Here are the news stories that filtered through today:
See? You thought more of the news would be bad.
Kenyan runner Brigid Kosgei ran the course in 2:14:04, setting a new world record fastest marathon for a woman:
Paula Radcliffe held the previous record (2:15:25), set at the 2003 London Marathon.
“I’m feeling good and I am happy because I was not expected to run like this,” Kosgei said during a TV interview.
Kosgei also broke the course record (and what was for a year the world record) that Radcliffe first set 17 years ago to the day in Chicago (2:17:18) in 2002.
Conditions in Chicago are ideal: at race time, the course temperature was around 4°C, warming to 9°C by 11am. There's a bit of wind but also a good cloud cover, keeping runners cool.
This comes just a day after Eliud Kipchoge became the first runner ever to break a 2-hour marathon time, completing the INEOS 1:59 challenge in Vienna in 1:59:40.2. However, that race was specifically designed and he was specifically supported during the race to give him the best chance of a sub-2-hour time.
My task this afternoon is to parse a pile of random text that has, shall we say, inconsistencies. Before I return to that task, I'm setting aside some stuff to read later on:
And finally, Crain's reviews five relatively-new steakhouses in Chicago. Since we probably won't eat steak past about 2030, these may be worth checking out sooner rather than later.
How did I miss this? Monty Python's Flying Circus turned 50 on Friday:
The Pythons included a prolific diarist – Palin has published three hefty volumes already – but, dismayingly, the months around the start of the first Python show are one of the longest gaps. Palin attributes this to the busy-ness of filming, and having a young child and ailing elderly father.
Although comic weirdness had been introduced to the BBC by The Goon Show, Monty Python went even further. BBC production teams may have sensed something odd was coming from the paperwork: a requisition form to the props department asks for a “selection of bras (6), panties (6), and tights (5)” and “1 swastika flag, approx 4’ x 2.6”. A list of extras for a filming day includes, after one name, the specification “no pigeon on shoulder” (parrots, on shoulders and flat on their perch, would become a Python speciality). A handwritten note asks: “What about topless on fountain?”
While Cleese has latterly attracted a reputation for irascibility, he is caught out in the files in a gesture of striking kindness. A Kent schoolboy called Doug Holman writes, asking for tickets to a recording. Cleese arranges for a pair to be sent. Doug, boldly, writes back, saying he is part of a large group of friends who want to go. Cleese contacts the BBC to request a further 14 tickets, suggesting that the young will be “good laughers”.
Given the passage of five decades, many of the early Python audience have joined the choir invisible with the programme’s late parrot. But I tracked down a Doug Holman who grew up in Kent and is now 69, running a business in Hampshire. My email rapidly received the reply: “It’s a fair cop! Hearty congratulations on your detective work.”
So much happened in 1969 and 1999 that these anniversary posts will probably keep coming through next year. Time keeps on slippin'...
What I did on my autumn vacation:
About once a year the Apollo Chorus does a day-trip to somewhere nearby. Yesterday we went to the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Champaign, Ill., on the University of Illinois campus. Fun but exhausting.
October began today for some of the world, but here in Chicago the 29°C weather (at Midway and downtwon; it's 23°C at O'Hare) would be more appropriate for July. October should start tomorrow for us, according to forecasts.
This week has a lot going on: rehearsal yesterday for Apollo's support of Chicago Opera Theater in their upcoming performances of Everest and Aleko; rehearsal tonight for our collaboration Saturday with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony of Carmina Burana; and, right, a full-time job. (The Dallas Opera put their video of Everest's premiere on YouTube.)
We also have a few things going on in the news, it seems:
I will now return to reverse-engineering a particularly maddening interface.
I'm surprised I ate anything today, after this past weekend. I'm less surprised I haven't yet consumed all of these:
Is it nap time yet?
I had a non-stop weekend, including this:
I have now seen a home game for every team in Major League Baseball. The Cubs destroyed the Cardinals, 8-2. (Yes, the Cubs won a baseball game!)
So, for now anyway, that wraps up the 30-Park Geas. And it only took 12 seasons.
Not only is today the anniversary of Abbey Road, it's also the anniversary of two other culturally-significant events.
Also 50 years ago this month, the Cubs entered September 1969 with a solid first-place 83-52-1 record and before dropping 17 games (including a two-week 2-14 streak) to end the month out of contention at 91-69-1.
I mention this because tomorrow I head to St Louis to see the Cubs play at Busch Stadium. Two weeks ago, the first-place Cardinals were only 4 games ahead of the second-place Cubs, who had the third-best record in the league. Yesterday, the Cubs got eliminated, having fallen to 7.5 games back on an 8-game losing streak. This seems eerily familiar in light of the 1969 season.
Tomorrow's game will be important, as the Cardinals need to hang on to first place against the Brewers, and also because it will complete the 30-Park Geas. It would be nice if the Cubs won for both reasons.
The other anniversary of note is the debut of The West Wing 20 years ago. The Atlantic's Megan Garber argues that Allison Janney's character CJ Cregg "was the heart of the Aaron Sorkin drama." This weekend might be a good time to re-watch a few classic episodes.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Abbey Road, the Beatles' final album.1 The New York Post, not a newspaper I quote often, has a track-by-track retrospective:
Frank Sinatra once described this George Harrison composition as “the greatest love song of the past 50 years.” But the tune also hints that it wasn’t all love among the Beatles at the time.
“Here Comes the Sun”
The most downloaded and most streamed Beatles song of the 21st century didn’t come from the sunniest of places.
“That’s a song written when the Beatles were not getting along,” Flanagan says. “So George played hooky and went over to Eric Clapton’s house. He borrows one of Eric’s guitars and walks out in the garden and starts singing, ‘Here Comes the Sun.’”
Yeah, Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl, and someday I'm gonna make her mine.2
1. Let It Be came out a few months later but the group had recorded it earlier in 1969.
2. A remarkably similar sentiment to the 10th movement in Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, "Were diu werlt alle min."