The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Two big Chicago birthdays

Fifty years ago this week, steelworkers fastened the final girder to the tallest building in the world:

Placement of the beam — painted white and signed by thousands of Sears employees — ended nearly three years of construction that required Porzuczek and other ironworkers to climb up and down the steadily rising tower, wearing up to 70 pounds of tools around their waists.

The 110-story skyscraper at 233 S. Wacker Drive was topped out May 3, 1973. It ended the Empire State Building’s four-decade reign as the world’s tallest building and transformed the West Loop into a glittering office corridor.

“Along with the Standard Oil Building, it set the tone for the entire market,” said Goldie Wolfe Miller, who spent decades leasing downtown buildings. “All of a sudden, we became a mecca of first-class quality office buildings.”

The 443-meter Willis Tower lost its crown as world’s tallest in 1998, when it was surpassed by Malaysia’s Petronas Twin Towers, and the American title in 2014 when New York City’s One World Trade Center was completed. After decades of construction in Asian countries, it’s now the 23rd tallest in the world.

Superdawg, another Chicago institution turns 75 this month:

Whether it’s been for date nights, parties or just a quick snack, Superdawg has served generations of Chicagoans.

The iconic drive-in celebrates 75 years of business this month. The owners said they are maintaining its legacy by staying true to the original recipes, getting to know regulars and treating employees like a big family.

“Every day is special,” said Lisa Drucker, who co-owns the drive-in with her husband, Don Drucker, and her brother, Scott Berman.

Lisa Drucker and Berman’s parents, high school sweethearts Maurie and Flaurie Berman, created Superdawg in 1948, taking over the lot at 6363 N. Milwaukee Ave. and turning it into a destination for locals and tourists.

Happy birthday to both.

Clear, cool April morning

The clouds have moved off to the east, so it's a bit warmer and a lot sunnier than yesterday. I still have to wait for an automated build to run. For some reason (which I will have to track down after lunch), our CI builds have gone from 22 minutes to 37. Somewhere in the 90 kB of logs I'll find out why.

Meanwhile, happy Fox News On Trial Day:

Finally, I've started reading The Odyssey, so I applaud National Geographic's article this month on the history of the ancient world in which Homer set the poem.

Toujours, quelque damn chose

But for me, it was Tuesday:

  • The Democratic National Committee has selected Chicago to host its convention next August, when (I assume) our party will nominate President Biden for a second term. We last hosted the DNC in 1996, when the party nominated President Clinton for his second term.
  • Just a few minutes ago, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg filed suit in the Southern District of New York to enjoin US Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) from interfering in the prosecution of the XPOTUS.
  • Speaking of the House Moron Caucus, Jonah Goldberg worries that the kids following people like Jordan and the XPOTUS have never learned how to behave in public, with predictable and dire consequences for public discourse in the future.
  • And speaking of, uh, discourse, New York Magazine features Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) on its cover this week, in which the actor describes her meeting in 2006 with a "pop-culture curiosity" years before destroying American democracy even entered into his dementia-addled brain. It...isn't pretty.
  • Jennifer Rubin thinks the Religious Right's "victory" in politicizing the Federal judiciary will cripple the Republican Party. (I believe she's right.)
  • Today I learned that Guthrie's Tavern did not die during the pandemic, and in fact will offer free hot dogs during Cubs home games to all paying customers (while supplies last).
  • Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal, the CEO and president of Chicago tech company Outcome Health, were convicted on 32 counts of fraud and other crimes for their roles in stealing investors' money.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope has detected a runaway black hole moving close to 1,000 km/s with a 200,000-light-year tail of baby stars following it. (Those baby stars happened because at that speed, it wasn't able to pull out in time...)
  • MAD Magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee, inventor of the Fold-In, died Monday at 102.

Finally, Tupperware has warned its creditors and shareholders that it may go out of business in what I have to call...an uncontained failure of the company.

In other news

Stuff read while waiting for code to compile:

Finally, Chicago Tribune food critic Louisa Chu says I should take a 45-minute drive down to Bridgeview to try some Halal fried chicken—just, maybe, after Ramadan ends.

