The current work sprint ends tomorrow. Throughout, I've had several moments of "wow, I actually did that right three years ago" as I've extended or improved existing features for the next release. I've even added a couple of extra stories that didn't take me long to do.
Meanwhile, I'm starting to get the sense of what it might be like when I'm 80, coughing so much that for the first time in years I'll actually miss rehearsal tonight. Which explains this post's headline: the cemetery is usually where the coffin stops.
Ah, ha ha.
I'm also reminded that, five years ago, we had some weird weather. We have some weird weather today, too, but in the opposite direction.
Anyway, if I can get this coughing under control, and get some sleep tonight, I should have more creative things to say tomorrow.
Welcome to stop #101 on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Eris Brewery & Cider House, 4240 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago
Train line: Union Pacific Northwest, Irving Park (Zone 2) (also CTA Blue Line, Irving Park)
Time from Chicago: 13 minutes
Distance from station: 300 m
Built out of a former Masonic temple in the Old Irving neighborhood, Eris has really good food and really good cider. At this writing, though, they're still working on their beer game. On top of some of the best cheese curds and French fries I've had at a brewpub, I tried two 120-mL pours and had a of sip of one selection from my friends' "pepper" flight.
The Pedestrian cider (5.9%) was nice & dry, with crisp apple flavor, better than its name suggests. Would love to sit outside with this in the summer. The Waka Waka hazy IPA (6.8%) didn't work for me, though. Perhaps because I started with the cider, it had none of the fruit flavor that I'd expect from a Citra-hazy ale. My friend really liked the pepper flight, so I had a sip of the Hot Chaos pepper cider (6.3%) with árbol chile, and will not be having more. But I can see the appeal.
We'll be back, in the summer, with the dogs.
Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Outside only
Televisions? Many, avoidable
Serves food? Full menu
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes
I first visited Ravinia Brewing early in the Brews & Choos Project, and liked it. In fact I have gone back several times, most recently a week ago Friday. I haven't yet visited their Logan Square taproom though, and because of the way trademarks and contracts work in the US, I may never:
In October, Ravinia Festival, the Highland Park outdoor concert venue known for its summer music series, sued the craft brewery for trademark infringement, court records show.
The brewery was born out of the Ravinia District of Highland Park in 2017 and opened its original location there in 2018.
In 2018, the brewery signed an agreement that allowed both parties to use the name, as long as the brewery complied with guidelines to ensure consumers understood there was no relationship between the two organizations.
The lawsuit alleges the brewery violated that agreement.
Brewery co-owners Jeff Hoobler and Kris Walker have called the lawsuit unjust and said the business is rapidly losing money because of legal expenses. They warned the business could close if the company keeps bleeding financially.
I've just read RBC's answer to RF's complaint, which includes the allegations in the complaint as per local rules. As with any lawsuit, we don't know the full story, and as this will probably never go to trial, we probably never will. It looks like the brewery and the Festival have some bad blood between them, for sure. But if the brewery's answer is accurate, this has all the feeling of trying to crack a walnut with a sledgehammer.
I hope the Festival and the brewery can come to a compromise here. I like them both.
Welcome to stop #100 on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Illuminated Brew Works, 6186 N. Northwest Hwy., Chicago
Train line: Union Pacific Northwest, Norwood Park (Zone 2)
Time from Chicago: 22 minutes
Distance from station: 400 m
It only took four years and a pandemic to get to the 100th Brews & Choos stop. When I stopped at Macushla in Glenview almost exactly four years ago, I thought I'd knock out all 90 or so breweries and distilleries in about 18 months. We all know what happened a month later...
Here we are at stop #100, and I'm happy to report it garnered a "would go back" rating.
Illuminated Brew Works has a bit of fun with its namesake, even calling its mailing list a "cult." They make really good beer, and they allow dogs, but fortunately no one tried to convert me to Belgian sour ales.
In fact, as I have a touch of bronchitis, I didn't drink much at all. The 120-mL pours I had were excellent. The Brony DDH DIPA (7.5%) was really smooth, and didn't taste at all like the strong beer the menu says it is. And the Millennial Munchies stout (13.5%), which I shared, was complex, sweet but not cloying, with malty coconut and chocolate notes.
