I'm about to go home to take Parker to the vet (he's getting two stitches out after she removed a fatty cyst from his eyelid), and then to resume panicking packing. I might have time to read these three articles:
Moving tomorrow. I just want this to be over...
Citing a $10m budget shortfall, Lyric Opera of Chicago has cut their orchestra's year by two weeks and cut six performances. In response, the Chicago Federation of Musicians has gone on strike, forcing the cancellation of La Boheme and possibly other productions:
The orchestra and management have stalled on contract negotiations, and according to bassoon player Lewis Kirk, musicians have been working without a contract since June.
Kirk said management had issued “severe demands.” He pointed to management’s proposal to eliminate five positions in the orchestra as a major point of contention. He said overall quality will be threatened.
[Anthony Freud, general director at the Lyric Opera of Chicago] maintained the proposed cuts come as a result of supply and demand. There were 61 performances during the 2017 to 2018 season.Freud said only 55 were scheduled for the 2018 to 2019 season to ensure the company could sell enough tickets. According to Freud, fewer performances account for management’s plan to reduce annual working weeks for members of the orchestra from 24 to 22.
Said one of my friends who is familiar with the negotiations:
If Lyric faces financial challenges, it is not because of the Orchestra. Lyric grew its budget in recent years, from $60.4 million in 2012 to $84.5 million in 2017. But the Orchestra saw none of that $24 million increase. To the contrary, the Orchestra’s share of the budget has decreased steadily, from 14.6% in 2012 to 11.9% in 2017. If Lyric wants to make cuts, it is looking in a misguided place. Since 2011, orchestra members’ weekly salary has increased an average of less than 1% per year; adjusted for inflation, wages have actually decreased by 5.1% since 2011. The musicians’ last bargaining proposal to management proposed tying wage increases directly to the rate of inflation. They are not even trying to make up for lost ground. It is infuriating and heartbreaking.
I haven't seen La Boheme yet, and I may not this year. Heartbreaking indeed.
If the Kanye West–Donald Trump crazyfest didn't do it for you, there are plenty of other things to take a look at this lunchtime:
That's all for now. Enough crazy for one Friday.
I just read through the complete, official transcript of Kanye West's meeting with President Trump yesterday, and...wow. That man has some serious untreated mental illness and should seek help.
I know, that sentence was ambiguous, because "that man" could refer to either Trump or West, but in this case I thought West came across as the less coherent. Sample:
MR. WEST: We have a good — and the thing is, let’s stop worrying about the future. All we really have is today. We just have today. Over and over and over again, the eternal return. The hero’s journey. And Trump is on his hero’s journey right now. And he might not have expected to have a crazy motherfucker like Kanye West run up and support, but best believe we are going to make America great.
There’s a lot of things affecting our mental health that makes us do crazy things that puts us back into that trap door called the 13th Amendment.
I did say “abolish” with the hat on. Because why would you keep something around that’s a trap door? If you’re building a floor — the Constitution is the base of our industry, right? Of our country, of our company. Would you build a trap door that if you mess up and you — accidentally something happens, you fall and you end up next to the Unabomber? You end up — you got to remove all that trap door out of the relationship.
The four gentlemen that wrote the 13th Amendment — and I think the way the universe works, it’s perfect. We don’t have 13 floors, do we? You know, so the four — the four gentlemen that wrote the 13th Amendment didn’t look like the people they were amending. Also at that point, it was illegal for blacks to read — or African Americans to read. And so that meant if you actually read the Amendment, you would get locked up and turned into a slave.
What is all that? Word salad? Dog-whistle quodlibet?
Here's the pool video from NBC; judge for yourself:
I started reading Jessica Powell's online novel The Big Disruption last week. It's hilarious. And it has a lot to say about the archetypes of software development.
The premise is that the monarch of a fictional country has been exiled to California, where he found work first as a janitor at Stanford and then at a hot startup. He applies to a Google-like company and gets hired—but by accident, as a product manager.
Arsyen washed his hands and returned to the cubicle, armed with his new vocabulary.
When Roni asked Arsyen about prioritization, Arsyen asked, “Is this on the roadmap?”
When Sven suggested adding images of attractive women to the car dashboard, Arsyen rubbed his chin.
“Does this align with our strategy?”
When all three looked to him for an opinion in how best to implement Symmetry Enhancement, Arsyen stood and put his hands on his hips.
“Does this align with the strategy on our roadmap?”
No one seemed to notice anything was amiss. If anything, it seemed like product managers just asked questions that other people had to answer.
“Good brainstorm, everyone. Let’s break for lunch,” Roni said. “Oh, and Arsyen, this is still very confidential, so let’s get this whiteboard cleaned off.”