Obscurity Brewing, Elburn

Welcome to stop #81 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Obscurity Brewing, 113 W. North St., Elburn
Train line: Union Pacific West, Elburn
Time from Chicago: 85 minutes (Zone I)
Distance from station: 1.2 km

Elburn, Ill., is the end of the line for the Union Pacific West line. The station opened in 2006, extending the line past Geneva for the first time since the Chicago & North Western ceased intercity train service in 1971. In fact, when the last C&NW train pulled into Elburn 51 years ago, it stopped right at what is now the Obscurity Brewing Co.

Obscurity opened in the summer of 2020, after I'd already visited Penrose Brewing, at that point the farthest western Brews & Choos stop. They have two notable features: really good BBQ, and lots of honey, which makes sense as they have a sister location just across Main St. that makes mead and honeyed ciders. (Unfortunately, the mead hall only opens after 5pm on Fridays, so I'll have to stop back in Elburn some Saturday or Sunday when the train schedules work out better.)

I ordered a flight of four very different styles and a brisket sandwich. Starting at the top left, I tried the Train with Square Wheels milk stout (5%), a smooth, subtle, chocolatey pour with a clean finish. The American Pilsner (bottom left, 5.2%) would refresh me on a hot day, with its nice balance of malt and hops. The Good Kiss Braggot IPA (top right, 6.5%) had a sweetness I didn't expect and pretty subtle hop notes for an IPA, but I learned that "braggot" means they brewed it with honey. The Launch Juice hazy IPA (bottom right, 6.7%) was my favorite of the four, with nice Citra notes of grapefruit and pear, with a lingering finish and delicious mouthfeel.

I also sampled the Nemesis Cider (not pictured, 5%), which had lots of flavor: honeycrisp apple, pear, and a few other notes, sweet without cloying.

I would go back for the brisket, too.

And I love that they lean into the Metra theme:

Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Outside only
Televisions? Yes, unavoidable
Serves food? Really good BBQ
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes


Photo: The Elburn Metra station with its one train waiting to head back to Chicago.

Why doesn't the AP want me to give them money?

I spent way more time than I should have this morning trying to set up an API key for the Associated Press data tools. Their online form to sign up created a general customer-service ticket, which promptly got closed with an instruction to...go to the online sign-up form. They also had a phone number, which turned out to have nothing to do with sales. And I've now sent two emails a week apart to their "digital sales" office, with crickets in response.

The New York Times had an online setup that took about five minutes, and I'm already getting stuff using Postman. Nice.

Meanwhile:

Finally, I've got a note on my calendar to check out the Karen's Diner pop-up in Wrigleyville next month. Because who doesn't want to be abused by servers?

Waiting for an upload

I got a lot done today, mostly a bunch of smaller tasks I put off for a while. I also put off reading all of this, which I will do now while my rice cooks:

Finally, I've mentioned heading to San Francisco this coming weekend, has gotten some rain. By "some" I mean over 350 mm of rain in the past 15 days, making it the rainiest two weeks since 1866. The weekend forecast does not look encouraging: rain likely, highs around 12, lows around 9, and yet more rain likely. I have never taken an umbrella to California before. First time for everything, I guess.

And now my rice is done.

How my weekend is going

Remember the stew I made Wednesday? It turned out one of my best:

And I had a lot of leftovers:

Remember Cassie getting a long walk to the big dog park Thursday? We did the same thing yesterday:

And after dinner, I got this rare (inverted for your convenience) photo of Cassie getting a belly rub:

Today, however, it's rainy and cold, so we will have less walking—but possibly more couch/belly-rub time.

Probably the last warm day of the year

Cassie and I took a 33-minute walk at lunchtime and we'll take another half-hour or so before dinner as the temperature grazes 14°C this afternoon. Tomorrow and each day following will cool off a bit until Wednesday, the first official day of winter, which will return to normal.

Meanwhile...

Finally, Amazon's ads really have gotten to the point where it's "a tacky strip mall filled with neon signs pointing you in all the wrong directions."

And in just a few hours, I will tuck into this:

I may run out of mason jars though...

Foggy Hallowe'en

A week after moving, I'm averaging 30 minutes more sleep and my Body Battery score is back to normal levels after two weeks of waking up like a zombie. I might even have all the boxes unpacked by this time next year.

Meanwhile, me shifting a couple tonnes of matter a few hundred meters did not affect the world's spin by any measurable amount:

Finally, the Tribune reviewed a new New York-style pizzeria in East Lakeview that...doesn't sound like it sells the greasy slices I used to get on Lexington after midnight. But I'll try it.