A couple on the north side of Chicago planted hedges around a patch of public park land and fought the city's attempts to get the land back for 15 years. Then a local blog got ahold of the story, and the hedges came right out:
About 8:30 a.m., a landscaping crew was at the home in the 3000 block of North Lake Shore Drive West to remove the hedgerow on public land. The politically connected homeowner, businessman Michael Tadin Jr., confirmed he ordered the bushes removed.
As neighbors watched the hedgerow being torn out, one person passing by said, “I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.”
Another walked up, threw an egg at the house and left a bag of dog poop on the lawn.
Block Club revealed Tuesday that Tadin Jr. and his wife, Natalie Tadin, planted hedges around the 3,000 square feet of Chicago Park District land in front of their home, according to an inspector general report issued last week.
The entire block from Wellington to Barry that faces Lake Shore Drive West was previously a convent for a religious order. About 15 years ago, the mansion and chapel on Barry were converted to residential use when the property was sold and the land around it was rezoned.
I have a particular interest in this story because I used to live directly above the property in question. I'll try to find a photo of it from before the convent closed.
Welp, it's July now, so we've completed half of 2020. (You can insert your own adverb there; I'll go with "only.")
A couple of things magically changed or got recorded at midnight, though. Among them:
And finally, I am now officially the President of the Apollo Chorus of Chicago. My first task: ensure that our annual fundraiser, Apollo After Hours, brings in the dough. More on that later.
As an old dog just a week past his 14th birthday, Parker has his ups and downs. Today was a bit of a down.
A little before 3 am he pooped on the floor, which is annoying but not the worst thing he regularly does, but then he couldn't stand up. He woke me up when he belly-flopped into the pile. He seemed very sad about this, but he did get a walk more or less immediately plus some very gentle pats on the head after I cleaned up.
He's not in pain, and he's a dog so dignity in these matters isn't quite what it would be for a human. But he has been declining noticeably since last fall.
I hope he stays healthy through the summer so we can celebrate his Gotcha Day in September. Beyond that...I just don't know.
President Trump predictably went off the rails (which makes a big assumption about his relationship to said rails in the first place) after this morning's 5-4 Supreme Court decision essentially telling him he screwed up trying to screw over the Dreamers:
The vote was 5-4 with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the decisive fifth vote that sought to bridge the liberal and conservative wings of the court.
Roberts and the court's four liberal justices said the Department of Homeland Security's decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act.
In his opinion, Roberts wrote: "The appropriate recourse is therefore to remand to DHS so that it may reconsider the problem anew."
The best President we've had in over three years held out for eight whole minutes before Tweeting:
He Tweeted a couple more dumb things later, shortly before Facebook took down an ad his re-election campaign paid for because it literally had Nazi symbols in it:
In its online salvo against antifa and “far-left mobs,” President Trump’s reelection campaign displayed a marking the Nazis once used to designate political prisoners in concentration camps.
A red inverted triangle was first used in the 1930s to identify Communists, and was applied as well to Social Democrats, liberals, Freemasons and other members of opposition parties. The badge forced on Jewish political prisoners, by contrast, featured a yellow triangle overlaid by a red triangle.
The red symbol appeared in paid posts sponsored by Trump and Vice President Pence, as well as by the “Team Trump” campaign page. It was featured alongside text warning of “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups” and asking users to sign a petition about antifa, a loose collection of anti-fascist activists whom the Trump administration has sought to link to recent violence, despite arrest records that show their involvement is trivial.
“We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate,” said Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman. "Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.”
We get to see this crap for another 138 days before we can vote this psychopath out of office.
Finally, after 97 days and an hour-long webinar on Covid-19 safety precautions, I will finally get to work in my actual office on Monday. We're allowed 2 or 3 times a week, with masks, sanitizer, and no passing between floors. (This matters only because my floor doesn't have an ice machine.)
During the informative webinar just now, I scheduled walks for Parker and started rejiggering my meal plans. (We're discouraged from using the refrigerators, so I'll have to scrounge lunch downtown.)
I'm actually kind of excited about this. And today, the city allowed bars and brewpubs to open, so maybe...could it be...the Brews and Choos Project can resume this weekend?
My bête noir turned 14 (fourteen!) today. I could not decide which photo of him to use so here are three:
For comparison, here's what he looked like on his Gotcha Day almost 14 years ago:
We had calm winds in my neighborhood this morning, so after walking Parker I grabbed my Mini and did an altitude test. I discovered that I had to replace 3 damaged propeller blades (more on that later), but after fixing the aircraft, I popped it up to 90 m and had a look around:
In the climb to that altitude I discovered that the tallest building in the area is only 70 m tall, and trees tend to be around 25 m tall. These are very useful data points when flying a tiny UAV that doesn't have obstacle-avoidance features.
Update: Here's the raw footage from the test:
It was too windy today to get above 30 m, so I just snapped this still before taking the Mini on a "walk" down the block. But I also didn't want to waste a perfectly clear day, so I snapped this before bringing the drone back down to eye level:
When you learn how to fly real planes, you learn slow flight first, because it teaches you how to control the plane precisely. And before I do something to permanently damage the Mini, I thought learning how to control it made a lot of sense.
Alas, the forecast calls for breezy weather all weekend and into early next week. Someday I'll get up to 120 m and let it get farther than half a block from me. Someday.
I love historian J.R. Schmidt's "Then and Now" series on his Chicago History Today blog. Mostly he posts photos he took as a kid (late 1940s through early 1960s) and contrasts them with contemporary photos.
Then, recently, I came across this photo from a location just a couple of blocks from me that photographer Bob Rehak took during an arson epidemic on 22 April 1976:
Here's the same location today:
Rehak's other photos from the era are incredible. Uptown was in a different universe 45 years ago.
Note #1: After 108 days—a record, I think—I finally got a haircut.
Note #2: After thinking about it for years, literally years, I got a new toy. It's a lot of fun. And it combines two of my favorite topics: aviation and photography. Watch this space later this week.