The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Mouse in the house

Cassie and I got completely pwned by a very small rodent last night. The critter managed to get past her and me even though we had it completely cornered at one point. I hope, however, that (a) the mouse understands the relative survivability of getting caught by a human vs. caught by a Weimaraner, and (b) the mouse understands the relative survivability of my house vs. the neighbor's dog- and cat-free house on the other side of my wall.

All of this happened, by the way, while I was brushing my teeth, so I also learned that Cassie really needs to hear complete English words or she has no idea what I'm trying to get her to do. "Cassie, to me" sounds less coherent with a toothbrush in my mouth, for example.

It was 20 years ago today

...that I left a medium-sized consulting firm based here in Chicago. The firm itself doesn't really matter. I left because I couldn't tolerate commuting to Houston every week to work on a project for a now-infamous energy trading firm there. No one seemed too interested in me saying the client had serious problems, and that the project, if it worked, would break all kinds of anti-trust laws. By mid-October the client proved me right when its house of cards collapsed.

I have some recollections of the summer of 2001, but of course things changed quickly, right after I started a new gig for a cool start-up on the eastern edge of Ukrainian Village. My first day was the Monday after Labor Day, the 10th.

What a strange year that was. Good thing everyone has calmed down since then.

Yeah, so, 10k steps isn't all that

The New York Times throws cold water on a health fad:

According to Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and an expert on step counts and health, the 10,000-steps target became popular in Japan in the 1960s. A clock maker, hoping to capitalize on interest in fitness after the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, mass-produced a pedometer with a name that, when written in Japanese characters, resembled a walking man. It also translated as “10,000-steps meter,” creating a walking aim that, through the decades, somehow became embedded in our global consciousness — and fitness trackers.

But today’s best science suggests we do not need to take 10,000 steps a day, which is about five miles, for the sake of our health or longevity.

A 2019 study by Dr. Lee and her colleagues found that women in their 70s who managed as few as 4,400 steps a day reduced their risk of premature death by about 40 percent, compared to women completing 2,700 or fewer steps a day. The risks for early death continued to drop among the women walking more than 5,000 steps a day, but benefits plateaued at about 7,500 daily steps. In other words, older women who completed fewer than half of the mythic 10,000 daily steps tended to live substantially longer than those who covered even less ground.

Another, more expansive study last year of almost 5,000 middle-aged men and women of various ethnicities likewise found that 10,000 steps a day are not a requirement for longevity. In that study, people who walked for about 8,000 steps a day were half as likely to die prematurely from heart disease or any other cause as those who accumulated 4,000 steps a day. The statistical benefits of additional steps were slight, meaning it did not hurt people to amass more daily steps, up to and beyond the 10,000-steps mark. But the extra steps did not provide much additional protection against dying young, either.

I've hit 10,000 steps 139 days in a row, but I have to keep that up through December 31st to tie my record of 312 days. In fact, in the last year, I've hit the goal 345 times, and since getting a Fitbit in October 2014, I've hit the goal 91.4% of the time. Will it kill me to stop after 9,000 steps? No. But it's an easy goal to understand and to work towards.

Full house today

One of my neighbors is having his floors redone today, so I'm dogsitting. Cassie is nonplussed:

Cassie and Sophie know each other pretty well already, so no worries there. But Sophie is a quiet, middle-aged dog, and Cassie is the equivalent of a recent college grad on a bender in Lincoln Park. Sophie just wants to take a nap. Cassie just wants to play. Sophie is now on her third sleeping surface, hoping Cassie stops doing this:

I feel you, Sophe. Cassie's a lot before 9am.

At some point I'm going to have to walk both of them together. That should be...fun?

I enjoy productive days

Yesterday I squashed six bugs (one of them incidentally to another) and today I've had a couple of good strategy meetings. But things seem to have picked up a bit, now that our customers and potential customers have returned to their offices as well.

So I haven't had time to read all of these (a consistent theme on this blog):

And finally, providing some almost-pure Daily Parker bait, the Post has a helpful breakdown of 8 common styles of hot sauce.

You may refer to me as "super genius."

I feel so proud of myself for getting this week's View From Your Window Contest (read the essay, then scroll down) in under 90 minutes:

Yes, I know exactly what window the photographer took that photo from. I'll post Sullivan's confirmation of my geographic sleuthing ability next Friday. Of course, I may not have won the contest; I not only have answer correctly (or have the closest point to the correct answer), but I have to have the first correct answer.

The last time I had the correct answer, I was late in sending it in and I got the wrong window, which was trebly sad because the location was on California Avenue in Chicago. I just didn't start working on it in time.

That look

I left Cassie all alone for 5½ hours yesterday, and came home to this baleful look:

And yet, 20 minutes later, all was forgiven:

(A 15-minute walk occurred between these two photos, which may have had something to do with the forgiveness.)