The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

About this blog (v. 4.1.6)

I'm David Braverman, this is my blog, and Parker is my 5-year-old mutt. I last updated this About... page in February, but some things have changed. In the interest of enlightened laziness I'm starting with the most powerful keystroke combination in the universe: Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V.

Twice. Thus, the "point one" in the title.

The Daily Parker is about:

  • Parker, my dog, whom I adopted on 1 September 2006.
  • Politics. I'm a moderate-lefty by international standards, which makes me a radical left-winger in today's United States.
  • Photography. I took tens of thousands of photos as a kid, then drifted away from making art until a few months ago when I got the first digital camera I've ever had that rivals a film camera. That got me reading more, practicing more, and throwing more photos on the blog. In my initial burst of enthusiasm I posted a photo every day. I've pulled back from that a bit—it takes about 30 minutes to prep and post one of those puppies—but I'm still shooting and still learning.
  • The weather. I've operated a weather website for more than ten years. That site deals with raw data and objective observations. Many weather posts also touch politics, given the political implications of addressing climate change, though happily we no longer have to do so under a president beholden to the oil industry.
  • Chicago, the greatest city in North America, and the other ones I visit whenever I can.

I've deprecated the Software category, but only because I don't post much about it here. That said, I write a lot of software. I work for 10th Magnitude, a startup software consultancy in Chicago, I've got about 20 years experience writing the stuff, and I continue to own a micro-sized software company. (I have an online resume, if you're curious.) I see a lot of code, and since I often get called in to projects in crisis, I see a lot of bad code, some of which may appear here.

I strive to write about these and other things with fluency and concision. "Fast, good, cheap: pick two" applies to writing as much as to any other creative process (cf: software). I hope to find an appropriate balance between the three, as streams of consciousness and literacy have always struggled against each other since the first blog twenty years ago.

If you like what you see here, you'll probably also like Andrew Sullivan, James Fallows, Josh Marshall, and Bruce Schneier. Even if you don't like my politics, you probably agree that everyone ought to read Strunk and White, and you probably have an opinion about the Oxford comma—punctuation de rigeur in my opinion.

Another, non-trivial point. Facebook reads the blog's RSS feed, so many people reading this may think I'm just posting notes on Facebook. Facebook's lawyers would like you to believe this, too. Now, I've reconnected with tons of old friends and classmates through Facebook, I play Scrabble on Facebook, and I eagerly read every advertisement that appears next to its relevant content. But Facebook's terms of use assert ownership of everything that appears on their site, regardless of prior claims, which contravenes four centuries of law.

Everything that shows up on my Facebook profile gets published on The Daily Paker first, and I own the copyrights to all of it (unless otherwise disclosed). I publish the blog's text under a Creative Commons attribution-nonderivative-noncommercial license; republication is usually OK for non-commercial purposes, as long as you don't change what I write and you attribute it to me. My photos, however, are published under strict copyright, with no republication license, even if I upload them to other public websites. If you want to republish one of my photos, just let me know and we'll work something out.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope you continue to enjoy The Daily Parker.

Where does my creativity go in September?

For the last three years running—including, it seems this one—my ability to find passably-interesting topics to write about plummets in September and picks up again mid-October. Any hypotheses about why? I haven't got any, except maybe that the shortening days do something.

Which is all just a longer way of saying, chirp...chirp...chirp...

God's blog

From the New Yorker:

UPDATE: Pretty pleased with what I’ve come up with in just six days. Going to take tomorrow off. Feel free to check out what I’ve done so far. Suggestions and criticism (constructive, please!) more than welcome. God out.

COMMENTS (24)

Beta version was better. I thought the Adam-Steve dynamic was much more compelling than the Adam-Eve work-around You finally settled on.

Adam was obviously created somewhere else and then just put here. So, until I see some paperwork proving otherwise, I question the legitimacy of his dominion over any of this.

Heh.

At the end of the day, these clichés suck

The UK Independent's Jon Rantoul won't be using clichés any time soon:

Normally, though, politicians are the worst offenders. It is not clear how much they themselves are to blame, or how much they are simply overwhelmed by the substandard drafting of civil servants and speech writers. Perhaps they lack the time to put a pen through it and rewrite it themselves. It is a national scandal that the Civil Service provides such ghastly drafting of official documents, full of turgid abstractions that are intended, perhaps unconsciously, to conceal the thinness of the content. As for speeches, what do politicians pay their speech writers for?

