The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Zorn Brew Works, Michigan City, Ind.

Welcome to stop #111 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Zorn Brew Works, 605 E. 9th St., Michigan City, Ind.
Train line: South Shore Line, 11th St/Michigan City
Time from Chicago: 84 minutes
Distance from station: 800 m

Zorn Brew Works provided a nice contrast to Shoreline Brewery, as tourists seemed to make up 90% of Shoreline's clientele and about 25% of Zorn's. It makes sense, as Zorn is in a more residential/transitional area, and Shoreline is about ten steps from the beach. It does help that Michigan City has signs pointing to both along all of the major streets, though.

Once again, we tried a handful of 150 mL samples. The Pilsenzorn American lager (4.8%, 10 IBU) had a lot of flavor for a Pils, with a long finish and a good malty balance; my buddy, who generally hates Pilseners, liked it—like Mikey. The Hey Man! New Zealand pale ale (6%, 33 IBU) also had a lightness and a malty, full flavor that was perfect for the mid-July heat. The Red Devil Red IPA (6.6%, 70 IBU) had bitter, big hops, and a strong citrus finish. That left the Major Galaxy's Full Nelson DDH hazy IPA (7%, 35 IBU) and it's weird (to me) finish that only one of us liked, and the Golden Grain cream ale (6%, 15 IBU), which my notes say was "Huh.  Smooth. Interesting. Unusual."

They definitely have an aesthetic. And food, which, after our big lunch an hour earlier, we didn't try but we heard was pretty good. But between the two Michigan City breweries, I would probably hang out at Zorn more often.

Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Outside only
Televisions? Somewhat avoidable
Serves food? Full menu
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes

Shoreline Brewery, Michigan City, Ind.

Welcome to stop #110 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Shoreline Brewery, 208 Wabash St., Michigan City, Ind.
Train line: South Shore Line, 11th St/Michigan City
Time from Chicago: 84 minutes
Distance from station: 1.4 km

It took 4½ years of Brewing and Chooing to get to Indian, because the Northern Indian Consolidated Transit District added a second mainline track to the South Shore Line from 2021 to just this past April. This ended the street-running through Michigan City, but shortened the trip from Downtown Chicago by 30 minutes at rush hour. During the project, however, NICTD ran buses between Michigan City and Gary, effectively cutting off three breweries from the Brews & Choos Project.

I finally got out there yesterday, despite the heat and humidity. First stop in Indiana: the Shoreline Brewery, just steps from the Amtrak station and about 1400 meters from the South Shore Line. (Why didn't I take Amtrak? The train schedule would have stranded me in Indiana for six hours. Nobody wanted that.)

So, I mean, it's fine. It's huge, with four outdoor spaces and at least three indoor rooms, plus a half-open bar area where I sat with my Brews & Choos buddy. They do have good food and beer, though. To go with my elote mac & cheese, and my friend's Margherita pizza, we got seven (7!) samples.

From left to right, they are: Duality Steam Beer (5.5%), Don't Panic English-style Pale (5%), Shoddy Dock session IPA (4.15%), Sum Nug American IPA (7.5%), Hop Drop, and Roll American Pale (5.4%), Bleacher Bum session hazy IPA (4.7%), and Lost Sailor Imperial Stout (10%). My friend especially liked the Hop APA, while I wanted more of the Duality (which reminded me of Anchor Steam, my first real beer) and the Lost Sailor—the latter in small quantities.

Not a bad place, if you find yourself in Michigan City. And it's only a 5-minute walk from the beach.

Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Outside only
Televisions? Only in bar area
Serves food? Full menu
Would hang out with a book? Maybe
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes

Stormy weather

Three celebrities from my youth died yesterday, but for obvious reasons none was the top story on any news outlet this morning.

No one should politicize the attempt on the XPOTUS's life yesterday at a rally outside Pittsburgh. We have no idea why the assailant shot the XPOTUS and three other people; the FBI and the Pennsylvania State Police are investigating, and with the shooter killed by the Secret Service, we won't have to wait for a criminal trial for the full story. I trust both agencies to investigate thoroughly and report honestly on what they find.

We need to wait until those facts are in before drawing any conclusions. Predictably, some people have already said some horrible things and made ridiculous accusations, and equally predictably, others have reported on those horrible and ridiculous things. I'm not going to do either. And I'm going to examine my own dark thoughts to get a handle on why people are saying what they're saying.

Violence is reprehensible. Political violence doubly so. This is not how civilized societies function.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the passing of Shannen Doherty, Richard Simmons, and Dr Ruth Wesheimer. All three were at their peak celebrity in my teenage and young-adult years. All three dying on the same day is just...weird.

Building a new train to Milwaukee

The High Speed Rail Alliance advocates extending the Metra UP-North (my line) all the way to Milwaukee:

Hourly trains departures will bring Chicago and Milwaukee closer together, strengthen the economic and social ties between them, and help revitalize both city centers.

