Now that I've got a few weeks without travel, performances*, or work conferences, I can go back to not having enough time to read all the news that interests me. Like these stories:
Finally, Michelin has handed out its 2022 stars for Chicago. Nothing surprising on the list, but I now have four more restaurants to try.
* Except that I volunteered to help a church choir do five Messiah choruses on Easter Sunday, so I've got two extra rehearsals and a service in the next 12 days.
Bonus update: the fog this morning made St Boniface Cemetery especially spooky-looking when Cassie and I went out for her morning walk:
Washington Post columnist David Von Drehle has some theories about cooking an entire bird for Thanksgiving:
The time is here again when millions of Americans anguish over a nearly impossible culinary task, in hopes of producing (by any objective measure) an insipid result.
I speak of roasting an entire turkey. This yearly project dates back many centuries, to an individual named Satan, who specializes in devising infernal tortures. Roasting a turkey involves placing an irregular form — meaty lobes, bony protrusions, fatty deposits, empty cavities — into a heated box with the mad dream of bringing all the parts to perfection simultaneously. Success is rarely attained outside the confines of a Norman Rockwell painting.
There is no “best” way to roast a turkey, any more than there is a “best” way to clean the gutters or check the smoke alarm batteries. Thanksgiving turkey is just another annual ordeal. No matter what preparation or temperature you choose, after a few hours all paths end at the same ho-hum. By the time you carve and serve it, it’s lukewarm to boot — just the way bacteria like it.
Now excuse me, I'm off to eat some turkey.
After Fox network blowhard Tucker Carlson whined that the National Security Agency, the US intelligence service tasked with spying on communications outside the US, had tapped his phones, the agency clapped back on Twitter:
TPM's Cristina Cabrera reports, "Carlson doubled down on his accusation shortly afterward on his program, saying the NSA’s statement 'an entire paragraph of lies written purely for the benefit of the intel community’s lackeys at CNN and MSNBC.'"
The NSA is just having a bit of sport with Carlson, but one can't know for sure. First, the NSA would never admit to spying on anyone. But second, even if the NSA were spying on him, wouldn't Carlson want to know which overseas friend of his would have attracted the agency's attention, and why?
In related news, the Manhattan District Attorney appears ready to charge the Trump Organization and its CFO with tax crimes tomorrow morning. Stay tuned!
- Author John Scalzi gives the STBXPOTUS a colossal take-down on his blog today: "We don’t have to wait on history, but as it happens, this is how history will remember Donald Trump: Not as a forceful, charismatic authoritarian, but as a corrupt and pathetic wretch, who spent the final days of his presidency shouting at the walls about how the world is against him."
- Alexandra Petri: "Now is not the time to point fingers, Julius Caesar. Now is the time for healing." ("I am frankly appalled when I think of all the things that have been said on both sides, like, 'Death to Caesar!' and 'Ouch!'")
- National security experts, including the former chief research psychologist for the US Secret Service, advise treating the STBXPOTUS "like he's a terrorist leader."
- It appears that Ivanka and Jared wouldn't let the people protecting them into the house to pee, forcing the US Secret Service to spend nearly $100,000 over the past few years renting an apartment close by.
- Republicans in Congress supported intrusive security for everyone else in the past, but now that it affects them personally, they don't like it. How surprising.
- Since the Senate has recessed, presumably so Mitch McConnell can avoid an impeachment trial, President-Elect Biden still has no confirmed cabinet officials, forcing the incoming administration into an alternative plan after taking power next Wednesday.
- Chicago teachers locked out of the Chicago Public Schools online learning platform because they refused to return to unsafe classrooms found a poetic way of expressing their displeasure: they taught from the Board of Education President's front lawn.
- Chicago's regional heavy-rail system approved a $1.8 bn purchase of 500 slick new rail cars, which should start to arrive in 2024.
Finally, the authors of The Impostor's Guide, a free ebook aimed at self-taught programmers, has a new series of videos about general computer-science topics that people like me didn't learn programming for fun while getting our history degrees.
The Economist's Bartleby column examines how Covid-19 lockdowns have "caused both good and bad changes of routine."
Welcome to the (abbreviated) lunchtime roundup:
Finally, Julie Nolke for the fourth time explains the pandemic to her past self.
You have to see these photos of the dark Sears Tower against the Chicago skyline—a metaphor for 2020 bar none. Also:
And oh! My long-running unit test (1575.9 seconds) has finished. I can get up now.
I think today is Tuesday, the first day of my 10th week working from home. That would make today...March 80th? April 49th? Who knows.
It is, however, just past lunchtime, and today I had shawarma and mixed news:
Earlier, I mentioned that the state's unemployment office accidentally revealed thousands of records in an own goal. Turns out, Deloitte Consulting did the work, so I am no longer surprised. Note to anyone who needs software written: don't hire a big consulting firm. They don't attract the best developers because they use manager-driven development patterns that irritate the hell out of anyone with talent.
(Asking for a friend.)
Because today she flayed Alan Dershowitz's laughable argument about presidential power by laughing at it:
The will of the voters found its highest and best expression in the election of President Trump, and anything that seems likely to remove him from power or even just inconvenience him a little goes against their will. If the Founders had wanted it to be possible to legitimately remove from office a president the people had selected, they would have made three equal branches of government and devised a specific mechanism for this to occur by a two-thirds vote, or something!
This is why the prospect of another election fills me with so much alarm. We know the voters want Donald J. Trump! They said so, resoundingly, with a minority of their votes, in 2016. Dare we risk overturning that election by holding another? Suppose he were not to win it! That would certainly go against the will of the voters. It would be just as much an overturning of 2016′s results as this impeachment is — perhaps more so, because Mike Pence would not immediately get to become president afterward.
The argument gets even sillier under scrutiny.
(No, she's not, by the way.)
Alexandra Petri has a suggestion:
Unsure what to get your family for the holidays this year?
Have you considered something that Devin Nunes is clearly enjoying, that even Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delights in, that Donald Trump made for his own amusement in the 1980s and has since gotten to share with more and more people as demand increased?
It’s Your Own Set of Facts!
From the people who brought you Alternative Facts, but also, somehow, from Russia, Your Own Set of Facts will transform the way you interact with the news, medical professionals and everyone around you.
Sadly, she's not wrong.
“I’m just saying if I narrowly decided to order fish at a restaurant that was known for chicken, but said it was happy to offer fish, and so far I’ve been waiting three hours, and two chefs who promised to cook the fish had quit, and the third one is promising to deliver the fish in the next five minutes whether it’s cooked or not, or indeed still alive, and all the waiting staff have spent the last few hours arguing about whether I wanted battered cod, grilled salmon, jellied eels or dolphin kebabs, and if large parts of the restaurant appeared to be on fire but no one was paying attention to it because they were all arguing about fish, I would quite like, just once, to be asked if I definitely still wanted fish.”
Originally quoted in Roger Cohen's column in today's New York Times.