The Prime Minister's speech on NHS reform last week was a shocker for clichés: "pillar to post; in the driving seat; frontline; level playing field; cherry picking; one-size-fits-all; reinvent the wheel; let me be absolutely clear; no ifs or buts". If each of those were not on the List [of banned clichés] before, they are now.

The Daily Parker has adopted the list, effective immediately.

More travel, fewer posts, sad puppy

I'm wrapping up in Fairfield County, Conn., today, then I get five nights at home before popping off to Boston for an indefinite series of 4-day weeks there. At least it's Boston, a city I enjoy, and one with easy access to the airport. (I expect my commute will be two hours shorter than it is to Connecticut.) Parker won't like it, though: he'll likely board from Sunday night to Thursday afternoon every week for the duration of the project.

No word yet on Internet connectivity. The client with whom I'm wrapping up this morning trades good-sized portfolios, so they have strict security. The Boston client manages securities as well, so I may not have much contact with the outside world there, either.

I'll survive, and so will Parker, if for no other reason than the regular, magical increases in my bank account twice each month....

Facebook cross-posting

I keep getting asked about my Facebook notes: why did I leave out the punchline? Where's the rest of the post? Why do you post three at once at odd hours?

The simple explanation: I post on my blog, The Daily Parker, throughout the day; Facebook reads the blog's RSS feed at 8-hour intervals; and the RSS Feed only has the article blurb. Facebook also rearranges embedded links and photos, so sometimes pictures attached to blog entries just seem to vanish.

Fascinating, no?

Upgrade

After a lot of procrastination, I've finally upgraded The Daily Parker to dasBlog 2.3.

dasBlog logoNothing outwardly has changed, but apparently the developer community has fixed a ton of bugs and, more helpfully, upgraded to .NET 2.0. I don't have time at the moment to go through the entire feature list, but I'm sure there are a couple in there I'll use.

Mainly I was tired of having an item on my to-do list since October 2008. (I said "a lot of procrastination.")

No Cubs game tonight

Actually, there will be a Cubs game, in about 10 minutes, but I won't be there, for the following reasons: It's cold out, it's raining, and I have a financial accounting exam in about a week for which I am slightly more prepared than I am to swim the English Channel.

Instead of rainy Cubs photos, then, here is a great post about ghostwriting:

I recognize the paradox [of ghostwriting celebrity memoirs]: the bookstores are already happy to sell this kind of fraud, so why can't online authors engage in the same sort of duplicity? The answer is that online authors need to err on the side of honesty and integrity in order to support not only their own work, but the internet as both a medium and distribution platform.

... Speaking of frauds, do you remember Milli Vanilli? They’re a Grammy-winning singing duo who had to give their Grammy back when it was revealed that the people singing the Grammy-winning song weren't the stage-act duo who accepted the award. C+C Music Factory got into the same kind of hot water when they replaced a full-figured singer on one of their hit songs with a shapely non-singer for that song's music video.

As for the Cubs, well, they were eliminated mid-May, so oh well. Pitchers and catchers come back in five months.

Strange maps, including good beer

Via Tom Hollander comes Strange Maps, a blog I will have to read through when I get a free moment next year. The blog supports Frank Jacobs' forthcoming book, Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities. The blog starts with "Lunatic Asylum Districts in Pennsylvania," moving through "The Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map of the World" and "Heineken's 'Eurotopia'" on its random walk through maps. Very cool blog.

Example: a map showing the best beer in America, based on the number of medals won, with a handy refiguring of the results by population:

The top 10, reshuffled to reflect the number of medals per million of inhabitants, looks quite different, reflecting a dominance by states with a strong micro-brewing tradition:

  1. Colorado – 64.4
  2. Oregon – 42.5
  3. Wisconsin – 38.6
  4. Washington – 16.2
  5. Missouri – 15
  6. Pennsylvania – 13.5
  7. Massachusetts – 12.6
  8. California – 12.8
  9. Texas – 5.6
  10. New York – 5.1

Also from Hollander, a report that Samoa changed sides:

As sirens and church bells wailed across Samoa just before 6am on Monday, drivers obediently stopped their cars. Then, after instructions issued over the radio by the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, they shifted to the other side of the road and ushered in history.

"After this announcement you will all be permitted to move to the other side of the road, to begin this new era in our history," Mr Tuilaepa told his people, warning: "Don't drive if you are sleepy, drunk or just had a fight with your wife."

Good advice, that.