The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Eight in a row

That's how many the Cubs have lost as of last night. Somehow, even with Mr. T (yes, that Mr. T) revving up the crowd in the 7th inning, even with 8 runs, even with a sell-out Wrigley, they lost. Again. The game's highlight, from where I sat (on the third-base side where I couldn't see the Cubs' dugout), was Freddy Sanchez going 6-for-6. Unfortunately, Sanchez got those six hits for the Pirates.

Not much more to say, but for those of you who haven't been to Wrigley and wondered what Waveland Avenue looks like, voilà:

May 25th has some history

As we wake up today to news that North Korea has reportedly detonated a 20-kiloton atom bomb (first reported, actually, by the United States Geological Survey), it's worth remembering two other major news events from previous May 25ths.

In 1977, Star Wars came out. (I saw it about a week later, in Torrance, Calif. My dad had to read the opening crawl to me.)

In 1979, American 191 crashed on takeoff from O'Hare, at the time the worst air disaster in U.S. history.

And now we add to that a truly scary development in Asia. And it's not yet 8:30 in Chicago...

Cooling off dramatically

Cold fronts always seem to arrive with more fanfare than warm fronts, even when they don't bring precipitation or even clouds with them. Here's the U.S. situation as of 7pm this evening:

Since then, the cold front shown draped over Chicago has moved east, passing over the city at almost exactly 8:35 pm. I know this because I had the windows open so their paint could dry.

Some explanation: Because it's critical that the Inner Drive Technology International Data Center not melt, I keep careful watch on the server rack's temperature. At 8:32pm, the servers labored under oppressive 30.5°C heat—very close to the point where they shut down spontaneously. Five minutes later, the temperature had dropped 1.5°C; five minutes after that, another 1°C; and within an hour—that is, by 9:27pm—the server rack was ticking along nicely at 25°C.

Ordinarily, when I know the temperature outside will hit 30°C, I turn on the A/C. Today, however, I had painters working on the windows, which meant for several hours I actually had none. (Windows, that is.) So my poor servers had to deal with box fans and whatever happened outside.

I, also, was sitting outside at the time, wearing shorts and a polo shirt. Officially, the temperature dropped just as precipitously in the real world as it did in my apart—er, office: from 27°C at 7pm to 19°C at 9pm.

Warm fronts sneak up on you. Cold fronts, while appreciated in the summer (as tonight's was), hit hard. Sometimes, looking at the actual data, it surprises me how hard they hit.

Bunch of weenies

I'm sweltering in 31°C stickiness at the Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters, because the painter is doing the office windows. Apparently they're much easier to do off the rails than on, and he objected to working around the air conditioner. Tomorrow it'll be 15°C in Chicago, but he's here today, so.

So while the IDT International Data Center barely hangs on (servers hate temperatures over 25°C), and while my hot dog pants on the bathroom floor, apparently Kraft Foods and Sara Lee Corp., two Chicago-area companies, are embroiled in a lawsuit about other hot dogs:

Sara Lee, maker of Ball Park franks, said that Northfield-based Kraft Foods Inc., purveyor of Oscar Mayer hot dogs, is running ads that claim one particular Oscar dog trumps the taste of Ball Park's entire line. One of those ads appeared in Wednesday's USA Today in conjunction with a giveaway of up to $1 million in Oscar Mayer hot dogs.

The full-page USA Today ad claimed that Oscar Mayer Jumbo Beef Franks beat Ball Park and ConAgra Foods' Hebrew National hot dogs in a national taste test. But in a footnote, the ad notes that the Oscar Mayer Jumbo Beef frank is being compared to the "leading beef hot dogs" made by its rivals.

The Sara Lee suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, says the ad is false and misleading because in large type it implies one Oscar Mayer dog bested the taste of all Ball Park dogs. But the footnote, "in very small type," says that Oscar Mayer compared its hot dogs to "the leading beef franks" of its main rivals.

Parker and I will investigate the competing claims and report back soon.

Next, sheep at the zoo

Naturalists in Chicago would like residents to count squirrels:

The Chicago Academy of Sciences, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and University of Illinois at Chicago are asking for contributions to Urban ecologist Steve Sullivan leads the effort and says the Midwest is a "squirrel hot spot."

Researchers say the data offers insight into to the rodents' behavior and the overall ecology of the region.

I'm waiting for the squirrel activists to protest the census for under-counting urban squirrels. The local coyote population was also said to be interested in the results....

Almost made up for Thursday

Another Cubs game, but this time, a win. The Cubs beat the Giants last night 4-2, with a small enough crowd that my cousin and I were able to "upgrade" from our actual seats and actually see the game.

You see, the Cubs organization counts paid attendance, which last night was 39,112—not bad in a park that holds 41,118. Only, not everyone who paid actually attended. We guessed the actual in-the-park attendance may not have crested 30,000, which was at least better than the sell-out we attended last Thursday in which half the seats were empty.

What to do, what to do

I had thought about writing a long entry on another technical aspect of the new version of Weather Now, but for the first time in weeks it's sunny and 20°C, and I just finished a final exam in economics. So, off to the dog park.

All y'all waiting for the lengthy technical stuff will just have to wait until it rains again.

Update: In the meantime, why not scratch your head, as I did, over meat business cards? Hmmm....