Arsyen jumped up and began to wipe the whiteboard clean as Sven and Jonas scooted their chairs back to their desks. Arsyen was pleased that product managers seemed to have some janitorial tasks in their role. Maybe this wouldn’t be such a stretch after all.
I can't read it at work because I would have to explain why I'm laughing so hard.
I'm not sure how I feel about CH Distillery buying the Malort wormwood liqueur brand:
Since the 1970s, Malort has been distilled in Florida, though its primary market has remained Chicago. Many Malort enthusiasts would agree that the liquor’s powerful aftertaste assaults the taste buds, a phenomenon that’s ironically helped grow the brand’s popularity on social media and in Chicago bars.
Why would Tremaine Atkinson, founder of CH Distillery, want to purchase Malort?
“Oh my gosh, why not? … I love everything about it. I hate everything about it. It’s such a great iconic Chicago thing,” Atkinson said Thursday. “It fits at the psychic level, the business level and the cultural level.”
Atkinson, 54, said he first tried Malort when a friend bought him a shot after moving to Chicago some 20 years ago. His reaction was not atypical.
“I drank it and said, ‘Why did you do that to me?’” Atkinson said.
Atkinson compared the flavor to taking a bite out of a grapefruit and then drinking a shot of gasoline, then acknowledged that’s actually a fairly tame description compared to some found on the internet.
That sounds about right. I've had precisely one shot of Malort in my life, which is approximately the correct number. I say "approximately" because the correct number is, in fact, zero.
But like the Cubs choking in October, it's very much a Chicago thing. And now it's coming home.
The Petaluma*, Calif., based company, which has a major production facility here in Chicago, laid off 12% of its workforce:
The workforce reduction will affect every department in the company, which operates a production plant in Chicago and a taproom in Seattle, CEO Maria Stipp said in a prepared statement. Lagunitas employs about 900 people at its Petaluma headquarters, which will take the brunt of the more than 100 layoffs.
The decision to downsize comes 17 months after Dutch brewing giant Heineken International acquired full ownership of the homegrown brewery company, which has long been a supporter of local nonprofits through beer donations and fundraisers at its Petaluma taproom.
The layoffs were not wholly unexpected given cutbacks at other craft brewers with growth slowing in the estimated $26 billion-a-year U.S. craft sector. The sector had incredible growth in recent years, with production rising as much as 20 percent annually as recently as 2014. But in recent years the increases have been in the low single digits.
Who could have predicted that Heineken would want profits more than protecting its workers?
*Petaluma is a million times better than its sister city, Megaluma.
The Cubs tied with the Brewers this season for the best record in the National League, with 94 wins each. Unfortunately they're in the same division, so they had to play a one-game tiebreaker on Monday to determine who actually won the division.
You will be shocked to learn it was Milwaukee.
Now, normally, the 4th-place team in the league gets the Wild Card, but this year the West Division also had a tie, between the Colorado Rockies and L.A. Dodgers. Which meant that last night, the loser of that game (the Rockies) and the loser of Monday's game (ahem) played to break the Wild Card tie.
You will be shocked to learn that it was Colorado.
Note, if you will, that had the Cubs won exactly one more game at any point in the season, they would have won the Central Division and would play the Dodgers in the NLDS tomorrow night.
Nope. They choked. They couldn't do it, not even in 13 innings, losing 2-1 well after midnight.
This is why I stopped caring years ago.
This year, Major League Baseball had more weather-related postponements than ever before recorded:
In the 2018 season, 53 games have been postponed because of weather, tied for the second most since Major League Baseball began keeping track in 1986. It wasn't just rain-outs that disrupted the schedule but a lingering April cold snap in the Midwest and Northeast that resulted in 28 games postponed that month — an all-time high.
Although the baseball season got off to its earliest start ever to give players more off days during the 162-game regular season, rest has been elusive for clubs that have had to make up multiple games, including the Cubs, who have had a league-leading nine games scratched for bad weather (tied with the Yankees), the most in more than a decade.
While MLB’s collective bargaining agreement states teams cannot play more than 20 dates without a scheduled day off, the Cubs endured a punishing 30-day stretch of scheduled games in August and September. The make-up games also forced a rigorous travel schedule that, at one point, flung them to three cities, in three time zones, in six days, including scrambling to the East Coast as Hurricane Florence approached.
Scientists have pointed to climate change as a contributing factor to the warming of the atmosphere, carrying the chance for more rain in some areas since warmer air can hold more moisture. According to state climatologist Jim Angel, northern and central Illinois are experiencing warmer, wetter springs. But some scientists believe the rapid warming of the Arctic is causing fluctuations in the polar jet stream that can bring unusual bouts of cold like the region saw in April, Angel said.
Just one more unintended consequence of anthropogenic climate change, and possibly the reason the Cubs are playing a second tie-breaker game today for the right to take their league-topping 94 wins to the playoffs.