Today's lunchtime round-up only had one article about current politics:
Finally, I came across an interview actor Michael Shannon gave Playboy in 2018 that's worth the read.
Today I left the state of Illinois for the first time since January 19th, 259 days ago. It's the longest I've gone without leaving Illinois since I was 3½ years old. And because I drove, I'm continuing to add days to my longest interval without flying. I hope I can fly somewhere before too long.
It wasn't a theoretical crossing of state lines like back in June; today I went into Wisconsin at full speed around 11:30 and left around 5:30, having seen living family, paid respects to dead family, and collected a bag of cheese curds at Mars Cheese Castle.
Regular blogging returns tomorrow.
Lakes Michigan and Huron did not set a record for high water level in September. In fact, the lake system ended the month at almost exactly the same water level as last year:
It may not seem like much, but the 20 centimeters or so that the lake has receded since July means that the Belmont Dog Beach has emerged from the water, for example.
Take 20 minutes to fully understand the incompetence that brought us to 205,000 Covid-19 deaths when our peer countries have only a fraction:
Watching Amazon's 2017 anthology series Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, I particularly enjoyed how many episodes they filmed right here in Chicago.
"Real Life" filmed mainly around Lake St and the river. "The Father Thing" takes place mainly in The Villa, a niche hidden away in Irving Park. And it took me all of 5 minutes to locate a shooting location by the Damen El stop in "Safe and Sound."
Of course, as most of the stories take place 20 minutes into the future, some of the locations have digital additions (like the diner in "Real Life"). But they made no effort to conceal Chicago. It's fun.
As Covid-19 cases rose in large cities, people started moving to the suburbs in larger numbers. Crain's reports that the combination of fear, downtown office closures, and low interest rates caused home sales nearly to double in 14 Chicago-area suburbs. Barrington, a wealthy village of horse barns and huge houses, saw the largest number of home sales last month, with Lake Forest (a similar place) close behind.
Amanda Mull, writing in The Atlantic, sees this as a big gamble:
When we talk about people leaving America’s biggest cities right now, people largely means the rich. In The New York Times’ analysis of cellphone location data, 420,000 people fled New York City for some period of time from March 1 to May 1. Those who left were heavily concentrated in the city’s wealthiest zip codes, especially those in Manhattan. A similar phenomenon was found in the city’s trash-collection patterns, in which the amount of garbage dropped most sharply where rich people had vanished.
[T]he work-from-home “revolution” is already off to an uneven start, with many people returning to offices at the behest of their employers in states that have more fully reopened. There’s reason to believe that will continue.
People whose employers are amenable to fully remote work might still see consequences if they stay out of the office. Some employers could use remote work as an opportunity to tighten budgets beyond just their office leases, especially if the economy stays in a recession for a while. Facebook, among the first big companies to make working from home a permanent option, has already made clear that it will cut workers’ pay if they relocate from the Bay Area to less expensive places—a cost-cutting tactic common among employers whose workers retain their jobs when they move to less expensive areas.
There’s not much evidence that the pandemic has changed the tastes of otherwise enthusiastic city dwellers. And even if moving seems like an effective strategy to stay safe, it’s not exactly clear that it will look that way in hindsight. No one really knows how the pandemic will progress over the next year, in big cities or elsewhere. New York City’s outbreak now seems to be under far better control than those in many popular migratory destinations in the Sun Belt, which could change the calculus for panic-movers.
Those of us who love cities still love them. Of course I understand the allure of suburbs; getting out of Chicago for a few hours was one of the motivations for the Brews & Choos project. But I just don't like the costs of living in the suburbs, like having to drive everywhere, and "everywhere" means a chain restaurant or box store. The only suburbs I could imagine wanting to live in are Evanston and Oak Park, not coincidentally two of the densest in the area and both with multiple rail lines to downtown Chicago. There are millions of people who agree.
Talk-show host Stephen Colbert has set up a website called Better Know a Ballot where you can check on the voting requirements for your state. He's producing videos for each state (starting with North Carolina) to explain the rules.
That's the bright spot of joy for you today. Here are other...spots...of something:
OK, one more bit of good news: The Economist reported this week that the southern hemisphere had almost no flu cases this winter, because pandemic response measures work on influenza just as they work on Covid-19.
I put on a long-sleeved shirt to walk Parker this morning, and I'm about to change into a polo. It's a lovely early-autumn day here in Chicago. Elsewhere...
Finally, the city received over 600 submissions from 13 countries on how to have outdoor dining in a Chicago winter.
Smoke from the wildfires out west reached Chicago yesterday:
It’s not unusual for smoke from various regions to reach northern Illinois, especially from larger fires, according to Mark Ratzer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Chicago-area office.
Smoke from fires hundreds of miles away can billow high into the atmosphere and get carried to other regions by jet streams and winds aloft, causing cloudier skies and slightly cooler temperatures. Mid- and upper-level winds were carrying smoke this week from the West and Northwest into the Chicago area, creating the same effect.
“It’s not that it’s affecting our air quality (at the) surface,” Ratzer said. “You’re not able to smell it or anything like that, but it has created kind of a smoke layer aloft which is keeping the sun rather dim.”
It shows up pretty clearly from space, as do hurricanes Sally (over Louisiana) and Paulette (near Bermuda):
The president, meanwhile, suggests that the states go on to federal land and rake up some of the undergrowth to prevent fires. Because of course, it couldn't be climate change.
Here we go:
Finally, for only $875,000, you can own this contemporary, 2-story house...on top of an 8-story building.