The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

How do you pack for the trip?

I've seen some rough cold fronts, but in the last 24 hours the folks in northeast Wyoming have had a doozy. Here's the latest U.S. temperature-change map from Unisys:

The temperature in Gillette, Wyo. (right near the big "L" on that map above), fell from 6°C (43°F) at 5pm local time (00:00 UTC) yesterday to -19°C (-3°F) at 4pm (23:00 UTC) today, a rather alarming drop of 26°C* (46°F). Let's not forget the wind chill: with 26 km/h (16 mph) winds, it feels like -31°C (-21°F). At that temperature even Parker's big Labrador friends might stay home.

Astute readers may notice that the ball of fun on the map is headed east, which promises to make this weekend in Chicago a good one to sit by the fire and open the door only enough to let the dog out (regardless of what the neighbors think).

* This is correct; all the numbers are rounded, so the integer math doesn't work right.

Presidential address unintentional laugh lines

"Many of you may ask why this strategy will work when previous strategies have not."

"The majority of Iraqi Sunni and Shia want to live together in peace."

"We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to solve problems along their border." (Like, for example, the million or so Kurds who are fed up with both.)

"Even if our new strategy works exactly as planned..."

"There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship." (Well, sure; I mean, how would Terrorism sign a treaty?)

"Acting on the good advice of Sen. Joe Lieberman and other key legislators..."

Not so much a laugh-line, but: what's all this about Al-Queda "still" being in Iraq? They didn't move in until after we invaded.

Did anyone else notice all the books behind him?

Did anyone else notice that he's not taking questions?

The economics of gift cards

Anne forwarded a Times article (reg.req.) about how gift cards are bad for everyone except the retailers:

The financial-services research firm TowerGroup estimates that of the $80 billion spent on gift cards in 2006, roughly $8 billion will never be redeemed—a bigger impact on consumers," [financial-services research firm TowerGroup] notes, "than the combined total of both debit- and credit-card fraud." A survey by Marketing Workshop Inc. found that only 30 percent of recipients use a gift card within a month of receiving it, while Consumer Reports estimates that 19 percent of the people who received a gift card in 2005 never used it.

So I should start selling gift cards: $20 redeemable in puppy-petting time. I'd make a mint, and Parker would get lots of belly-rubs.

Old photos: New York 1984

I'm still scanning all my old photos, now up to slide #964 of 3,828 (not including the 176 rolls of negatives). In addition to the embarrassing photos of me as a gangly teenager, and embarrassing photos of my family (complete with 1980s hair and clothes), I've also found some of general interest, like these two of New York in July 1984:

In the bottom picture you can just make out that the Statue of Liberty is covered in a scaffold. This was during the centennial renovation project that ended with the statue's re-opening to the public on 4 July 1986. Also, you can see the World Financial Center under construction just to the right (West) of the World Trade Center.

Today's Daily Parker

We got back from Miami late Friday. Parker, happy to have us home, wanted to keep us as close as possible Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday, for example, he kept close to Anne even while Anne was off doing other things:

Also, my project start got pushed to either Thursday or next Monday (I'll find out later today). That means Parker came to the office with me this morning, and will probably come back again on Wednesday. He loves coming to the office. Of course, he seems to love just about everything in life, which I think is an attitude worth emulating.