Remember the stew I made Wednesday? It turned out one of my best:
And I had a lot of leftovers:
Remember Cassie getting a long walk to the big dog park Thursday? We did the same thing yesterday:
And after dinner, I got this rare (inverted for your convenience) photo of Cassie getting a belly rub:
Today, however, it's rainy and cold, so we will have less walking—but possibly more couch/belly-rub time.
Cassie and I took a 33-minute walk at lunchtime and we'll take another half-hour or so before dinner as the temperature grazes 14°C this afternoon. Tomorrow and each day following will cool off a bit until Wednesday, the first official day of winter, which will return to normal.
- As every lawyer who paid attention predicted, Justice Clarence Thomas's (R) opinion in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v Bruen last summer articulated a Republican policy platform while providing absolutely no useful guidance.
- Jamelle Bouie points to that particular justice, along with his brother-in-arms Samuel Alito (R), as great reasons to institute term limits on the Supreme Court.
- Looks like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), plans to take his 5-seat majority out for a spin come January. Can't wait. (Remember, the Republican Party wants you to think the US Government is a joke. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!)
- Robert Wright reminds everyone that Ukraine's interests differ from those of the EU, NATO, and the US, which puts Ukrainian president Zelensky's behavior regarding the accidental missile detonation in Poland in context.
- Julia Ioffe reminds everyone that the Pentagon's and White House's strategies also differ from one another.
- Now that I've moved, I need to update my drivers license, which means finally getting a Real ID. I mean, other than my passport or passport card. (Oooo, maybe I can get a CAC?)
- Toronto gave up a few dozen parking spaces to make room for sidewalk cafes, only to discover that the restaurants made 49 times more money than the parking spaces.
- The US faces a critical shortage of bomb-sniffing dogs.
- Thousands of cranes have migrated through Chicago in the last few days, and wow, are they loud.
Finally, Amazon's ads really have gotten to the point where it's "a tacky strip mall filled with neon signs pointing you in all the wrong directions."
And in just a few hours, I will tuck into this:
I may run out of mason jars though...
A week after moving, I'm averaging 30 minutes more sleep and my Body Battery score is back to normal levels after two weeks of waking up like a zombie. I might even have all the boxes unpacked by this time next year.
Meanwhile, me shifting a couple tonnes of matter a few hundred meters did not affect the world's spin by any measurable amount:
Finally, the Tribune reviewed a new New York-style pizzeria in East Lakeview that...doesn't sound like it sells the greasy slices I used to get on Lexington after midnight. But I'll try it.
Today's theme song is U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," but I know it's somewhere in the new house...
Unpacking proceeds apace. Last night we were both exhausted and we both had trouble falling asleep. We also both wanted pizza, though Cassie didn't know she wanted it until I brought it into the house.
Back to unpacking. I actually have to work tomorrow, so I need to get at least half my life out of chaos tonight.
Bloomberg reports that Kroger and Albertsons, two of the biggest grocery chains in the US, have started merger talks. This would create an enormous entity about the size of Wal-Mart. In Chicago, it would result in the merger of Jewel (Albertsons) and Mariano's (Kroger), just a few years after the dissolution of Dominick's, leaving us with just three major chains including Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market.
An agreement could be reached as soon as this week, [unnamed sources] said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. No final decisions have been made and talks could still be delayed or falter, according to the people.
McSweeney's channels Lovecraft—at Olive Garden:
A homogeneity characterized its flaxen cast. Bubbling sacks of slime upon a platter scorching. Beware! Doused in the pureed remains of a dozen orbic fruits, I feel my breath quicken and hands tremble as I pen its likeness as well as I might. My own mind conspires against me when presented with this frightful entrée. To dine? Or will my own visage mirror its sickly jaundice? I have touched with too much haste the vessel of Hades, a burn be my meal.
The Tour of Italy
A terse presentation of memories, three to be precise. A chicken, but unclucking. A plate of worms, wriggling in saucy terror. And then, horror unbounded, a cube of entombed layers coated in a crimson, comestible smear. Dreams fleeting and reborn, of monoliths—Pisa—floating mid-air and dripping gruel. A gurgling voice emerged from the deep, a chaos that did not speak a mortal tongue, a promise emitted: “Unlimahtated brrrrurdstihks!”
Meanwhile, over at the New Yorker, Dennard Dayle imagines a letter straight out of The Dark Forest:
Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve successfully contacted alien life. It’s not a dream—unimpeded by fear, you’ve accomplished what countless generations couldn’t. Impressive, considering fear’s role in survival. One could even say that you’ve achieved what they wouldn’t.
Take a bow. A hundred years from now, there will be a holiday named for you, observed across a changed galaxy: a day commemorating the moxie, intellect, and sheer luck needed to contact another world while knowing nothing about it.
You must wonder what comes next. After all, your imagination made this possible. Will there be media training? Your own office in low orbit? A well-deserved vacation? The answer is simple:
I mean, they're not wrong...
I mentioned that I went to Ribfest Chicago this past weekend. In years past I have reviewed the vendors and posted photos, but I didn't this year. Simply put, the fest hasn't recovered from Covid.
Two things especially disappointed me: first, the festival of ribs had only 5 dedicated rib vendors, not the 15-20 of years past. Wrigley BBQ closed during the pandemic; Fireside, Piggery, Q, and Smoke Daddy didn't bother to come; and Smoque, one of the best rib places in the city, has never bothered because with their Bib Gourmand rating why should they?
Second, all the vendors had serious quality or service issues. For example, from the first time I wrote about Ribfest in 2011, I've put Mrs Murphy's near the top of my list. On Sunday, though, I got a tray of goo from them. They had ladled on so much sauce that I had to scrape most of it away from the three tiny bones they'd given me, but the bones had spent so long under boil that "fall of the bone" became more "disintegrate off the bone." Another vendor had exhausted children of 10 manning the cash registers, and failing in ways you'd expect. (At the best of times 10-year-olds don't multitask well; at a busy food booth they handled each order to completion, including waiting for food, before taking the next order.)
Two vendors had lines a block long on Friday evening. On Sunday afternoon, one of them had no line—because they'd run out of ribs and it would take another 90 minutes for them to cook more. The other one, returning itinerant Austin Texas Lightning, still had a block-long queue, which upon investigation seemed to have more to do with the booth being woefully understaffed than anything else.
I hope next year they do better, or at least have more vendors.
I tried three rib samplers yesterday, and I'll probably try a couple more tomorrow. Today I had a ton of errands to run and I didn't feel like eating ribs in the rain.
Full report with photos (probably) tomorrow.
If Cassie could (a) speak English and (b) understand the concept of "future" she would be quivering with anticipation about going to Ribfest tonight after school. Since she can't anticipate it, I'll do double-duty and drool on her behalf. It helps that the weather today looks perfect: sunny, not too hot, with a strong chance of delicious pork ribs.
Meanwhile, I have a few things to read on my commute that I didn't get to yesterday:
Finally, as I ride on the UP-N commuter line in an hour or so, I can imagine what it will be like when the train gets a battery-powered locomotive in a few years.
More photos from last weekend. I mentioned The Samuel Palmer in Shoreham, Kent, where I stopped after my hike through the Kentish Downs. I didn't mention that I had a delightful cheese plate for dinner, because cheese:
Then I got to experience four Chicago blocks' worth of an English country road at 10:30pm getting to the railway station:
On Saturday, I walked along the Regent's Canal on my way to the Southampton Arms:
Which remains, as ever, one of my favorite pubs in the world:
I will return to all of these places in due course.