Wisconsin and Illinois set a goal of 14 daily roundtrips, which is close to hourly, in the mid-1990s. More recently, the Federal Railroad Administration’s Midwest Regional Rail Plan called for 24 daily roundtrips.

But heavy freight traffic between Techny and Rondout on the existing route has made the current goal of 10 daily roundtrips difficult to achieve.

Here’s the value of bringing the UP-North into the picture:

  1. Almost no freight traffic. There are no freight trains south of Lake Bluff, and there are just one or two, daily, north of Lake Bluff.
  2. Stations in the Kenosha and Racine city centers will create synergies between these cities’ downtowns—and channel more passengers onto the trains.
  3. Downtown stations in Evanston, Lake Forest, and Waukegan will provide additional traffic and connections to Metra’s local trains.
  4. Metra’s ten daily Chicago-Kenosha roundtrips provide a strong foundation for this expansion.
  5. At one time, limited-stop trains made this trip in 75 minutes.

I especially like that they used a photo of the new Ravenswood station on the cover.

I'll be on trains for a couple of hours today; Brews & Choos reviews to come.

Guys, he's not dropping out

Everyone in the world knows that President Biden had a bad night two weeks ago. Since then, we've heard a steady drumbeat of calls for him to withdraw from the race. But did anyone watch last night's press conference? Here it is; I'll wait:

The convicted-felon rapist XPOTUS could not have done that press conference, because he lacks the knowledge, the focus, the sanity, and frankly the IQ to answer questions for that long.

And still, what did most press outlets report? That he bobbled the name of the Vice President.

Meanwhile, the convicted-felon rapist XPOTUS can't find a coherent thought with two hands and a flashlight on his best days.

Yes, the President is an old man, and he could drop dead before January 2029. But as he said, "I wouldn't have picked Kamala if she weren't qualified to be President."

Until something actually changes in the race, I'm done with the "will he drop out" bullshit. He's the President, and he's crushing it.

Other things happened in the last 24 hours that were more interesting than George Clooney's whining:

Finally, if Google Maps and Waze drive you crazy, you're not alone. Julia Angwin explains why, and suggests alternatives, like Valhalla.

Millennium Park before the millennium

I don't know the provenance of this photo, but it appears to be taken from near the top of the Prudential Building at 135 E. Randolph St., summer of 1968:

Here's approximately the same view from last year (via Google Earth):

What a difference 55 years makes. I especially like how we removed all the surface parking lots and hid them under the park. And I'll be there—under the park—tomorrow morning for another Brews & Choos expedition.

In other Chicago history, today is the 45th anniversary of Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park.

G7 slams the Israeli government

The G7, meeting today in Washington, strongly rebuked the Israeli government's illegal seizure of Palestinian land:

We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the EU, join the UN and the European Union in condemning the announcement by Finance Minister of Israel Smotrich that five outposts are to be legalised in the West Bank. We also reject the decision by the Government of Israel to declare over 1,270 hectares of land in the West Bank as ‘state lands’- the largest such declaration of state land since the Oslo Accords – and the decision to expand existing settlements in the occupied West Bank by 5,295 new housing units and to establish three new settlements. The Government of Israel’s settlement program is inconsistent with international law, and counterproductive to the cause of peace.

We reaffirm our commitment to a lasting and sustainable peace in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, on the basis of a two-state solution. We have therefore consistently expressed our opposition to the expansion of settlements and, as in previous cases, we urge the Government of Israel to reverse this decision.

Further, maintaining economic stability in the West Bank is critical for regional security. In this context, we take note of the latest transfers of parts of clearance revenues to the Palestinian Authority, but we urge Israel to release all withheld clearance revenues in accordance with the Paris Protocols, remove or relax measures that exacerbate the economic situation in the West Bank, and to take the necessary measures to ensure that correspondent banking services between Israeli and Palestinian banks remain in place with proper controls.

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz behind the woodshed:

Secretary Yellen reaffirmed Treasury’s strong commitment to Israel’s security. Secretary Yellen also emphasized the need for Israel to maintain economic stability in the West Bank by regularly transferring clearance revenues to the Palestinian Authority and ensuring that correspondent banking relations between Israeli and Palestinian banks remain uninterrupted. Secretary Yellen also raised Treasury’s February Executive Order 14115, holding individuals and entities accountable for perpetrating, inciting, or financially supporting violence throughout the West Bank.

Yellen meeting with Katz instead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with him can be understood as a rap on the knuckles. But that's not all she did, and not the only reason she met with him.

Yellen no doubt gave Katz a heads-up that the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control has added a number of Israeli persons and entities, including several farms and extremist groups in the West Bank, to the list of "specially designated nationals." This is the same list we put narcotraficantes and terrorists on. Americans are forbidden to deal with them, and we block their American assets and access to the US banking system. We typically don't do this to people our allies' governments endorse. It's a strong statement that Israel must stop its illegal seizure of Palestinian lands in the West Bank. I'm sure it won't mollify the anti-Israeli left, but it will help move to a two-state solution once the Israeli government gets its head out of its Knesset.

