold, you're just not dressed correctly. At 3pm I was dressed correctly; at 3:30pm I was not.

At least we beat the rain:

Looks like it'll pass in a couple of hours, so we'll get one more decent walk in this evening. Tomorrow my plan is to drag her butt to the North Branch Trail so we can see (and hear) some cicadas. Still none in my neighborhood; pity.