Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Saturday 28 January 2012

Via Sullivan, a snippet of conversation between Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich in the 1990s:

"Why do people take such an instant dislike to me?" asked a perplexed Gingrich, to whom Dole bluntly explained: "Because it saves them time."

In unrelated news, Parker and I are about to walk around in abnormally warm, sunny weather on what is statistically the coldest day of the year in Chicago. This is the warmest winter in 78 years, with the fewest sub-freezing maximum temperatures in 40 years. (Today was above freezing until a cold front edged through this morning; right now it's -1°C.)

Saturday 28 January 2012 15:07:28 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | US | Weather#

This came to me from one of the creators, Deena Rubinson, someone I've known since the mid-1990s. It's billed as "the saddest comedy ever," which may be true. It's also well-acted, well-written, and well-edited—which is a lot harder to do than people think. I'm looking forward to episode 4...

Friday 27 January 2012 18:11:36 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Friday 27 January 2012

Two items I haven't had time to read fully, and intend to do over the weekend:

That is all.

Oh, except: tomorrow the sun sets in Chicago at 5pm for the first time since November 5th.

Friday 27 January 2012 12:05:42 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | US | Astronomy#
Thursday 26 January 2012

The Hollywood Reporter has a lengthy (for them) description of how big-studio executives' SOPA effort looks, in retrospect, more like Pickett's Charge:

"They didn't understand the politics of the Internet, the power of the Internet, the perception people had of the things they were proposing," says an aide to a congressman who opposed the legislation. "The MPAA and the different lobbying organizations are trying to do it old-school and by the book. They ran into new technologies, new strategies, new techniques. I imagine they're sitting around discussing how they got beat."

The MPAA's [Michael] O'Leary concedes that the industry was outmanned and outgunned in cyberspace. He says the MPAA "is [undergoing] a process of education, a process of getting a much, much greater presence in the online environment. This was a fight on a platform we're not at this point comfortable with, and we were going up against an opponent that controls that platform."

More concisely: they just don't get it. And they probably never will, even after they become irrelevant (see under: record companies).

Thursday 26 January 2012 08:49:21 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | US | Business#
Wednesday 25 January 2012

Chicago is experiencing the mildest winter in 78 years, which means anyone complaining about the weather lately needs serious mocking:

Though this season has produced some wintry moments, last Friday's snowstorm among them, the vast majority of days---82 percent of them---have posted above normal temperatures. What's more, we could find only 11 winters of the past 141 for which official weather records exist, which have been milder up to this point in time.

Chicago's average temperature since Dec. 1 is running 0.2°C, well above the 141-year average of -2.9°C and a stunning 6.3°C warmer than the same period a year ago. That's a difference which suggests many Chicago area residents have required 17 percent less home heating.

A multi-day burst of frigid arctic air heads into the area in waves late this week into the coming weekend. Any one of them, if fully developed, could produce several inches of snow. The first is due later Friday into Friday night---a second swings into the area just ahead of sharp cooling predicted Saturday into Saturday night.

The arctic chill will come and go fairly expeditiously, as has been the case with previous cold spells all season.

The mild disappointment Parker might feel about our weather this winter does not bother me at all. In Chicago, we say our weather builds character. After [redacted] Chicago winters in my lifetime, with a few in New York, Lisbon, and Raleigh for comparison, I'll take one year off from character-building happily.

Wednesday 25 January 2012 08:25:02 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Tuesday 24 January 2012

I've wanted to hike the New York Highline since I first heard about it. I should go back when it's warmer, of course, but I still thought it pretty cool:

The Highline shows that an elevated urban park can work, both as public space and as a great way to preserve historical (or expensive-to-remove) infrastructure. I hope Chicago's Bloomingdale Trail follows the same model, once the city sees fit to authorize it. (The Bloomingdale Trail umbrella organization has comparison of the two projects, about half-way down.)

Tuesday 24 January 2012 13:51:46 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Geography | Travel#
Monday 23 January 2012

I love weekends like this past one. I went to New York ($150 round-trip, including taxes), saw a couple of friends, and did something fun I would never have done without being taken along by people who refused to tell me what it was all about (more on that later).

I also managed to get from Grand Central Terminal in New York to the Whole Foods in Lincoln Park, Chicago, in just over four hours, in part because American Airlines and I like each other so much.

Details later.

Monday 23 January 2012 17:29:09 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation | Kitchen Sink | Travel#
Saturday 21 January 2012

I'm at O'Hare for the first time this year, wicked early for my flight. This happened because I left lots of time to dig my car out, get Parker sorted, get to the airport, etc. As it turns out, the howling wind cleared my car overnight; there was no traffic; the main roads are already clear because, really, it wasn't that much snow; and when I got to remote parking, an enormous pickup truck pulled out of a parking space, leaving a patch of cleared ground the size of Connecticut. So...I brought a Kindle, and my flight is on time. No stress, no worries, no checked baggage.

Saturday 21 January 2012 10:33:51 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Travel | Weather#
Friday 20 January 2012

Working at home today (thus the earlier post with the dog). This is why:

The National Weather Service says it might melt on Sunday.

Friday 20 January 2012 15:48:23 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#

If Parker could have read this, he'd have been looking forward to this all day:

Yes, I know, I've posted remarkably similar videos before. Who cares? It's a dog having fun in the snow, which I think has universal appeal.

Friday 20 January 2012 15:15:04 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Parker | Weather#

My team are all working from home today because we have the technology to do so, and we saw this:

A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM THIS MORNING TO MIDNIGHT CST TONIGHT.

* TIMING...SNOW WILL DEVELOP DURING THE MID TO LATE MORNING HOURS AND CONTINUE THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON...ENDING TONIGHT. THE HEAVIEST SNOWFALL WILL OCCUR THIS AFTERNOON.

* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOWFALL TOTALS OF 5 TO 8 INCHES CAN BE EXPECTED.

* HAZARDS...SNOW WILL FALL HEAVILY AT TIMES RESULTING IN REDUCED VISIBILITIES AND SNOWFALL RATES OF AROUND ONE INCH PER HOUR AT TIMES.

* IMPACTS...ACCUMULATING SNOW WILL CAUSE SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED TRAVEL TIMES...RESULTING IN A PARTICULARLY TREACHEROUS COMMUTE THIS AFTERNOON. IN ADDITION...VERY COLD TEMPERATURES IN THE TEENS WILL MAKE SALT LESS EFFECTIVE AND COMBINE WITH HEAVY SNOWFALL RATES TO MAKE IT HARDER FOR ROAD CREWS TO KEEP ROADS CLEAR OF SNOW AND ICE. THE SNOW WILL ALSO RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT DISRUPTIONS TO AIR TRAVEL AS WELL.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT... FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

Parker is also working from home. If he could read, his attitude toward the weather warning might differ slightly from mine. On the other hand, we're both in the same room, which I think makes him happy anyway.

Updates and photos as events warrant.

Friday 20 January 2012 09:14:12 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Parker | Weather#
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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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