The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

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....

One of those games

Given the Cubs' recent performance, last night's 8-2 loss against the first-place Marlins doesn't sound that far out of the ordinary.

Then you see the box score, and see that the Marlins got 6 of their runs in the 10th inning, and you start to cry. Yes, the 10th.

I actually left the park after the 4th run in the top of the 10th. The Cubs still hadn't gotten the first out by the time I made it to Addison.

I'll be there Monday, when (one hopes) they will not lose quite as badly to the Giants.

Quick hits

I'm returning from San Francisco this afternoon, so tomorrow I'll have photos from Saturday's A's game and, if I get my very own YouTube account, a video of my sister's dog. I'll leave that for now.

This morning, just a link:, of interest to anyone who deals with the Chicago parking system. I found it because I discovered only yesterday that, sometime today, my car will get a parking ticket. I discovered this when my alderman's office sent a notice of street sweeping yesterday saying they'll be sweeping the block my car is on today. A little more notice might have helped. Welcome to summer in the city.

Horse? Gone. Ship? Sailed. Car? Ticketed.

The Chicago Tribune reports today that the City Council now, five months later, wants to have hearings about the late-night, rush-rush, badly-managed parking meter privitization they pushed through in December:

Less than five months after the Chicago City Council quickly and overwhelmingly approved the deal, aldermen buffeted by public complaints pushed a slew of ordinances Wednesday targeting the $1.2 billion lease of Chicago's parking meters to a private company.

One measure calls for hearings to examine the deal, which ushered in dramatic rate hikes at 36,000 meters across the city. Another would halt rate increases until all meters are uprooted and replaced with "pay and display" equipment allowing motorists to pay with credit cards and place tickets on their dashboards. Yet a third would require a 30-day waiting period before aldermen could approve any plan to privatize city assets.

The proposals appear aimed at giving aldermen political cover amid widespread discontent and technical problems as the parking meter system transitions to private control.

Not that people don't carry around buckets-full of quarters wherever they go. Not that charging the same price for parking all the time and throughout the city fails to take account of the fundamental principles of demand economics. No, now let's have hearings.

I can't tell whether they were stupid or if they all got paid off. That's how badly they handled this. (Usually in Chicago the politicians aren't actually stupid, they just lose IQ points when confronted with fat envelopes.)

There is no joy in Mudville

(Mudville is that $1.5 billion park just over the Harlem River in the Bronx.) The Yankees had a disappointing 2nd inning hosting the Indians yesterday as Cleveland set a new Major League record:

A 37-minute top of the second at Yankee Stadium saw the Tribe put up 14 runs on 13 hits off right-handers Chien-Ming Wang and Anthony Claggett. The big inning, which set the Tribe on course for its eventual 22-4 victory, tied for the most productive inning in Indians history and set a record for the most productive inning by an opponent in Yankees history.

The 14 runs set a Major League record for the most in the second inning. The record was 13, and it was last accomplished, ironically, by the Yankees exactly four years ago against Tampa Bay.

In other news, the Cubs beat the Cardinals yesterday 7-5 at Wrigley after 11 innings.

Potpourri, without the odor

Quick update:

  • The Titanic dinner at Mint Julep Bistro was wonderful. Rich's wine pairings especially rocked—as did his beef tournedos in port reduction. Mmm. Not so much fun was Metra's return schedule (featuring a 3-hour gap between 21:25 and 0:35), nor my reading of it (I did not remember this three-hour gap). The fine for taking public transit out to the suburbs (because driving to a 10-course, 9-wine-plus-apertif dinner seemed irresponsible) was $80, paid to the All-Star Taxi Service.
  • I did, in fact, buy a Kindle, and I love it. I've now read three books on it and numerous articles (converting a .pdf or text file costs no more than 10c for automatic downloads), and I hardly notice the machine. It only holds 1.5 GB of stuff, but the complete works of Shakespeare ($4) only takes up 4 MB so space is not exactly at a premium.
  • I may have a new release of Weather Now out today; if not, then tomorrow morning. I'll be writing over the next few days more about what's different, and why it took nearly two years to produce something that, to some, will look almost identical.
  • Tangentially about my Kindle and software releases, I'm now reading Almost Perfect (hat tip Coding Horror), Pete Peterson's account of the rise and fall of WordPerfect. It's a fascinating tale of what happens when everyone in the company is just like you, and when entrepreneurs can't let go.

Finally, in a tiny piece of good news, it looks like we'll have tolerable weather Friday for my first Cubs home game this season.