Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Wednesday 30 April 2008

Hat tip to reader TC for the story about last night's unexpected barbeque of 22.6 tonnes of beef ribs on I-80 outside Chicago:

The semi-trailer truck was headed east on I-80 about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday and was exiting onto southbound Interstate Highway 294 when a fire started in the braking system, igniting a blaze that consumed the entire trailer, said Master Sgt. David Bird of the Illinois State Police. The driver escaped without injury. The trailer was loaded with about 50,000 pounds of beef ribs, Bird said. He could not say what cut of ribs they were, but added, "There was no sauce."

Now, make them baby-back pork ribs and throw on some KC Masterpiece, and I'd still be eating.

Wednesday 30 April 2008 10:52:37 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink#

OK, it's not that the Cubs lost 10-7. It's not that the Brewers beat them. And it's not that it was 2°C in the park.

No, it's the combination of all of those things that made me wimp out after three innings.

Three innings. I'm so ashamed.

Tuesday 29 April 2008 23:24:39 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Cubs | Weather#
Tuesday 29 April 2008

I think this is a cool idea:

[Chicago Transit Authority B]uses will make fewer stops—four to five blocks apart. Kiosks will be installed at the bus stops to enable passengers to pre-pay their fares and board quickly once the bus arrives. Technology will be added to some traffic signals to extend green lights for buses running behind schedule, much like the signal-priority equipment that gives the green to ambulances and fire trucks, officials said.
Tuesday 29 April 2008 17:11:43 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago#
Saturday 26 April 2008

Yep, not flying today. Winds at 31 km/h gusting to 47 km/h.

Saturday 26 April 2008 12:28:29 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | Weather#

I let two things slip past me this week:

1. The Chicago Cubs won their 10,000th game Thursday at Mile High Stadium in Denver. (They have since dropped two in a row against the last-place Nationals in Washington.)

2. Yesterday marked 10,000 days since John Lennon died.

Saturday 26 April 2008 10:41:13 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Cubs | Kitchen Sink#

The Princeton economist thinks Obama is a one-note—and it's the wrong note:

...maybe his transformational campaign isn’t winning over working-class voters because transformation isn't what they’re looking for. From the beginning, I wondered what Mr. Obama’s soaring rhetoric, his talk of a new politics and declarations that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” (waiting for to do what, exactly?) would mean to families troubled by lagging wages, insecure jobs and fear of losing health coverage. The answer, from Ohio and Pennsylvania, seems pretty clear: not much. Mrs. Clinton has been able to stay in the race, against heavy odds, largely because her no-nonsense style, her obvious interest in the wonkish details of policy, resonate with many voters in a way that Mr. Obama’s eloquence does not.
Saturday 26 April 2008 09:01:32 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#
Friday 25 April 2008

Not sure what to make of this in the 21st century:

Penis theft panic hits city

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft.

Wow. From Kinshasa's police chief, Jean-Dieudonne Oleko:

"[W]hen you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there, they tell you that it's become tiny or that they've become impotent. To that I tell them, 'How do you know if you haven't gone home and tried it?'"
Friday 25 April 2008 16:16:45 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | World | Religion#

That's what my flight instructor said when the weather looked breezy. Tomorrow's forecast calls for 52 km/h gusts, so I might stay on the ground.

Another flight scheduled, another flight cancelled. Welcome to Chicago.

Friday 25 April 2008 14:33:43 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | Weather#

Via TPM, John McCain, trying to make a point, apparently thinks people won't pick lettuce for ten times the amount that actual lettuce-pickers get paid:

Now, my friends, I'll offer anybody here $50 an hour if you'll go pick lettuce in Yuma this season and pick for the whole season. So -- OK? Sign up. OK. You sign up. You sign up, and you'll be there for the whole season, the whole season. OK? Not just one day. Because you can't do it, my friend.

Fifty bucks an hour? Ten to twelve hours a day? That's not bad coin. Only trouble is, lettuce-pickers actually only get about $8 an hour, and they only work for a few weeks a year.

As Josh Marshall points out,

Who thinks you couldn't find Americans willing to work in lettuce fields if it paid over $100,000 a year? US labor statistics say the actual wage for this work is about $10,000 per year. And at that wage -- which, let's be honest, we all reap a benefit from in the form of cheap lettuce prices -- no wonder Americans are unwilling to do it.

At least McCain didn't mention cotton picking, unlike Lou Dobbs. But that's a different issue.

Friday 25 April 2008 11:34:27 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#
Friday 18 April 2008

Yup. That was, in fact, an earthquake this morning.

Update: Duh. Today's the anniversary of the Great San Francisco Quake 102 years ago. Holy meaningless coincidence, Batman!

Friday 18 April 2008 06:53:16 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | San Francisco | Weather#
Thursday 17 April 2008

Devotees of the ParkerCam will have noticed it has shown a lot of Parker's empty crate lately. This happens because I have discovered the miracle of the dog bus, whereby Urban Out Sitters delivers Parker right to his crate (complete with peeb-stuffed Kong) on days when it's iffy I'll be able to pick him up before 7pm.

The bus usually gets him home around 4pm, in case you're a slave to the ParkerCam.

Thursday 17 April 2008 11:10:12 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Parker#
Wednesday 16 April 2008

Very bad news from my dad: Reggie died this morning of lung cancer. He was 13.

Wednesday 16 April 2008 16:38:20 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#

I'm not usually personal in this blog, but a combination of things have occurred over the past 24 hours that feel pretty good.

First, my apartment is done. Done, done, done. The last door was hung on the last doorframe, the last stick of furniture found a good home for itself, the last drop of paint splatted on the wall. Done.

Second—and this is, I'm not kidding, front-page news in Chicago—the temperature hit 21°C today for the first time in six months (it was 27°C on October 21st).

And finally, I believe I've broken a logjam (passed a kidney stone? sailed around the Horn?) at my office.

I will celebrate with beer, a book, and fresh air this evening.

Wednesday 16 April 2008 14:25:45 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | Weather#
Friday 11 April 2008

Living in Chicago, air travelers have two easy options: American and United, both of whom have hubs here (United is headquartered here), and both of whom are two of the top-ten airlines worldwide using just about any measurement.

Astute readers will already know both airlines (accidentally just typed "airliens"—Freudian?) have made news lately. American is just getting around to applying an airworthiness directive to its aging MD-80 fleet, and United just announced serious fare increases that American will no doubt follow as soon as they can update their databases.

<Rant>

Both of them, however, have gone out of their ways recently to demonstrate why we used to have regulated airfares in the U.S. Now, I'm not advocating a return to regulation—in today's dollars, Chicago to Los Angeles would cost around $1,000—but it really irks me that an upcoming trip to Richmond, Va., would cost more than double if I actually flew into Richmond instead of to Washington, even including the $55 to rent a car for two days.

</ Rant>

Friday 11 April 2008 11:09:06 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | US#
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David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is a software developer in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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