The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Let's talk turkey

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.

Twisted Hippo, Chicago

Welcome to stop #62 on the Brews and Choos project.

Note: A massive fire destroyed the brewery on 21 February 2022.

Brewery: Twisted Hippo, 2925 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago
Train line: CTA Brown Line, Francisco
Time from Chicago: 38 minutes
Distance from station: 700 m

I will say this: Twisted Hippo has awesome beer names, and I respect the way they portray Africa's deadliest animal as kind of cute. And inebriated.

I was less impressed by their brewpub than I had hoped, though. It seemed more like a suburban pizza joint than a brewery, despite the large brewing vessels and aforementioned beers.

I mean, that's just loud, visually at least. They kept the music to a comfortable level, else I'd have gotten totally overstimulated.

They use Toast for ordering, so you don't actually interact with a human being before choosing food and beer unless you sit at the bar. I tried the Midnight Revere Milk Stout (5.3%), a solid example of the style, with chocolate and coffee galore and a smooth-as-silk finish. It paired well with my pulled pork "sando."

I finished with the C-HOP 137 IPA (7.2%), which had more hops than a rabbit warren, and underwhelming malt notes. I like hops, and I like IPAs, but this one was too much for me.

They don't have a patio (sorry, doggies) but they do have an enormous back room with pinball machines and live music from time to time.

Also, I should note that East Albany Park and Ravenswood Gardens, the two neighborhoods north and east of the brewpub, are freakin' gorgeous. They were developed in the late 1910s and early 1920s as suburban retreats from the hustle and bustle of the city, so they're chock full of cute "affordable" bungalows that would have set you back about $1,600 when built and go for about $700,000 today. (There's also that godawful modernist piece of crap at 2907 W. Wilson that you have to see to believe.)

Beer garden? No
Dogs OK? No
Televisions? Yes, but they only advertise beers
Serves food? Full pub menu
Would hang out with a book? Maybe
Would hang out with friends? Maybe
Would go back? Maybe

Nice fall you've got there

While running errands this morning I had the same thought I've had for the past three or so weeks: the trees look great this autumn. Whatever combination of heat, precipitation, and the gradual cooling we've had since the beginning of October, the trees refuse to give up their leaves yet, giving us cathedrals of yellow, orange, and red over our streets.

And then I come home to a bunch of news stories that also remind me everything changes:

  • Like most sentient humans, Adam Serwer feels no surprise (but plenty of disgust) that a Wisconsin jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse: "This is the legal regime that a powerful minority of gun-rights advocates have built—one in which Americans are encouraged to settle their differences with lethal force, preferably leaving as few witnesses capable of testimony as possible."
  • Charles Blow worries about the follow-on effectsi.e., vigilantism. Says Blow, "Right-wing gun culture is not unlike the wellness industry, in that it requires the cultivation of a sustained insecurity in its audience, in order to facilitate the endless purchase of its products."
  • Dan Friedman finds Rittenhouse's acquittal terrifying: "[M]ost reasonable people would agree that armed vigilantes facing off with armed protesters, or rioters—while police hide blocks away in armored vehicles—is, by and large, bad. But in Kenosha, and much the country, it is legal. And it is becoming normal. ... [T]he biggest failure was that the events of the trial, and the public perception of it, will not deter the kind of conduct that led to it. It seems sure to cause more right-wing vigilantism, more armed confrontations, and more political violence in the streets."

Outside of Kenosha:

Finally, Israel's government has loosened the certification process for Kashrut inspectors, to the outrage (do they express any other emotion?) of the Haredim. One possible factor? "The head of the Chief Rabbinate’s kashrut division was indicted on bribery charges in 2020 after being videotaped allegedly accepting envelopes of cash from food importers." Oy gevalt!

The busy season

I've spent today alternately upgrading my code base for my real job to .NET 6.0, and preparing for the Apollo Chorus performances of Händel's Messiah on December 11th and 12th.

Cassie, for her part, enjoys when I work from home, even if we haven't spent a lot of time outside today because (a) I've had a lot to do and (b) it rained from 11am to just about now.

So, as I wait for the .NET 6 update to build and deploy on our dev/test CI/CD instance (I think I set the new environments on our app services correctly), I have a few things to read:

OK, the build has...well, crap. I didn't set the environment correctly after all.

