The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Eight in a row

That's how many the Cubs have lost as of last night. Somehow, even with Mr. T (yes, that Mr. T) revving up the crowd in the 7th inning, even with 8 runs, even with a sell-out Wrigley, they lost. Again. The game's highlight, from where I sat (on the third-base side where I couldn't see the Cubs' dugout), was Freddy Sanchez going 6-for-6. Unfortunately, Sanchez got those six hits for the Pirates.

Not much more to say, but for those of you who haven't been to Wrigley and wondered what Waveland Avenue looks like, voilà:

What did you do today?

Probably nothing like this:


Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army.... On 18 September 1944...Pfc. Mann boldly crept to within rocket-launcher range of an enemy artillery position and, in the face of heavy enemy fire, destroyed an 88mm gun and an ammunition dump. Completely disregarding the great danger involved, he remained in his exposed position, and, with his M-1 rifle, killed the enemy one by one until he was wounded 4 times. Taken to a covered position, he insisted on returning to a forward position to stand guard during the night. On the following morning the enemy launched a concerted attack and advanced to within a few yards of the position, throwing hand grenades as they approached. One of these landed within a few feet of Pfc. Mann. Unable to raise his arms, which were bandaged to his body, he yelled "grenade" and threw his body over the grenade, and as it exploded, died. His outstanding gallantry above and beyond the call of duty and his magnificent conduct were an everlasting inspiration to his comrades for whom he gave his life.

Pfc. Mann's story, and those of all the other Medal of Honor winners, are worth reading on Memorial Day.

May 25th has some history

As we wake up today to news that North Korea has reportedly detonated a 20-kiloton atom bomb (first reported, actually, by the United States Geological Survey), it's worth remembering two other major news events from previous May 25ths.

In 1977, Star Wars came out. (I saw it about a week later, in Torrance, Calif. My dad had to read the opening crawl to me.)

In 1979, American 191 crashed on takeoff from O'Hare, at the time the worst air disaster in U.S. history.

And now we add to that a truly scary development in Asia. And it's not yet 8:30 in Chicago...

"Absolutely torture"

Via Talking Poinst Memo, Mancow lasts six seconds before deciding waterboarding is torture:

"If I'd known it was going to be this bad, I never would have done it."

As TPM noted, "remember: this was in a controlled setting where the victim knew he wasn't going to be harmed."

Not quite what Van Halen had in mind

Via Cele|bitchy, one more instance of a person confusing fame and infamy:

Mary Kay LeTourneau, who was imprisoned as a 34-year-old teacher for raping a sixth-grade student, will host a "Hot for Teacher" night this weekend at a Seattle bar, KOMO-TV and the Associated Press report.

"It's turned into sort of a love story," says [Mike Morris, owner of the Fuel Sports Eats & Beats bar]. "I realize it had a sick twist at the beginning, but they're both adults now. They're both married by the state of Washington. So, it’s just go and have fun on a Saturday night — and if people are looking to have some fun, just come check us out."


Cooling off dramatically

Cold fronts always seem to arrive with more fanfare than warm fronts, even when they don't bring precipitation or even clouds with them. Here's the U.S. situation as of 7pm this evening:

Since then, the cold front shown draped over Chicago has moved east, passing over the city at almost exactly 8:35 pm. I know this because I had the windows open so their paint could dry.

Some explanation: Because it's critical that the Inner Drive Technology International Data Center not melt, I keep careful watch on the server rack's temperature. At 8:32pm, the servers labored under oppressive 30.5°C heat—very close to the point where they shut down spontaneously. Five minutes later, the temperature had dropped 1.5°C; five minutes after that, another 1°C; and within an hour—that is, by 9:27pm—the server rack was ticking along nicely at 25°C.

Ordinarily, when I know the temperature outside will hit 30°C, I turn on the A/C. Today, however, I had painters working on the windows, which meant for several hours I actually had none. (Windows, that is.) So my poor servers had to deal with box fans and whatever happened outside.

I, also, was sitting outside at the time, wearing shorts and a polo shirt. Officially, the temperature dropped just as precipitously in the real world as it did in my apart—er, office: from 27°C at 7pm to 19°C at 9pm.

Warm fronts sneak up on you. Cold fronts, while appreciated in the summer (as tonight's was), hit hard. Sometimes, looking at the actual data, it surprises me how hard they hit.

Bunch of weenies

I'm sweltering in 31°C stickiness at the Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters, because the painter is doing the office windows. Apparently they're much easier to do off the rails than on, and he objected to working around the air conditioner. Tomorrow it'll be 15°C in Chicago, but he's here today, so.

So while the IDT International Data Center barely hangs on (servers hate temperatures over 25°C), and while my hot dog pants on the bathroom floor, apparently Kraft Foods and Sara Lee Corp., two Chicago-area companies, are embroiled in a lawsuit about other hot dogs:

Sara Lee, maker of Ball Park franks, said that Northfield-based Kraft Foods Inc., purveyor of Oscar Mayer hot dogs, is running ads that claim one particular Oscar dog trumps the taste of Ball Park's entire line. One of those ads appeared in Wednesday's USA Today in conjunction with a giveaway of up to $1 million in Oscar Mayer hot dogs.

The full-page USA Today ad claimed that Oscar Mayer Jumbo Beef Franks beat Ball Park and ConAgra Foods' Hebrew National hot dogs in a national taste test. But in a footnote, the ad notes that the Oscar Mayer Jumbo Beef frank is being compared to the "leading beef hot dogs" made by its rivals.

The Sara Lee suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, says the ad is false and misleading because in large type it implies one Oscar Mayer dog bested the taste of all Ball Park dogs. But the footnote, "in very small type," says that Oscar Mayer compared its hot dogs to "the leading beef franks" of its main rivals.

Parker and I will investigate the competing claims and report back soon.