I've been in frenetic housecleaning mode today, since it's the first work-from-home Wednesday I've had in...let me see...10 weeks. And apparently I last had my housekeeping service here 16 weeks ago. (It wasn't that bad; I do clean up occasionally.)
The activity and actually having to do my job has led me to miss a couple of news stories, which I will now queue up to read:
- Former President Obama spoke at the Economic Club of Chicago last night, and said, at one point, "American democracy is fragile, and unless care is taken it could follow the path of Nazi Germany in the 1930s."
- Citylab outlines how the tax bill now working its way through reconciliation between the House and Senate will be really, really bad for cities. As if we didn't know. As if that wasn't a feature, rather than a bug.
- And it doesn't take a Nobel-winning economist to understand the chutzpah behind the Republican Party's bait-and-switch on taxes and deficits. "Now, to be fair, there are some people in America who get lots of money they didn’t lift a finger to earn — namely, inheritors of large estates." How true.
- In more neutral news, the Atlantic has the the year in photos (part 1), with more on the way later this week. I especially like the Turkish seagull (#22).
- Finally The Daily WTF has an example of life imitating satire, and it's sad and funny all at the same time.
I'm now going to throw out all the empty boxes in my office closet, though it pains me to do so. After all, someday I might need to return this pair of wired headphones from 1998...
According to a new study, it seems to depend on how big they are:
Michael Varnum, a psychologist at Arizona State University and a member of its new Interplanetary Initiative, is trying to anticipate this response.
The scientists asked 500 people to describe their reactions to a hypothetical discovery of alien microorganisms. Respondents also had to predict how humanity at large would react. Like the journalists, people in the study used positive words. There were no characteristics that set responses apart, not a person's income, ethnicity, political orientation or traits such as neuroticism or agreeableness. But people felt that the rest of the country would be generally less agreeable.
That may be because “most Americans tend to think, on any desirable trait or ability, that they're better than the average person,” Varnum said.
So tiny aliens are OK, but larger ones are scary? Has no one read The Andromeda Strain?
On Wednesday, I did something for the first time:
That was the Rangers at the Blackhawks. And this happened:
Hearing "Chelsea Dagger" seven times (including three thanks to Artem Anisimov's first career hat trick) was a good introduction to the sport.
Right now, it looks like I'll see the Blackhawks/Maple Leafs game on January 24th, complete with "O Canada" (and I hope more of the Fratellis).
I love what this driver did to her Mazda logo:
I'm heading back to the East Coast tonight to continue research for my current project, so my time today is very constrained. I hope I remember to keep these browser windows open for the plane:
- 538 examines why, a full year later, the 2016 election just won't go away.
- James Bridle says something is wrong on the Internet.
- Josh Marshall continues to bang the drum on President Trump's creeping authoritarianism. (Or, you know, not so much creeping as shambling, with all the zombie implications in the term. Says Marshall, "[I]ncompetence and authoritarian aren’t in tension. They tend to operate together, each catalyzing each other as both cause and effect.")
- On the same theme, yesterday the President called Chicago a "total disaster" because he doesn't understand how the lack of Federal gun laws makes our local regulations irrelevant.
- Last Friday, Andrew Sullivan wrote that the Democrats are failing the resistance. But Jeet Heer thinks our party's internecine conflicts are good for the party.
- Crain's Chicago Business lists the most indulgent dishes in Chicago.
- Chicago Magazine investigates the rash of suicides-by-train plaguing the area.
- WaPo describes the weirdness behind the attack on Senator Rand Paul over the weekend.
- Writing for CityLab, Carolyn Adolph says Seattle has fallen out of love with Amazon, with some implications for Chicago.
- Finally, Samuel Adams now has a $200 beer at 28 ABV. Not sure if I'll ever try it.
So much to do today...and then a short, relaxing, upgraded flight to BWI.
I made sure to take a photo of this while walking home from dinner last night:
But, really, the sign should now say AC000101. Because the Cubs lost the playoffs. Again.
Too much to read today, especially during an hours-long download from our trips over the past two weeks. So I'll come back to these:
But more seriously:
Lunch break is over.
Well, that's it for the Cubs this year.
I haven't actually seen the Anno Catuli sign this season. If they haven't changed it to reflect last night's horrible loss to the Dodgers, I'll try to get a snap of it reading AC0000000. But officially, today, the Cubs have gone one year from their last World Series and pennant wins.
Fans are still in denial. But an 11-1 loss looks to me like the old Cubs.
I'm about to fly to San Antonio for another round of researching how the military tracks recruits from the time they get to the processing center to the time they leave for boot camp (officially "Military Basic Training" or MBT).
I have some stuff to read on the plane:
OK, off to K20. Or K18. Or wherever my plane has got to.
This is my first moment to catch my breath (other than sleeping) since Friday. While I'm doing that, read about Chicago steak houses. Next post later today.