We officially had our first freeze last night as the temperature at O'Hare dipped to -1°C. At Inner Drive Technology World HQ it only got down to 0.1°C, barely above freezing, but still cold enough to put on ear muffs and gloves taking Cassie to day camp this morning. It'll warm up a bit this weekend, though.
Meanwhile, I'm writing a longer post about propaganda, which I may post today or tomorrow. And that's not the only fun thing happening in the world, either:
- Ukraine has had a lot of success blowing up $2 million Russian tanks with $400 drones. Good.
- The XPOTUS keeps making fun of the President's age, which, like everything else he does and says, turns out to have a pretty large element of projection. (Remember: to figure out what the XPOTUS wants to do, listen to what he says our lot are doing.) Bad.
- Chicago house prices have risen faster than in any other major US city lately, but only because they still lag almost every other US city. Mixed.
- BlueTriton, the parent company of Poland Springs-brand bottled water, not only sells one of the worst products for degrading our natural environment, but also has engaged in ballsy corruption to "persuade" the Maine legislature to let it continue doing so. Bad.
- HackRead reports a 587% increase in "quishing" attacks, where bad guys get you to scan bogus QR codes to steal your credentials. Very bad.
- Paleontologists have published evidence that the dust layer kicked up by the Chicxulub impact 66 million years ago may have persisted for 15 years, shutting down photosynthesis entirely for up to 24 months. Bad for the dinosaurs, good for the paleontologists.
Finally, as you sniffle and snort this winter, it might not comfort you to know that you have two noses that can get congested and runny. Bad.
Last weekend I made approximately 5 liters of chicken soup due to an unfortunate decision midway through the process to add more salt. Given the saltiness of the soup I put in mason jars, I recommend a 3:2 ratio of soup to water, meaning I effectively made 8 liters of soup. Most of it is in my freezer now, in convenient 250 mL jars, one serving apiece.
Suffice it to say I have had chicken soup for lunch 3 times this week. It is, however, very delicious. Except for over-salting it (which is easily corrected and preventable in future), I know what I'm doing.
Elsewhere in the world, things are not so delicious:
- Alex Shepard says the real reason House Republicans can't elect a speaker—Jim Jordan (R-OH) just failed for the third time in as many days—is because they don't have "any actual objectives beyond stymying the Biden administration and blocking liberal priorities."
- Andrew Sullivan throws up his hands at a party unfit for government.
- Dana Milbank chuckles at the Republicans wanting to "go to Gettysburg or something," which most people remember as the place the slave-owning South effectively lost their rebellion. "Washington isn’t broken," he writes. "The House of Representatives is broken — because you and your Republican colleagues broke it."
- Possibly related to the House GOP, Arthur Brooks outlines the "Dark Triad" type of malignant narcissist, and how to avoid them.
- Possibly related to that, Molly White continues her coverage of the SBF trial, today focusing on the confusing defense his lawyers have outlined.
- Speaking of malignant narcissists, which I guess would have to include all the preceding bullet points, Jeffrey Toobin (yes, that Jeffrey Toobin) warns that the XPOTUS is going to get someone killed. (Does Toobin not remember insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt?)
- Continuing with today's theme, Paul Krugman looks at Elon Musk's destruction of Twitter as a model of how an economic nexus dies.
- I don't usually go in for celebrity stuff, because things like the Post's review of Britney Spears' memoir remind me how horrible celebrity actually is.
- Moving off the narcissism theme: Sky News explains why workers have hung a bale of hay from London's Millennium Bridge.
- Chicago's Metropolitan Brewing has filed for bankruptcy, so the Brews & Choos Project will try to stop in for one last lager on Sunday.
Finally, today is the 50th anniversary of both the Sydney Opera House opening and Nixon's (and Bork's) Saturday Night Massacre. One of those things endures. The other does too, but not in a good way.
Another Tuesday, another collection of head-shaking news stories one might expect in the waning days of an empire:
Closer to home, the old candy-making laboratory on the 13th floor of the historic Marshal Field building has come back to life, 24 years after the the last Frango mint was produced there. (Note to readers who speak Portuguese: no one checked a Portuguese dictionary before naming the candy.)
