The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Another win for the Vogons

Two weeks after a local artist completed a mural commissioned by the local chamber of commerce, Chicago's Streets and Sanitation department destroyed it:

Chicago-based artist JC Rivera’s signature bright yellow “bear champ” went up earlier this month at the CTA Paulina Brown Line stop. But the mural, commissioned by the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce and paid for out of a special taxpayer fund, wasn’t long for this world: In fact, it was on display for a shorter time than it took Rivera to paint the piece.

Late last week, someone notified the city’s 311 nonemergency center and reported the mural as graffiti, triggering a request for its removal, said Marjani Williams, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation. The city did not detail the 311 request.

It’s the latest instance of Streets and Sanitation workers wiping out something considered public art. In March, the work of French street artist Blek le Rat was blasted away from the side of Cards Against Humanity’s headquarters as the city stepped up graffiti cleanup near proposed sites for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Sigh.

It doesn't seem like Streets & San is doing this on purpose. They just don't care. Fortunately, one of our aldermen has proposed a city-wide mural registry to prevent this sort of thing from happening.

Link round-up

Today is the last work day of 2017, and also the last day of my team's current sprint. So I'm trying to chase down requirements and draft stories before I lose everyone for the weekend. These articles will just have to wait:

We now return to "working through lunch," starring The Daily Parker...

 

The Fortune Teller

I first visited New York in July 1984, stopping by the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the 25th. I took a photograph of Georges de La Tour's "The Fortune Teller," painted sometime between 1620 and 1639:

Last month I visited again, on the 23rd—just two days shy of 33 years later:

Using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, I have tried to get the photos to look as similar as possible. But my LG G6 phone and its 13 Megapixel camera just provides so much more data than the 4 Megapixel scan of the Kodachrome 64 slide, which itself has such constrained dynamic range, that the modern photo can't help but be clearer.

In fact, the narrow dynamic range of Kodachrome was one of its selling points. The trade-off was its deep, rich colors and detail—none of which a quick 4 MP scan can read.

If I have the opportunity, I'll re-scan the original slide and try again. For now, I leave the diptych above as a demonstration of how far photography has come since I was a kid.

For comparison, here's the reference image from the Met's website:

Dream a little dream

Oh, I hope this art installation flies:

In a planned one-day protest, four golden pig balloons will take anchor in the Chicago River, lined up to cover President Donald Trump's last name on his building's southeast facade.  

The giant swine come by way of Chicago-based design company New World Design Ltd., and will arrive by barge. New World is still negotiating how and when the pigs will arrive, but architect and firm principal Jeffrey Roberts says he is confident the project will come to fruition.  With the city's approval, which is still pending, the massive pigs will pop up for a day in late August or early September.

I'm looking forward to the day when the letters adorning that garish skyscraper come off permanently.

Quite a layout

Growing up, one of my favorite things in the whole world was the O-gauge model railroad at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. Atlas Obscura describes the $3.5m refurbishment that opened in 2002:

The exhibit focuses on the intersection of transportation infrastructure and economic activity—the intercity elevated train, suburban commuter rail, and cross country freight lines, all buzzing with a vibrant post-WWII industrial economy of decades past.

The trip begins in Chicago, which is the most recognizable area to a contemporary visitor. Iconic buildings like the Sears Tower and downtown neighborhoods like the Loop are shown in a spellbinding level of detail, replete with miniature cars, pedestrians and vegetation. Tiny electric trains scoot around through the skyscraper valleys and every half hour the museum lights dim as the exhibit enters “nighttime mode.”

As the exhibit moves westward five foot tall Rocky Mountain peaks rise into the air. The tracks cut through mountain tunnels and lumber towns before finally catching sight of the Pacific Ocean and the Port of Seattle. A hulking container ship is docked on the coast, ready to receive the raw materials and manufactured products collected along the 2,000 mile route from Chicago.

It's even cooler than the layout they had back in the day. And it's still one of my favorite things in the world.

Bit of a hike

Today was pretty full. I took a train to Tring, hiked for two hours, came back to London, and walked around Kensington for a couple more. Now it's 11pm on Sunday night and everything is closed.

I won't have all the photos I took yesterday and today ready until I get back to Chicago, but here are a couple. First, the Tate Modern:

Second, this guy, who rode in my train carriage on the way back from Tring:

These are just from my phone. I did lug my real camera all over the hills of Buckinghamshire today, so I'll have real photos later in the week.

Gift suggestion for The Daily Parker

This is cool. Explains CityLab:

Entomological unease aside, this poster of the planet’s 140 metros should make a fantastic holiday gift for the city-obsessed nerd. Made by Neil Freeman, an artist and urban planner who runs the site Fake Is the New Real, the roughly29 by 23-inch, black-and-white sheet stacks train systems with the largest ones at top…

...and the most basic at bottom.

Take a look at the artist's designs and find your metro.