The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Will tomorrow be sunny too?

I have no idea. But today I managed to get a lot of work done, so I'll have to read these later:

Finally, if you live in Chicago and look straight up and slightly north with binoculars tonight, you might see a little green comet that last passed Earth 50,000 years ago.

So bright! Much sun!

I can't describe how much better I feel today after weeks of gloomy, cloudy weather. WGN's Tom Skilling confirms it's not all in my imagination:

It's official—despite today's sun, January 2023 will go down on the books as the cloudiest January since sunshine records were taken starting 129 years ago in 1894. That's the word from Frank Wachowski who reports the month hosted only 18% of its possible sun--eclipsing the 1998 record of 20%!

On the other hand, the temperature outside Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters means Cassie won't get her hour of walks today, and I probably won't get my 10,000 steps:

And yet, one 24-hour period with temperatures skirting -15°C doesn't suck. We're still having a warm winter, all things considered. The December and January temperatures we've experienced put us in the top 20 warmest winters in history.

February, though. February might kick our butts. Except...

Know hope.

Notes to self

The sun finally came out around 3:30 this afternoon, as a high overcast layer slid slowly southeast. Of course, the temperature has fallen to -11°C and will keep sliding to -18°C overnight, but at least the gloom has receded! January will still end as the gloomiest ever, however, with around 18% of possible sunshine all month, plus whatever we get tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I want to come back to these articles later:

Finally, looking back a little farther (about 13 billion years), the James Webb Space Telescope has picked out some of the oldest galaxies in the universe. And they're really weird.

Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago

Welcome to stop #78 on the Brews and Choos project.

Brewery: Goose Island Beer Co., 1800 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago
Train line: CTA Brown Line, Armitage
Time from Chicago: 12 minutes
Distance from station: 600 m

I put this one off for a long time because, in the years since I last visited, Chicago has had an explosion of craft breweries. Also because InBev bought them 12 years ago. The combination has taken Chicago's first and, for a long time, only local brewery taproom and made it kind of mediocre.

So why now? First, because later this year they plan to move to the Salt Shed, so there wasn't much time left; and second, because I saw M3GAN at the Arc 14 theater three blocks away, so it was convenient.

Since I used to drink a lot of Honkers Ale and the basic IPA, on Saturday I tried three beers I hadn't actually had before: the Phantom Limb pale ale (5.3%), the Flyway West Coast IPA (7.3%), and the Hazy Beer Hug IPA (6.8%). They were all fine, and I would have them again, but (a) I didn't take notes because I was out with a friend and (b) I wouldn't have had a lot to say anyway.

Goose Island used to be the only game in town, but they were revelatory. But a lot more breweries have opened up since 1987, with a lot better beers. InBev goes for volume over quality. 

I'll still stop into their Fulton Avenue taproom at some point. And the new brewpub at the Salt Shed, when it opens. But really, stopping into their aging Clybourn brewpub was just to complete the B&C list.

Beer garden? Sidewalk patio
Dogs OK? No
Televisions? Yes, avoidable
Serves food? Yes, full menu
Would hang out with a book? Maybe
Would hang out with friends? Maybe
Would go back? Maybe

Collateral damage from urban interstates

I've written before about urban highways, never favorably. Ploughing massive roads through dense urban areas has done incalculable damage to North American cities that tearing them down or burying them has only just started to fix—but usually with an order of magnitude more cost than their initial construction.

Today I got an innocent little email listing houses for sale around Chicago, both because I'm interested to see what's out there, and also because I've been too lazy to turn it off since I last moved. But one house stood out today: a beautiful, 4-bedroom Victorian built in 1898 with a lovely wraparound porch, tons of light and air, steps from everything.

I would love to live in a house just like this. In fact, there are similar houses near me, with price tags around $2-$3 million.

This stately lady in Old Irving Park can be yours for only $750,000. And that jaw-dropping difference in value is entirely due to its location.

You see, even though this house is steps from everything—only four blocks to the Metra, three blocks to the El, close to the shops in the historic commercial corridor along Elston—it's also just 200 meters from the 10-lane I-90/94 expressway:

I mean, holy hell. Getting to the El or to the Metra stations at Mayfair or Irving Park requires crossing all those lanes of traffic. I've done it; the Montrose and Irving Park bridges are soul-crushing for pedestrians. Worse, the Keeler underpass (which you'd take to the Irving Park station) requires you to cross two entrance and exit ramps on either side of a half-block-long underpass.

I'm not even going to talk about how loud the 10 lanes of traffic must be.

In short, this beautiful house, "the second built in the area," can't get anywhere near the price it would had the city not destroyed the neighborhood in the 1950s.

Sad.

Tuesday night round-up

In other news:

And finally, a glimmer of hope that the 10-year project to build one damn railroad station near my house might finally finish in the next few weeks.

I just want to see the sun again

The graphical forecast for Chicago encourages me: it shows that the 100% overcast we've had for the last week will get a bit thinner tomorrow afternoon, then a bit thinner Tuesday morning, then...go back to another week of 95% cloud cover. Sigh. At least the sun finally sets after 5pm on Thursday.

Of course, the clouds actually keep Chicago warm in the winter, and the warm air keeps the clouds from thinning out until a strong enough front blows them away. So despite the lack of sun, the temperature still won't go below -8°C, which isn't bad at all for January.

Anyway, if I see the sun tomorrow, I'll post a photo, if for no other reason than to give me something to look at when it goes away for the next week.

How far from the park to downtown?

I love this chart from Twitter user Jay Cuda:

If you don't want to click through to Twitter, here's Jay's chart:

The chart doesn't tell the whole story, does it? For example, both Chicago teams, both New York teams, Boston, DC, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Oakland are all about the same distance from downtown, but easily accessible by train. (Chicago's are both on the same El line, in fact.) Atlanta's and LA's parks, by contrast, are approximately the same distance but completely inaccessible by any form of public transit. (Atlanta's new park even appears deliberately located to prevent those people from getting there.)

I speak from personal experience, as long-time Daily Parker readers know: I've been to every one of them, except the new Atlanta park, which I refuse to visit because of its anti-democratic location.