The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Today's Daily Parker

Parker is at home this afternoon. Due to a mix-up with the dog walker, he got two walks today because I was home all morning dealing with people in the house, but he got no walks yesterday. This explains why he bounced off walls for three hours last night instead of his usual two.

Today's photo has nothing to do with any of that. It's just an average shot from two weeks ago, showing the eternal cuteness of Parker and the anything-but-eternal good weather that we had over Thanksgiving:

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, and you're cursing the darkness, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. But I'll keep you in suspense until Friday's Daily Parker.

Psychology of Iraq

The Washington Post has a fascinating article on Iraq and the psychology of entrapment (via Talking Points Memo):

When you invest yourself in something, it is exceedingly difficult to discard your investment. What is devilish about entrapment is not just that it can result in ever greater losses, but that those losses get you ever more entrapped, because now you have even more invested.
[Wesleyan University psychologist Scott] Plous, a social psychologist and author of "The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making," said experiments show that psychological entrapment comes in at least four guises: the investment trap, in which we try to recover sunk costs by throwing good money after bad; the time delay trap, in which a short-term benefit carries the seed of long-term problems; the deterioration trap, in which things that started out well slowly get worse; and the ignorance trap, in which hidden risks surface suddenly.

Talking to walls

Frank Rich (sub.req.) today examines the depths, so to speak, of the President's (779 days, 4 hours) absention from reality:

The bottom line: America has a commander in chief who can't even identify some 97 percent to 98 percent of the combatants in a war that has gone on longer than our involvement in World War II.

Very sad, very true.

Snow dog

Anne sent this photo earlier today:

For some reason, it looks the same in black and white as it does in color...

Krugman predicts recession

Paul Krugman's column (sub.req.) today offers a bleak assessment of 2007:

Right now, statistical models based on the historical correlation between interest rates and recessions give roughly even odds that we're about to experience a formal recession. And since even a slowdown that doesn’t formally qualify as a recession can lead to a sharp rise in unemployment, the odds are very good—maybe 2 to 1—that 2007 will be a very tough year.
Luckily, we’ve got good leadership for the coming economic storm: the White House is occupied by a man who’s ideologically flexible, listens to a wide variety of views, and understands that policy has to be based on careful analysis, not gut instincts. Oh, wait.

I feel better; how about you?

Today's Daily Parker

This morning Parker hit a couple of huge milestones. First, as of today we've had Parker for three months. That's, what, almost two dog years? And my how he's grown:

And then, almost in celebration of the anniversary, Parker's universe changed overnight, causing at first some consternation, then glee. This morning Parker saw snow for the first time:

Anne reported that he first wouldn't go near it, then he probed it with his paw. At that moment there was a thunderclap, which rattled him. But after only a minute or two, he decided that it was kind of like the beach, and besides, he really had to go, so in he went.

All of this comes about because the first major snowstorm of the season has hit Chicago. By 6:00 CT (1200 UTC) we had 51 mm (2 in) of snow on the ground; now we have about 100 mm (4 in), and the storm still has more to dump on us. Here's the most recent radar image, clearly showing the center of the low off to our east, which means we've got stiff (30 km/h, 18 mph) north winds blowing snow down our necks:

Those of us old enough to remember the snowstorm of 1 December 1978 feel a little apprehensive. That day we got about 150 mm (6 in) of snow, followed by another 2.3 meters (90 in) over the next three months. The shopping center near my house had snowpiles as late as May 1st. This winter could easily be like 1978-79, because all the same conditions could exist: warmth, moisture, and a jet stream that stays just south of us.

In any event, Parker and the few stalwarts (Dexter, Louie, and Key) who showed up to the park this morning will have a lot of fun this winter. Anne and I will be picking up some extra gloves and long underwear just as soon as we shovel the car out.

Update: Anne, who quite justifiably is working from home today, just reported that Parker not only got to see snow for the first time today, but now he's seeing fire for the first time. Perhaps she'll send a photo?

This never happens at the Oscars...

From Australia, via Poynter:

The annual Walkley Awards for journalism were rocked by an attack on stage on Thursday night at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.
Controversial crikey.com.au writer Stephen Mayne was attacked by Sunday Telegraph columnist Glenn Milne.
Mayne had just finished awarding the best business news report to the Australian Financial Review's Morgan Mellish when Milne rushed up onto the stage and accosted Mayne, pushing him off the platform and onto the floor.

Why doesn't anything this exciting happen at American awards shows?

Today's Daily Parker

My poor couch. I have no idea why Parker wants to kill the Ikea couch I've had for almost ten years, but he does. He has now started working on the main cushions, having tired of the armrests and the pillows. Only, he has to work a bit to get there:

On a related note, does anyone need a slightly-worn blue denim couch? Near mint condition!

Bit of trivia: Yesterday's Daily Parker was my 500th blog post of the year.