Three hours later, I've got Weather Now's Netatmo code integrated with the Function App that controls all of the automated background functions of the application. I now have to move the adobo to phases two and three (browning, starting the slow cook), then take Cassie out.
I might actually deploy this today. Except that I discovered that a decision I made about how the site would store weather at the start of the re-write in 2020 means the simplest thing that works requires me to change Netatmo's data into a METAR. Not difficult, but also not the most elegant solution.
Someday I might even import the entire gazetteer into Weather Now 5, too...
I have three goals today, to take advantage of the gray rainy weather. First, another stab at adobo, this time with a little less vinegar, fewer peppercorns, and a skosh* more sugar. It's marinating right now, so in about three hours, I'll brown the pork belly and then slow-cook it in my Instapot for another three hours or so.
Goal #2: Finish coding and deploy the update to Weather Now to use data from my Netatmo devices. Finally, I'll have actual IDTWHQ weather!
Goal #3: See if it's possible to build an Azure pipeline to deploy a 16-year-old .NET 4.8 application to an App Service. This is the first of several steps to get a very old client application to stay alive for another five or so years after Microsoft kills Cloud Services (classic) next August. Because the UI uses ASP.NET Web Forms, I can't upgrade it to .NET 7, which means I may have to write custom code to do things that .NET 7 provides out of the box. There is a possibility that I may even have to re-write the UI in Blazor, which no one—not me, not the client, not the users—wants at all.
All righty then, time to get coding. And in 6½ hours, adobo!
* TIL how the word is actually spelled, and why.
I didn't only read about leaf blowers today. In other news:
- For reasons no one can fathom, there seems to be a relationship between how much scrutiny the individual Justices of the United States have gotten over their conflicts of interest with billionaires and their rejection of outside ethical oversight. Oh, and the two most defiant happen to be the two most ideologically Republican. Hard to figure out why.
- Paul Krugman tries to figure out why inflation has dropped to 3%—not that he's complaining!
- Luis Rubiales, Spain's top soccer official who forcibly kissed player Jennifer Hermoso after the Spanish women's team defeated England in August, finally resigned, though he still doesn't understand what he did wrong.
- If your city needs to resurface a road, encourage them to narrow it, which would save money now, save money in the future, and improve safety all around.
- The Times shares what we know about North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un's armored train, and why he doesn't want to fly.
- Allison Davis mourns the loss of her adult friendships caused, it would seem, by the "adorable little detonators" her friends gave birth to. (I’ve learned to hide my real reaction to a new pregnancy — nobody wants their joyous announcement to be met with “Oh my God, not another one.”)
Finally, tire-manufacturer Michelin has started expanding its restaurant guide to new cities, and charging the cities for the privilege. Fortunately they haven't decided to charge the restaurants for inclusion in the Guide.
National Geographic feasts on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet:
People in Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries consume diets that are rich in predominantly plant-based foods. The core foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil. Moderate amounts of lean proteins (such as fish, seafood, and poultry) are encouraged, as are eggs, dairy products such as yogurt, and wine (red wine, in particular, with meals). By contrast, red meats and sweets are meant to be consumed less often. Over time, this healthy eating pattern came to be known as the Mediterranean diet.
“Certain nutrients found in these foods, such as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, have protective effects on brain cells,” explains Lisa Mosconi, a neuroscientist and director of the Weill Cornell Medicine Alzheimer’s Prevention Program. “Research suggests that adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with greater brain volume and a reduced rate of brain atrophy, which are markers of healthier brain aging.” And recent studies show that by simultaneously targeting multiple mechanisms, the Mediterranean diet can prevent cell death and restore function to damaged neurons.
“It has also been associated with decreased recurrence among cancer survivors,” says Nathan Berger, a professor of medicine, biochemistry, oncology, and genetics, at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland. “While it’s never too late to implement a healthy lifestyle, the benefits of the Mediterranean diet have classically been associated with its lifelong practice.”
Now I'm hungry. Naf Naf Grill tomorrow for lunch? Yes, I think.
I tried something different yesterday after watching Uncle Roger's stab at adobo:
Ng's basic outline worked really well, and I got close to what I had hoped on the first attempt. Next time I'll use less liquid, a bit more sugar, a bit less vinegar, and a bit more time simmering. Still, dinner last night was pretty tasty.
