Last August 6th I took some drone photos and video of the Black Lives Matter mural on Clifton Street in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. Here is 6 August 2020:
And here is today:
It's had some weathering, but overall, it looks OK.
My primary goal of today's flights was to document the CTA RPM Project. Crews have removed the two east-side tracks between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr, and have started removing the embankment as well. As the project goes on, I'll document more of it, and assemble a video. This is what the Lawrence El station looked like today:
Wednesday I caught a story on NPR's Morning Edition that lingered, and not in a good way. Reporter David Gura presented a story about how corporate boards have difficulty telling their top executives not to engage in risky activities. One executive Gura interviewed, former GM executive Robert Lutz, expressed his feelings thus:
ROBERT LUTZ: I will tell you, I encountered these restrictions my whole career, never took them very seriously and got away with it for 47 years.
GURA: He also liked skiing and motorcycles. And Lutz owned and flew two fighter planes. When GM wanted Lutz back for another big job in 2001, this came up, and Lutz remembers what he told the board.
LUTZ: I'm happy to rejoin the company. I'm happy to assume the post as vice chairman. But I need absolute freedom as far as my hobbies are concerned.
GURA: Lutz says he got that absolute freedom. And he flew those jets until he was 87, by the way. He had to stop two years ago when he failed an eye exam. Lutz thinks more executives should be daredevils.
LUTZ: As opposed to, you know, calm, peaceful guys who never want to put themselves at risk, always drive at the speed limit, drive a minivan as their only vehicle and so forth - who the heck wants a person like that to lead a corporation or be in a leadership position at a corporation?
Imagine that: an old, rich white guy who thinks only people like him should run corporations. No wonder America has so many problems! And that's only my first thought on why this guy pissed me off so much.
By the way, if you're 87 and have to fail an eye test to stop flying planes, that's not just putting yourself at risk; that's putting everyone at risk. No wonder GM did so well in the the early 2000s.
Did Gura not follow up on Lutz's outrageous statement because he figured the listeners would fill in the rest? Or did Gura drop the ball here? I'm tempted to ask NPR.
I know, two days in a row I can't be arsed to write a real blog post. Sometimes I have actual work to do, y'know?
Finally, as I've gone through my CD collection in the order I bought them, I occasionally encounter something that has not aged well. Today I came across Julie Brown's "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun," which...just, no. Not in this century.
Oh, to be a dog. Cassie is sleeping comfortably on her bed in my office after having over an hour of walks (including 20 minutes at the dog park) so far today. Meanwhile, at work we resumed using a bit of code that we put on ice for a while, and I promptly discovered four bugs. I've spent the afternoon listening to Cassie snore and swatting the first one.
Meanwhile, in the outside world, life continues:
- Ukrainian police arrested members of the Cl0p ransomware gang, seizing money and cars along with the cybercriminals.
- Amtrak, the US passenger rail network, plans to expand its service over the next few years, for example by going to places that people want to go. (Sure, Las Cruces, N.M., might be a wonderful tourist destination, but why doesn't the train go to Las Vegas too?)
- Astronomer Seth Shostak, who works on SETI, expects any aliens who visit us to have non-biological forms, while physicist Mark Buchanan tells SETI to stop trying to contact them in the first place because they'll kill us all.
- Scientists have found that a Korean War-era technique of reading weather data could reduce contrails by 50% or more.
- On this day in 1858, Abraham Lincoln addressed the Illinois Republican Convention, saying "a house divided against itself cannot stand."
- Whiskey Advocate explains how to "build your best Old Fashioned."
And right by my house, TimeLine Theater plans to renovate a dilapidated warehouse to create a new theater space and cultural center, while a 98-year-old hardware store by Wrigley Field will soon become apartments.
I spent the morning unsuccessfully trying to get a .NET 5 Blazor WebAssembly app to behave with an Azure App Registration, and part of the afternoon doing a friend's taxes. Yes, I preferred doing the taxes, because I got my friend a pile of good news without having to read sixty contradictory pages of documentation.
I also became aware of the following:
Tomorrow morning, I promise to make my WebAssembly app talk to our Azure Active Directory. Right now, I think someone needs a walk.
The deployment I concluded yesterday that involved recreating production assets in an entirely new Azure subscription turned out much more boring (read: successful) than anticipated. That still didn't stop me from working until 6pm, but by that point everything except some older demo data worked just fine.
That left a bit of a backup of stuff to read, which I may try to get through at lunch today:
Finally, summer apparently arrives in full force tomorrow. We're looking forward to temperatures 5-10°C above normal through mid-June, which will continue northern Illinois' drought for at least a few more weeks.
Almost 16 months since I last flew anywhere, I have returned to O'Hare:
Despite traveling on Saturday afternoon, which historically has meant few delays and a quiet airport, the traffic coming up here was so bad my car's adaptive cruise control gave up. But she got a treat once we got to economy parking:
I don't think I have ever parked that close to the elevators in 48 years of flying. Good thing, too, because the closest non-LEV space was in the next county.
Once I got into the terminal, it took less than 3 minutes to get through security. So the Saturday afternoon airport has at least met half of my expectations.
By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, I will spend 16 of the next 52 hours inside vehicles, moving or otherwise. I had planned to rent a car in San Francisco to see family tomorrow, but at $110 for a Yugo (plus gas, parking, etc) I just made a deal with my family to meet somewhere accessible by public transit. Since that describes almost the entire South Bay, they agreed. So, naturally, I've also brought three books.
Man, I missed air travel.
(NB: Cassie is at a friend's house "settling in well.")
Now that I'm more than two weeks past my second Pfizer jab, I'm heading to O'Hare tomorrow for the first time since January 2020. I remember back in September 2018 when I finally broke my longest-ever drought from flying of 221 days. Tomorrow will mark 481 days grounded.
But that's tomorrow. Today, I'm interested in the following:
And finally, Chicago's endangered piping plovers Monty and Rose have laid three eggs. We should see baby piping plovers in about four weeks.
Travel in the US just got slightly easier now that the Department of Homeland Security has extended the deadline to get REAL ID cards to May 2023. Illinois just started making them a year ago, but you have to go to a Secretary of State office in person to get one. Due to Covid-19, the lines at those facilities often stretch to the next facility a few kilometers away.
Reading that made me happier than reading most of the following:
And finally, Ravinia has announced its schedule for this summer, starting on June 4th.
Today is not only the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, it's also the 84th anniversary of the Nazi bombing of Guernica. Happy days, happy days.
In today's news, however:
I will now get lunch. And since it's 17°C right now (as opposed to yesterday's 5°C), I may eat it outside.