The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Monday, Monday (ba dah, ba dah dah ba)

I woke up this morning feeling like I'm fighting a cold, which usually means I'm fighting a cold. One negative Covid test later, I'm still debating whether to go to rehearsal tonight. Perhaps after a nap. And wearing an N-95.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world:

  • Kenyan runner Kelvin Kiptum ran the world's fastest marathon yesterday in Chicago, finishing the race in 2:00:35, 36 seconds faster than Eliud Kipchoge's 2:01:09 set last year in Berlin.
  • David Ignatius reflects on the massive intelligence failure that allowed Hamas to attack Israel over the weekend.
  • Matt Ford completely debunks the XPOTUS's argument that being president granted him total immunity from prosecution. Along those lines, David Graham says that anyone who represents the XPOTUS in court has a fool for a client.
  • David French finds "moral outrage" in the insult "OK Boomer."
  • Chicago spent $3.5 million hosting NASCAR over the summer, offset only a bit by the $620,000 in fees the organization paid to the city for the privilege. And we're stuck doing it next year, too.

Finally, pilot and journalist Jim Fallows annotates a 17-minute video of the Air Traffic Control conversations with FedEx 1376, which made a gear-up landing at Chattanooga, Tenn., last week. (No one was injured, but the Boeing 757 will probably be written off.)

Easy Saturday

Not a lot happened today, except that I and other members of the Apollo Chorus sang at the wedding of one of our own. She asked for some pretty challenging repertoire, but we nailed it, and we may have been the second-best thing about the afternoon. The best, of course, was watching our friend get married.

Regular posting resumes tomorrow.

The GOP Clown Caucus lights the tent on fire

House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) lost the first procedural vote to prevent a second vote aimed at kicking him out of the Speaker's chair, which will probably result in him getting re-elected in a few days. The Republicans in Congress simply have no one else who can get 218 votes for Speaker. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) would get 214, but no Republican would ever vote for him. And my party's caucus have absolutely no interest in helping the Romper Room side of the aisle get its own house in order.

Fun times, fun times.

In other news:

  • Former US Representative Bob Inglis (R-SC) wants his party to grow up. Of course, he's (a) writing in (b) the New York Times, so there's little danger of the children currently running his party to read it.
  • The US Supreme Court has the opportunity this term to undo a century of regulation, thrusting us back into the early Industrial Age and making life miserable for everyone in the country who doesn't have billionaire friends.
  • Live attendance at performing arts events in Chicago has dropped 59% from pre-pandemic levels, which we in the Apollo Chorus have noted and do not like one bit.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency will test the national alert system starting at 2:20 pm EDT tomorrow, most likely scaring the bejezus out of a sizeable portion of the Boomer generation.
  • Chivas Bros. announced a plan to build a new distillery on Islay, which would be the 12th operating on the small island in the Western Hebrides. Seriously: the island is almost exactly the same size as the city of Chicago (620 km²) but with almost exactly 1,000th the population (3,000), and it will have twelve distilleries by 2026.
  • A bar three blocks from my house bet everyone's drinks bill that the Chicago Bears would win their game against Kansas City on Sunday. They lost. In fact, the Bears are now the only major-league sports team in the United States that hasn't won since Elon Musk took over Twitter.

Finally, next week the western hemisphere will see an annular solar eclipse, so named because the moon won't completely cover it, leaving a ring (or annulus) of fire around it. Chicago will get to about 45% coverage, with maximum darkness around noon. Next April, however, we get a total solar eclipse, with the path of totality passing just a couple hundred kilometers south of us.

Post-concert hangover

Every time I perform a major work like a Mozart opera, I'm tired and uncreative for about two days afterward. I often forget this. So yesterday and today are more for recharging than creating, which is fortunate as the story I'm working on at my day job just requires changing a label to a text box and adding a Save button. (I should have all that done in a couple of hours.)

I expect regular posting will resume tomorrow.

Incremental improvements

i just pushed a new build of Weather Now that corrects a problem no one else knew about in the way it managed time zones. The work took about 3 hours over several days this week, sneaking half an hour here and there between rehearsals, performances, and my day job.

I also worked on some code to interface with my home weather station. I've gotten it to download and parse reports from my Netatmo devices, and to refresh (and securely store) the API access token. I figure it'll take about 3-5 more hours to hook that code into the Azure Functions that download and store weather reports from other sources.

Today, however, I have one more performance of Die Zauberflöte. So...maybe next weekend?

How is it already dinner time?

I had a rehearsal for next week's Mozart performances this morning, then I walked the dog and went to the grocery store. Somehow it's almost 6pm now.

One quick thing: Good Omens Season 2 hit yesterday, and I watched the first three episodes. In episode 2, starting at 22:35, David Tennant has a scene with someone he knows really well. And in episode 3, at 28:33, look carefully at the manufacturer's name in the close-up; it's a lovely nod to Sir Terry.

I might not post tomorrow as I'm taking a day trip to Michigan. Enjoy the weekend.

Papagena lebe!

I'm just over a week from performing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, so as I try to finish a feature that turned out to be a lot bigger than I thought, I'm hearing opera choruses in my head. Between rehearsals and actual work, I might never get to read any of these items:

Finally, New York City (and other urban areas) are experiencing a post-pandemic dog-poop renaissance. Watch where you step!

And now, I will put on "Dank sei dir Osiris" one more time.

Free time resumes tomorrow

During the weeks around our Spring Concert, like during the first couple of weeks of December, I have almost no free time. The Beethoven performance also took away an entire day. Yesterday I had hoped to finish a bit of code linking my home weather station to Weather Now, but alas, I studied German instead.

Plus, with the aforementioned Spring Concerts on Friday and today, I felt that Cassie needed some couch time. (We both sit on the couch while I read or watch TV and she gets non-stop pats. It's good for both of us.) She'll get more couch time tonight, don't worry. But she'll also be home alone for about 7 hours today.

I don't have rehearsal tomorrow, and in fact I have no responsibilities beyond my normal day job until next Saturday, so I should finish the coding soon. (I also have a task for an old client that will take me a dozen or so hours, and I really need to start that before my trip.)

In the hour I have before Cassie's next walk and me driving out to Oak Park, I need to study more German and some Czech. In the former we're now discussing how the bear and the mouse need to an apartment („Der Bär und die Maus brauchen eine Wohnung”, for what purpose I can only imagine), and in the latter, whether I eat salt („Jíš sůl?”) and that they have good coffee („Kávu mají dobrou”). Clearly I have more work to do in Czech.

Meanwhile, in other news...

If you haven't got plans tonight, or you do but you're free Sunday afternoon, come to our Spring Concert:

You can read these during the intermission:

Speaking of huge animals, two amateur botanists kayaking on the Chicago River near Division encountered the biggest snapping turtle I've ever seen. Chicagoans have named the specimen Chonk, short for Chonkosaurus. I have to wonder what Chonk has been eating...