I also had a sips of my friend's beers. The CULT stout (10%), which had real complexity but not a lot of sweetness, and the guajillo chiles they brewed it with really smacked me in the end. I didn't feel I could evaluate the Cherry Brainwash sour (7%) and Orange Sunshine Saison (5.4%), as I'm not a fan of those styles, but my friend assured me they were excellent, and particularly liked the cherry sour.
They have a quirky, no-fucks-given vibe that we particularly liked. We may have to bring Cassie and Butters here when it gets warmer.
Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Yes
Televisions? One, avoidable
Serves food? Snacks; BYOF encouraged
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes
I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s. When I first visited London in 1992, a bobby at Victoria Station explained that they didn't have bins there because "they tend to explode." I supported President Clinton in brokering the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, and I was in a pub in Killarney in July 2005 watching the telly with the silent crowd there as Sinn Féin put down their guns for good.
So while today's news would have shocked me in 1992, I'm merely surprised in 2024:
Northern Ireland’s devolved government has reconvened and appointed Michelle O’Neill as first minister in a historic moment for Sinn Féin and Irish nationalism.
The Stormont assembly nominated the County Tyrone republican as the region’s first nationalist first minister, ending a century of unionist first ministers.
The appointment of a republican first minister represented “a new dawn” unimaginable to previous generations that grew up with discrimination against Catholics, said O’Neill. “That state is now gone.”
The devolved government reconvened after the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) walked out of Stormont on 3 February 2022 in protest against post-Brexit trading arrangements that it said undermined the region’s place in the UK. The party agreed to end the boycott this week after its leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, wrung concessions from the UK government that smoothed the so-called Irish Sea border.
Welcome to the 21st Century, when both republicans and unionists can find common ground in their disgust with the Conservative government in Westminster.
Between the Dobbs decision allowing states to enforce or enact medieval restrictions on women's rights, an estimated 59,000 pregnancies resulted from rapes in states where women could no longer terminate them:
A new study estimates that more than 64,000 pregnancies resulted from rape between July 1, 2022, and January 1, 2024, in states where abortion has been banned throughout pregnancy in all or most cases. Of these, just more than 5,500 are estimated to have occurred in states with rape exceptions—and nearly 59,000 are estimated for states without exceptions. The authors calculate that more than 26,000 rape-caused pregnancies may have taken place in Texas alone. The findings were published on Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“Highly stigmatized life events are hard to measure. And many survivors of sexual violence do not want to disclose that they went through this incredibly stigmatizing traumatic life event,” says Samuel Dickman, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood of Montana, who led the study. “We will never know the true number of survivors of rape and sexual assault in the U.S.”
The researchers obtained their findings by combining data from multiple sources. Because state-level data weren’t available, the team analyzed national data from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey on intimate partner sexual violence from 2016 to 2017. The researchers also used a Bureau of Justice Statistics survey on criminal victimization. Putting these together, they determined the number of completed vaginal rapes among girls and women of reproductive age—defined as between the ages of 15 and 45 (although some even younger girls and older women are also capable of pregnancy).
The XPOTUS put the deciding votes on the Supreme Court. George W Bush elevated John Roberts—no moderate, he, despite his PR—to the center seat. When you vote for Republicans, this is what you get.
And I guess Texas governor Greg Abbott needs to work a little harder to "eliminate rape" in his state. How surprising that he never really came through with that promise.
Consumer Reports released a paper last month detailing how many companies track the average Facebook user:
Using a panel of 709 volunteers who shared archives of their Facebook data, Consumer Reports found that a total of 186,892 companies sent data about them to the social network. On average, each participant in the study had their data sent to Facebook by 2,230 companies. That number varied significantly, with some panelists’ data listing over 7,000 companies providing their data. The Markup helped Consumer Reports recruit participants for the study. Participants downloaded an archive of the previous three years of their data from their Facebook settings, then provided it to Consumer Reports.