I will be curious to see when all this hits the American press. The Israeli press already has it, naturally. But I guess the President having a bad debate is more important than the President taking direct action to rein in the crazies.

(Thanks to reader MG for the tip.)

Nothing has really changed in the last two weeks

Josh Marshall sometimes gets excited, but he comes around eventually:

[A new poll] from ABC and the Washington Post...shows Biden and Trump tied and Harris actually up over Trump by two points. This is only one poll of course. But I don’t think it’s greatly different from other polls over the last several days. An Emerson poll, never especially favorable to Biden, shows the two tied. A Bendixen/Amandi poll shows Biden down one, Harris up one. A handful of other polls show Biden down two or three points.

I think these polls show a few things. One is that there’s a good chance that the run of bad polls last weekend was significantly impacted by response bias. (Dems too depressed and catatonic to answer pollsters and thus showing a ‘false’ or at least ephemeral shift.) The race actually remains fairly static notwithstanding the truly unprecedented events of the last two weeks. The idea that the bottom is falling out for Democrats just isn’t borne out by the polls. There’s other data I’ve seen that tends to bear that out.

Regardless, you can’t make this decision on the basis of the polls. Not for any high-toned or kumbaya reason but simply because they haven’t moved that much. If you’re looking just at the polls they tell you not very much has happened over the last two weeks. The question is whether you have a campaign and candidate focused and energetic enough to deliver in the final four months of the campaign.

The second point is what happens if Joe Biden withdraws from the race and endorses and is replaced by Kamala Harris. [A]s much as we think this is a big deal I don’t think we really realize how big a deal and how many unknowns it unleashes. Positive and negative. Even with Trump the US presidential system is highly highly structured, choreographed, bounded by all sorts of informal but highly binding rules. Something like this blows them all apart.

The President completely blew the debate. But as much as I felt awful for him, I really haven't thought it changed much. Both Biden and the convicted-felon rapist demented XPOTUS are known quantities. We can imagine another world where the Baby Boomers voluntarily get out of the way, but as a Gen-X, I have never seen that happen and I doubt I ever will. So these are the old white guys we have.

Still, regardless of what happens in the next five months, I can take some comfort in the near-inevitability that this will be the last Boomer-vs-Boomer presidential election. (I also believe we will have elections in 2026 and 2028 as usual, though if the Republican nominee wins, I think they will both be really ugly.) I also think that by 2028, we will have enough pent-up frustration with the system that we will have a real election between normal candidates.

But yeah, after this, I'm really done with the modern GOP, and I'm done with Boomer politicians.

People doing it completely wrong

If he were even a tiny bit better as a human being, I might have some empathy for the old man clearly suffering from some kind of dementia who spoke in Doral, Fla., yesterday. But he's not, so I don't. I mean...just read the highlights.

In other news:

Finally, I got two emails through the contact-us page from the "Brand Ambassador & Link Approval Specialist" at a little company in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick demanding that we remove a link from a post to their site. Each email was clearly the output of an automated process that must have scraped every post on The Daily Parker—all 9,479 of them—more than once, because each email had a different fully-qualified domain name and most of the links they included were for category or history pages. Clearly the BALAS hadn't actually read the post that contained the link. 

The request read: "We kindly request the immediate removal of these links to from your page because SchengenVisaInfo maintains strict editorial control over the information it provides. As such, we do not endorse the linking of our website without our prior consent."

This is dumb for several reasons. First, the emails provide clear evidence that they ran a bot over The Daily Parker more than once, which is rude. Second, this particular link could only benefit the complaining firm as it appeared in context as a way of finding out more about exactly what the company offered. And finally, before you send an email like that, you should confirm that the site you're complaining to won't ridicule you and your firm in a subsequent post.

Of course I removed the link. There are many better sources of information on the topic out there.

(Note to self: remove the company's name before posting!)

Tuesday afternoon links

It has started raining in downtown Chicago, so it looks like Cassie and I will get wet on the walk home, as I feared. I still have a few tasks before I leave. I just hope it stays a gentle sprinkle long enough for us to get home from doggy day care.

Just bookmarking these for later, while I'm drying out:

  • Researchers concluded that the problem with online misinformation and epistemic closure comes from people, not technology. Apparently we generally look for information that confirms our existing biases. Who knew.
  • Chicago has more lead pipes than any other North American city--and more regulation, labor issues, and general corruption, too. We might replace all the pipes by 2075; not so much the corruption.
  • Shocking absolutely no one, a study has found that drinking alcohol on an airplane is worse that doing it on the ground.

Finally, former US Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) died today, just as climate change once again contributed to a massive storm flooding neighboring Texas. I mention that because Inhofe, who served in the Senate until he was 88 years old, refused to believe that the planet had gotten warmer, and did his best to keep the US from entering the 21st Century by any reasonable measure. Oh, and he was also an asshole pilot who once nearly hit a bunch of construction workers because he wanted to land on a closed runway. He may be mourned somewhere, but the Daily Parker is glad to see him underground. So, presumably, is the FAA.