The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Et tu, Prospero?

The Economist's Prospero blog piles on the Cubs after attending the Crosstown Classic last week:

Teams like the Cubs give people a safe space in which to lose. Fans get the benefits of commiseration without incurring any real costs. The predictable losers also allow other teams to win. So really the Sox fans should be grateful for the Cubs. Such losers may not be so lovable on scrutiny, but their ineptitude has an extra civic function: they take one for the team. They’re a sacrifice fly.

And on the Fourth of July, yet! Limey bastahd.

He may have a point, though.

Photo of the Day

Columbus Park, in Chicago's Austin neighborhood:

Today, ISO-100, 1/80 at f/8, here.

The Chicago Park District describes the park:

[Designer Jens] Jensen's vision for Columbus Park was inspired by the unimproved site's natural history and topography. Convinced that it was an ancient beach, Jensen designed a series of berms, like glacial ridges, encircling the flat interior part of the park. In the center area, following the traces of sand dune, he created a "prairie river" flowing from two brooks. Two natural-looking waterfalls, with ledges of stratified stonework, represent the source of the river. Throughout the park, Jensen included native plants.

Jensen also included programming elements emulating nature. Broad prairie-like meadows provide a golf course and ball fields. He designed an outdoor theatre, known as the "player's green," for plays and other performances. In the children's playground area, Jensen included his favorite feature, the council ring, a circular stone bench for storytelling and campfires.

It's also two blocks away from the Eastgate Cafe, which has tasty and inexpensive lunch for people and cool water for dogs.

Kerner, Walker, Ryan, Blagojevich

It's impressive, isn't it, that four of the last seven Illinois governors earned felony convictions and jail time? Rod Blagojevich was today found guilty on 17 of 20 counts. From the Trib:

This marks the second time in less than a year that the 54-year-old Blagojevich, the only Illinois chief executive ever impeached and ousted from office, had been convicted of a crime. The jury at his first trial last summer found him guilty of lying to theFBI, though that panel deadlocked on all the other counts. That impasse set the stage for a retrial.

This time the verdict was unequivocal, with the jury of 11 women and one man finding Blagojevich guilty on 17 criminal counts he faced, including charges of wire fraud, attempted extortion, bribery and conspiracy. The marquee charge in the case involved an attempt by Blagojevich in late 2008 to cash in on his power to name a replacement in the U.S. Senate for newly elected President Barack Obama.

The jury acquitted Blagojevich on one count and deadlocked on two others.

Blagojevich, the fourth former Illinois governor convicted of felonies since 1973, likely faces a significant prison sentence.

You know, I feel sorry for the guy. He had this thing, and it was f'ing golden...

On the other hand, the guy is dumber than a box of hair. As the Trib drolled: "Blagojevich’s turn on the witness stand, something he had promised to do in his first trial before backing out, proved a double-edged sword. Under cross-examination he came off as a quibbler as a prosecutor drew a bead on his credibility from the very first question: 'You are a convicted liar, correct?' "

I'm not a practicing attorney, but even I could have guessed the government would lead the cross-examination with that question. Hell, the lawyers who advertise on the bus for slip-fall clients could have guessed that. But ol' Blago...wow.

I just realized that today's news comes in time for tonight's Daily Show taping. I can't wait to watch.

It was windy

Last night Chicago got hit by severe storms that included hurricane-force winds:

Violent storms raked large sections of the Chicago area Tuesday evening, knocking power out to nearly a quarter million Chicago area residents and transforming some thoroughfares into darkened obstacle courses, hard to navigate with streetlights out and debris, ranging from large trees to power poles and garbage cans, impeding if not entirely blocking travel. Police in some of the hardest hit areas were forced to light flares to mark fallen trees.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing transformers exploding at the height of the storms while others described some neighborhoods as "war zones" after the onslaught of storms.

... The storms generated gusts as high as 130 km/h at Wheeling and 120 km/h at Peru, Elmhurst and Wheaton.

I was inside, as you can imagine, as the storms ran over my part of the city, with horizontal rain and, well, lots of wind. At one point I watched the groundskeepers at US Cellular Field blown around as they tried to get the tarp over the infield.

Ah, global warming.

Summertime and the living is sticky

Summer begins today at 12:16 CDT, which is good because I'm tired of this 32°C spring weather.

My objection to the past three months of Chicago weather probably sounds familiar: we've either had too little or too much heat, and during warm afternoons, when someone might want to sit outside and have a beer, we've had instead crashing rain. Today's forecast sounds just like that, too.

On the other hand, it beats this...

Historic airplane lost outside Chicago

A B-17 bomber built during World War II crashed today and was completely destroyed by a post-crash fire. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. Unfortunately, the 67-year-old airplane, restored to flying condition just a few years ago, was a total loss:

The B-17, christened the "Liberty Belle," took off from the airport at 9:30 a.m. and made an emergency landing in a cornfield near Highway 71 and Minkler Road in Oswego after the pilot reported an engine fire, according to Sugar Grove Fire Chief Marty Kunkle. Witnesses said he set the plane down between a tower and a line of trees.

One person on the plane was treated at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora and released, hospital spokeswoman Courtney Satlak said.

The plane was one of the world's last surviving WWII bombers. The article had more on its history:

The plane that crashed was manufactured in 1944. It was sold on June 25, 1947 as scrap to Esperado Mining Co. of Altus, Okla. and was sold again later that year to Pratt & Whitney for $2,700, according to the foundation's website.

Whitney operated the B-17 from Nov. 19, 1947 to 1967 to test turboprop engines. It was donated in the late 1960s to the Connecticut Aeronautical Historic Association in East Hartford, but was heavily damaged in 1979 when a tornado threw another aircraft against the B-17’s mid-section, breaking the fuselage, the foundation said.