Much of the news today, however, is not:
- US District Judge Tanya Chutkan set the XPOTUS's Federal criminal trial for next March 4th, two years earlier than he wanted it.
- Writing for The Guardian, Margaret Sullivan blasts Republican presidential wannabe Vivek Ramaswamy as "a demagogue in waiting," and a distressing preview of Millennial politicians.
- The MiG pilot who ejected during an airshow on August 13th blamed the non-flying observer in the back seat for pulling the ejection cord on his own.
- Chicago has struggled for 15 or more years to get critical repairs to our international dock on the South Side.
- Elizabeth Spiers has a pretty good idea why Michael Oher, subject of Michael Lewis's 2006 book The Blind Side and the 2009 film of the same name, is pissed off at the white family that didn't actually adopt him.
Finally, via Bruce Schneier, a couple of kids with $30 worth of radio equipment managed to stop 20 trains in Poland by exploiting a mind-boggling weakness in Polish train dispatching equipment. Despite some media sources calling this a "cyber attack," it was nothing of the sort. The instructions for how to do this have existed for decades.
Since today is the last Friday of the summer, I'm leaving the office a little early to tackle one of the more logistically challenging itineraries on the Brews & Choos Project. So I'm queueing up a few things to read over the weekend:
Finally, via Bruce Schneier, a report on Mexican food labeling laws, how manufacturers have gone to absurd lengths to skirt them, and how these fights are probably coming the US soon.
Cassie got almost 4¼ hours of walkies yesterday, going to the Horner Park DFA, Ribfest, and elsewhere around the neighborhood. Then, just when she thought she could relax at home, I dragged her fuzzy butt into the bathtub. I did warn her, when she rolled in whatever that was at the dog park, that her day would end in a bath, but she didn't believe me.
The highlight for me, of course, was Ribfest. And I can now present my After Rib Report for 2023.
This year I got to try 9—count 'em, 9—samplers (total: 28 bones) from 8 rib vendors, a tremendous improvement on last year. Plus, the ribs were better all around. In the order that I tried them:
- Aussom Aussie: tug-off-the-bone, smoky, meaty ribs, with a good sauce. Winner of 2nd Place in both the Critics Choice and Audience cagegories. 3 stars.
- Mrs Murphy's Irish Bistro: This year's People's Choice winner for the 9th year running, which makes me think the fix is in. My ribs were over-boiled and kind of disintegrated, but they didn't have a lot of flavor. I like their sauce, though. 2½ stars.
- Ogre Eats: The 3-bone sampler I got Friday might have been the most perfect ribs I had at any Ribfest. They came right off the grill onto my plate, with great caramelization and just the right smoke and tug. (Cassie did not like standing next to the smoker while we waited in line, though.) But then on Sunday they gave me 2 bones for the same price, which were really good but not nearly as epic as Friday's. I wish I could give them the 4 stars they earned on Friday but I can only give them 3 stars overall.
- Big Joe's: The Critics Choice winner this year, beating Aussom Aussie by one point. They had super-meaty ribs with an amazing sauce. I want more! 4 stars.
- Chicago BBQ: Good as always. Meaty, smoky ribs, a nice char, and two tasty sauces to choose. 3½ stars.
- Armadillo's: Huge meaty bones with great flavor. Not greasy at all; nice sauce. And they gave me an extra bone! 3½ stars.
- Blazin' Bronco: Excellent, smoky, meaty bones. 4 stars.
- Robinson's: Another lagniappe! And huge, huge bones with unfortunately too much sauce. 3 stars.
A couple of things to note. First, every one of the vendors, except for Robinson's, is itinerant or a catering company. Once again, Ribfest failed to attract Chicago Q, Smoque, The Smoke Daddy, or any of the other ribberies here in Chicago that have amazing BBQ. It's a shame, because I would love to get a full slab from Blazin' Bronco or Big Joe's sometime.
Second, they all charged different prices for samplers, which I didn't factor into my ratings but probably should have. The $8 sampler from Mrs Murphy's was probably worth it, but the $14 sampler from one of the vendors I didn't try probably wasn't.
I'm glad Ribfest found its footing again, though. And the weather cooperated: temperatures kept in the mid-20s with not a drop of precipitation, though dewpoints hovered around 20°C making everything a bit sticky. Can't wait for next year!