Update: Fixed the build bit. And the rain stopped. But the test platform is the wrong version. FFS.

Update: Well, I have to pick something up from a store before 6, so I'll come back to this task later.

Update: Even though I've had 4 tiny commits of minor things that broke with the .NET 6 upgrade, this hasn't gone poorly. Kudos to Microsoft for providing a straightforward upgrade path.

Gonna make me sweat, gonna make me groove

In the "how old do I feel now" department for this week, fifty years ago today, Led Zeppelin released their fourth album:

Led Zeppelin‘s fourth album is variously known as Led Zeppelin IVUntitledFour Symbols and Zoso, but its true title is formed by the four unpronounceable symbols chosen by each band member. Page did that to retaliate against writers, including several in Rolling Stone, who’d snubbed the band’s music: “After all we had accomplished, the press was still calling us a hype. So that is why the fourth album was untitled.” He also refused to give any interviews for a period of 18 months.

Thus, one of the best-selling rock albums of all time (23 million copies in the U.S., at last count) was fueled by the bandmates’ resentment; they were victors who felt like underdogs. The gatefold album design had no photos or band information, which was “professional suicide,” one industry expert warned Page, but it only added to the album’s – and group’s – still-enduring air of high-school-hallway mystery.

At first, the essence of Led Zeppelin seemed to be brutality. It was a “very animal thing, a hellishly powerful thing,” in Plant’s words. Then fortuitously, in the next decade, each band member developed his own unique power. Plant added questing lyrics to his high, keening wails of abandon. Page emerged as one of rock’s most adventurous and imaginative producers, and turned out epic guitar riffs like he was an assembly line. Jones played every instrument short of the kazoo, fortifying and expanding the band’s weaponry and arrangements.

Fifty years later, the album still rocks. It's on my playlist for today, right after my 2pm meeting.

Chicago Distilling Co., Chicago

Welcome to stop #61 on the Brews and Choos project.

Distillery: Chicago Distilling Co., 2359 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Train line: CTA Blue Line, California
Time from Chicago: 14 minutes
Distance from station: 300 m

It's dangerous to have such a great distillery two doors down from a great brewpub. It's also convenient, when you're out with friends and want to have a cocktail after having a pile of pub food.

Chicago Distilling makes really good spirits, full stop. And they've recently launched a line of ready-to-drink cocktails, making all the spirits and mixers in-house.

After visiting Revolution on Friday evening, my friends and I ended the evening with three varieties of Old Fashioneds for them and a 60 mL sample of their single-malt Rauch whiskey for me. It tasted as smooth and malty as a solid Speyside Scotch, with just enough smokiness to suggest a blend with a good Islay. I'll try to find some in stores; it's worth another taste.

Outside space? No
Dogs OK? No
Televisions? None
Serves food? No; BYOF
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes

Revolution Brewpub, Chicago

Welcome to stop #60 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Revolution Brewpub., 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Train line: CTA Blue Line, California
Time from Chicago: 14 minutes
Distance from station: 200 m

I've enjoyed Revolution beers for such a long time I can't really review them like I do the ones I've just met. When I met some friends for dinner at their brewpub (cf. the Revolution Taproom on Kedzie), I did try a new (to me) beer, the Hazy Pitch New England IPA (5.0%).

Like the rest of their lineup, it has excellent flavor and balance, and I'm glad I got to try the limited-edition brew.

I also had a very tasty hamburger, and cheese curds with homemade Buffalo sauce.

Beer garden? No
Dogs OK? No
Televisions? Two, avoidable
Serves food? Full pub menu
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes

Slouching towards fascism

The software release yesterday that I thought might be exciting turned out to be fairly boring, which was a relief. Today I'm looking through an ancient data set of emails sent to and from some white-collar criminals, which is annoying only because there are millions and I have to write some parsing tools for them.

So while I'm decompressing the data set, I'll amuse myself with these articles, from least to most frightening:

Whee! WinZip has finished decompressing all 517,000 files. Now to write a parser...

Where did Monday go?

I'm troubled not only that it's already November but also that it's already 5pm. I've been heads-down coding all day and I've got a dress rehearsal tonight. I did, at least, flag these for later:

OK, 30 minutes more coding, then off to the Kehrein Center for our final rehearsal before Sunday's performance.