The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Alone in the office

After attending the ALS fundraiser (i.e., Lou Gehrig Day at Wrigley Field) last night, I decided to sleep past the normal play-group time and take Parker to day camp instead. Several bits of good news in this: first, the Les Turner ALS Foundation raised butt-loads of cash; second, even though the Cubs lost, so did the Brewers, so the Cubs are still only one game out of first place; third, Parker gets to hang out all day with his friends; and fourth, said hanging-out will make Parker sleep most of tomorrow when he's back here.

The only bad part is, of course, no office puppy today. Sad.

Must be the heat

Parker is fast asleep on my office floor, which is the first he's stopped panting since waking up this morning. Poor guy doesn't have sweat glands, and it's going to be another sticky day in Chicago, with heat indices approaching 38°C.

Perhaps the unpleasant heat has led the Cubs into first place. Yes, somehow, slowly, steadily, yea even stealthily, they have ticked up more wins than losses and last night surpassed the Milwaukee Brewers to sneak into the top spot.

Let's see if they're still there when I attend Lou Gehrig Day this Sunday...

Acme Animal Control

A coyote hanging out at Francis Cardinal George's mansion got away from Chicago Animal Control on Monday. Repeatedly:

The wild animal played hide-and-seek with police officers and later the Animal Care and Control team for more than five hours. The last three hours were spent chasing the coyote back and forth from baseball fields at Lake Shore Drive and LaSalle Street to the yard of Cardinal Francis George's residence at North Avenue and State Street.

The coyote seems to have sought sanctuary recently on the mansion's grounds. The nuns at the residence said they were not bothered by the coyote, which they say gets rid of the rabbits that ravage their garden.

Yes, they get rid of rabbits, which have surged in Chicago since West Nile started killing all the crows a few years ago. (Crows eat rabbit kits as hors d'oeuvres.) So why bother the coyote?

"It doesn't make sense," bystander Mahlon Canete said after the coyote whipped past him. "They're chasing him with a van. That was embarrassing."


Shortly after the officers abandoned their hunt Monday, the coyote made its way to the middle of the cardinal's yard and lay down for the first time in hours.

ALS Walk4Life Sept. 8th

I'll be participating once more in the Les Turner ALS Foundation's annual Walk4Life, this year on September 8th. You can make donations to my mom's team through CharityWeb.

Here's the text of my mom's letter:

As you all know, on March 17, 2004, I was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a fatal neuromuscular disease that attacks motor neurons. It makes even the simplest movements of walking, speaking, and gesturing nearly impossible. No one knows its cause; there is no cure.

Today, I can no longer live on my own. I have wonderful caregivers who help me with everything—from getting me out of bed in the morning, to putting me into bed at night. I can no longer speak clearly or type, so communication has become much more difficult. Even so, I am so very fortunate to have family and friends whose patience, care, and senses of humor keep me from despair. I have felt so cared for and cared about that "thank you" is hardly adequate.

Once again, I will be rolling along on the Walk4ife this September 8th to raise money for the Les Turner ALS Foundation. The money is used to fund Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Lois Insolia ALS Center for research at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine to find the cause of, and a cure for, the disease.

Donate and walk. Parker will be there, too.

Dog cruise

The Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society is having a fundraiser that sounds like lots of fun:

Mercury Chicago Skyline Cruiseline Canine Cruise kicks off its 2007 season by hosting a fundraising cruise to support the important programs and services of The Anti-Cruelty Society. Join well-behaved, leashed Chicago pups and their companions on Thursday, June 28 from 7:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. for a relaxing 90-minute lake and river cruise aboard the Skyline Queen.

Pups will get the royal treatment. A wind-in-the-face experience that can not be beat, all the comforts of home, including water bowls and a restroom, and delectable and doggy-licious treats courtesy of Dog-a-Holics. After all, sailing can make any pup hungry!

Admission to The Anti-Cruelty Society Canine Cruise is $35.00 per person, with or without a dog. Dogs are free. Since ACS is a non for profit, the $35 is a tax deduction.

The cruise will board at the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue bridge at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive (look for the blue awning). To make reservations, call (312) 644-8338, extension 307.

Learn more here:

Obama health-care proposal "smart and serious:" Krugman

Princeton economist Paul Krugman, writing in today's New York Times, says Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) health care proposal has "a lot to commend" but "not as comprehensive as [he] would have liked:"

You can’t be serious about health care without proposing an injection of federal funds to help lower-income families pay for insurance, and that means advocating some kind of tax increase. Well, Mr. Obama is now on record calling for a partial rollback of the Bush tax cuts.

Also, in the Obama plan, insurance companies won’t be allowed to deny people coverage or charge them higher premiums based on their medical history. Again, points for toughness.

Best of all, the Obama plan contains the same feature that makes the Edwards plan superior to, say, the Schwarzenegger proposal in California: it lets people choose between private plans and buying into a Medicare-type plan offered by the government.

Now for the bad news. Although Mr. Obama says he has a plan for universal health care, he actually doesn’t — a point Mr. Edwards made in last night’s debate. The Obama plan doesn’t mandate insurance for adults. So some people would take their chances — and then end up receiving treatment at other people’s expense when they ended up in emergency rooms. In that regard it’s actually weaker than the Schwarzenegger plan.