The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Blowin' in the wind

I have tickets to see the Cubs play Houston this Saturday—in Houston. This graphic just released from the National Hurricane Center suggests that even though Minute Maid Park has a roof, the game might still be rained out:

(For those of you without a handy map of Texas, Houston is just about where the "2" is in the phrase "2 PM Sat.")

At the moment, Ike is expected to make landfall just around the time my plane is supposed to land, just about where my plane is supposed to land, as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane with 95 kt winds.

Crap. I'll be watching this only slightly less than I'll be watching Friday's weather, if only because my life depends on Friday's weather and not on Saturday's.

Update: At least I would get a refund on my airfare if the hurricane hits.

Get your bruschetta out of my Camembert!

Via reader JV, a report of a "wine-and-cheese spattering melée" at the Ravinia Festival:

After setting up their blankets, chairs and a tarp, a group of concertgoers from Arlington Heights left for a restaurant. Returning an hour later, they found their belongings displaced by a Chicago group, which they confronted.

A woman in the Chicago group tried to attack a woman from the returning group, police said. A 40-year-old Chicago man then punched a 49-year-old Arlington Heights man....

(If you're not from Chicago, imagine a mud-wrestling match at Wimbledon and you'll see the humor.)

Magic number: 19

In baseball, the "magic number" is the number of your team's wins and the next-best team's losses that clinch the division title. Despite the Cubs' 5-game losing streak this past week, (mitigated by the Brewers' three losses in the same period), the Cubs' magic number today stands at 19, with 23 games left. So 19 Cubs wins or 19 Brewers losses, or any combination thereof, means the Cubs go to the National League Division Series.

Still, one might have preferred the Cubs not drop five straight in September...

End of the summer

Living in a temperate climate means everything changes constantly. But there are rhythms. Things change fastest in late August and early March, for example: the sun set after 8pm from early May until just three weeks ago, but last night, the sun set at 7:30; in two and a half weeks it sets at 7; three weeks after that, at 6:30.

So what prompted this nearly-inane observation? The insects. It's late evening and my windows are all open, so I can hear thousands of cicadas, grasshoppers, crickets—yes, even in the center of Chicago. And the spiders have come out by the hundreds, anywhere they can get two anchors and a cross-beam. While Parker and I sat at Ranalli's on Monday, two of them spun webs side by side in alternating gaps in the patio fence; there are four new webs on our back staircase in the last week.

To everything there is a season, at least above the 30th parallel.

Oy, Wrigley

My cousin and I went to Wrigley Field last night, and as expected, we had seats like you can only get at that park:

That was the only bad part of the evening, though, because thanks to Aramis Ramirez, the Cubs came back from a 4-2 deficit against the Phillies to win 6-4.

This put the Cubs fully 6½ games ahead of the Brewers. It's beginning to look a little like October...

There is one sad bit of news to report. The Mariners (50-83, almost the exact inverse of the Cubs' 84-50) yesterday became the first team to be officially eliminated from the post season. Maybe next year, Seattle.

Cubs best season since 1969: Tribune

There, they've said what I only hinted at: the Cubs are on track to win 100 games this season, and their current record (81-50) is not only the best in baseball right now, but also the Cubs' best since 1969:

Perhaps it would be fitting for the Cubs to win 100 games on the 100th anniversary of their 1908 world championship.

After Monday's 12-3 romp over Pittsburgh at PNC Park, they were on pace to finish with that nice round number, a mark the Cubs haven't reached since 1935.

...[Yesterday] the Cubs moved to 31 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1984 season.

If they win on Tuesday, the Cubs will be 32 over for the first time since, gulp, 1969.

Baseball. October. Wrigley Field. Mmmmmm.

Still first place

The Cubs are the first team to win 80 games this season, continuing their unbroken run in first place since mid-April. Can they make 100 in the 33 games remaining?

Maybe, maybe not. Still, it's good news to wake up to.

I leave for four days...

...and bison start wandering the Chicago suburbs:

Illinois State Police say four buffalo escaped from a farm in Braidwood and were shot after they blocked morning traffic. The buffalo wandered onto Interstate 55, shutting down the highway in both directions from Illinois Route 29 to Route 113 in the Coal City and Braidwood area.

First we get coyotes in downtown Chicago drink coolers, now this. These guys must think they own the place or something.