One company appeared in 96 percent of participants’ data: LiveRamp, a data broker based in San Francisco. But the companies sharing your online activity to Facebook aren’t just little-known data brokers. Retailers like Home Depot, Macy’s, and Walmart, all were in the top 100 most frequently seen companies in the study. Credit reporting and consumer data companies such as Experian and TransUnion’s Neustar also made the list, as did Amazon, Etsy, and PayPal.
The data examined by Consumer Reports in this study comes from two types of collection: events and custom audiences. Both categories include information about what people do outside of Meta’s platforms.
In the report, Consumer Reports calls for a number of policy proposals covering data collection practices, some of which could be part of a national digital privacy law, something that the organization has long advocated for.
We need a European Union-style regulatory regime to protect our privacy. The companies won't do it without regulation.
Metra's new fare structure took effect this morning, along with the planned closure of every ticket window that still existed. It was therefore crucially important that the Ventra app (now the only way to pay for tickets) updated properly overnight. Alas:
Commuters faced an extra headache Thursday as the Ventra app crashed on the first day of new Metra procedures and prices, including the closure of ticket windows.
An alert on the Metra website informs riders that the app is down and technical crews are working to solve the issue.
“It’s not the way we would have liked it to go,” Metra spokesperson Meg Reile said.
Metra is working with Cubic, the company that runs the app, to get it up and running as soon as possible, Reile said.
On my train this morning, the conductor announced that he knew the app was down, so we should enjoy the ride. I expect they lost tens of thousands in revenue today.
As of this writing, the app appears to be working! And I have just purchased my monthly ticket for February.
I'll update the Brews & Choos page later today.
Inner Drive Technology's new computer arrived two days early, so there was a flurry of activity around lunchtime that postponed Cassie's mid-day walk. We just got back from that...but now I've got to do my real job while the new computer installs tons of software.
As someone who paid $200 for four 1-megabyte SIMMs back in the day, I'm absolutely astounded at the tiny 4-terabyte SSD that I snapped into the new machine, and which cost $260.
OK, back to work. Friday I'll have a retrospective on Inner Drive Technology office layouts. Tonight I'm setting up IDTWHQ 6.1.
A few months ago a Chicago Parking Enforcement Agent (PEA) tried to give me a ticket while I was paying for the parking spot online. I kept calm and polite, but I firmly explained that writing a ticket before I'd even finished entering the parking zone in the payment app might not survive the appeal.
Yesterday I got another parking ticket at 9:02pm in a spot that has free parking from 9pm to 9am. The ticket actually said "parking expired and driver not walking back from meter." Note that the parking app won't let you pay for parking beyond 9pm in that spot. Because, again, it's free after 9pm. That didn't stop the PEA, so now I actually will appeal, and I'll win. But it's a real pain.
Again, I thank Mayor Daley for jamming through the worst public financial deal in the history of the United States.
Meanwhile, I didn't have time to read all of these at lunch today:
- Almost as shocking as the realization that privatizing parking meters games the system in favor of private interests against the general public, it turns out so do traffic impact studies.
- The Illinois Board of Elections voted unanimously to reject an effort to keep the XPOTUS off the Republican Party primary ballot, citing an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that excludes the Board from constitutional questions.
- Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (R) won't win the Republican nomination for president this year, but she will make the XPOTUS froth at the mouth.
- Of course, she and others in her party persist in trying to make their own voters froth at the mouth, mostly by lying to them about the state of the economy, cities, and other things that have gone pretty well since 2021.
- Of course, perhaps the Republican Party lies so much to cover their demonstrable incompetence at governing?
- Christopher Elmensdorf warns that the clean energy bill winding through the Democratic offices on Capitol Hill will lead to endless NIMBYism—not to mention bad-faith blockage by fossil-fuel companies.
- For only $120,000 a year, this consultant will get your kid into Harvard.
- Helmut Jahn's new building at 1000 S. Michigan Ave. looks super cool.
I will now go back to work. Tonight, I will schedule my parking appeal. Updates as conditions warrant.