This colorized and upscaled video is fascinating:
This is my 55th post this month, and the fifth month in a row in which I've posted over 50 times. That brings my 12-month total to 581, the third record in a row and the fifth record this year. I guess Covid-19 has been good for something.
Here's what I'm reading today:
I'm excited to add a notch on the Brews and Choos project in a few hours. Check back tomorrow.
Today is Harry Potter's and Neville Longbottom's 40th birthday. And they never learned how to spell.
Also, apparently, Harry's wife Ginny is, at 39, the sports editor for the Daily Prophet. TIL.
First, this chart:
And yet, there are so many other things going on today:
- NPR has the clearest take-down on the president's election-postponement trolling I've seen today, noting in particular that "Trump's tweet came about 15 minutes after news of the worst-ever-recorded quarterly performance of the American economy." Josh Marshall just says "don't cower."
- Republican political consultant Stuart Stevens believes people like him "lost the battle for the Republican Party's soul long ago:" "I feel like the guy working for Bernie Madoff who thought they were actually beating the market."
- Politico's Shia Kapos and Tina Nguyen explain why allies of the president want to inflict Federal troops on Chicago.
- TNR's JC Pan outlines how increasing inequality, particularly between the top-20% and everyone else, continues to shape our pandemic response.
- The Atlantic's Derek Thompson says "hygiene theater is a huge wast of time."
- The City of Chicago will start fining people up to $500 per day for failing to self-quarantine after entering the city from any of the 22 states now on the list of places where disease incidence has exceeded 15 per 100,000. And with Illinois heading into that zone, our governor has cancelled most school sports for the fall.
- Mercy Hospital, one of the oldest and most-needed medical facilities on the South Side, will close by May 31st.
- The US Trade Representative, for no reason I can see, wants to increase tariffs on European whiskies, wines, and other spirits, in some cases to 100%.
The one bit of good news? Evanston-based Sketchbook Brewing, who make delicious beers and whose taproom inspired the Brews and Choos project, will open a huge new taproom in Skokie tomorrow evening. And guess what? It's only 4 blocks from an El stop.
It has cooled off slightly from yesterday's scorching 36°C, but the dewpoint hasn't dropped much. So the sauna yesterday has become the sticky summer day today. Fortunately, we invented air conditioning a century or so ago, so I'm not actually melting in my cube.
As I munch on some chicken teriyaki from the take-out place around the corner, I'm also digesting these articles:
Can you believe we're only 99 days from the election? How time flies.
I kind of got into the flow today, so things to read later just piled up:
And wait—you can make risotto in an Instant Pot? I might have to try that.
Major League Baseball will start a short (60-game) season tomorrow, with weird rules (including universal DH and starting extra innings with a runner on second). The games will have piped-in audience sounds because they won't actually have audiences:
MLB is also launching an interactive website feature called "Cheer at the Ballpark" that will allow fans to cheer, clap or boo virtually, from home. The idea is that audio engineers at the ballparks can then adjust the recorded crowd sounds to reflect the fans' reactions.
So how exactly do they do it? We got a glimpse behind the scenes courtesy of Adam Peri, sound supervisor with the broadcaster Sky UK, who has his fingers on the pulse of Premier League matches.
During the broadcast, Peri sits alone in a tiny booth at Sky studios in London. He's the one responsible for punching crowd sounds into the feed.
In front of him he has a technicolor console loaded with a smorgasbord of audio clips for each team: dozens of chants — scrubbed of any offensive language-- cheers, boos, whistles and more, in varying levels of intensity.
Next to that is Peri's mixing board, with faders labeled "goal," "miss," "anticipation" and "angry."
The trick, Peri says, is that you've got to think ahead, put yourself on that field, and imagine what could happen before it does, so you can react in a flash as a fan would.
The bars in Wrigleyville will no doubt spread tons of Covid-19 tomorrow and Friday before the city-mandated closing happens Friday evening. I will stay away.
But the best news? This will be the first time since 1918 that the Cubs lose fewer than 60 games—but that season only had 131 games. You have to go back 110 years to find a season with 154 games when they lost fewer than 60.
A friend and I plan to go to a local beer garden this weekend—one on the Brews and Choos list, in fact—so we had to make a reservation that included a $7.50-per-person deposit. Things are weird, man. And if you read the news today, oh boy, the weirdness is all over:
Finally, closer to home, 4,400 restaurants in Chicago have closed because of the pandemic, 2,400 permanently. The Chicago Tribune has a list of the more notable closures.
Just a few things have cropped up in the news since yesterday:
- President Trump has threatened to send federal agents to "assist" with Chicago's efforts to curb gun violence, which no one except the Trump-supporting head of our police union wants. Michelle Goldberg calls the presence of federal agents in Portland a harbinger of fascism, while the ACLU calls it "a constitutional crisis" and has filed suit to reverse the policy.
- Also in Portland, an unidentified woman wearing only a hat and face mask nonchalantly walked in front of a row of federal police and danced for them. Said the LA Times, "She stood calmly, a surreal image of human vulnerability in the face of an overpowering force that has been criticized nationally by civil rights advocates." (Nudity is constitutionally-protected speech in Oregon.)
- The BBC also digs in and reports that the 1807 Insurrection Act prohibits this kind of federal intervention. Notably, the last time a president invoked the law against the express wishes of the state was in 1957, when Eisenhower sent troops to Arkansas to protect black children from white mobs.
- St Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner's office filed felony charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey for unlawful use of a weapon, but the Republican governor of Missouri has already promised to pardon the couple.
- The FBI arrested Republican Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and three others in connection with a $60 m bribery case.
- The Boeing 747 has become the latest casualty of Covid-19, with only one airline continuing to fly the jet in passenger service.
- The Chicago Transit Authority has started round-the-clock construction on the $2.1 bn Red-Purple Modernization Project, which my alderman acknowledged would cause "massive disruption."
Finally, the Covid-19 mitigation rollback announced yesterday has led to Guthrie's Tavern closing permanently. Guthrie's, which opened in 1986 and featured board games and good beer, will pour its last pint on Thursday.
I'll get to the final head-to-head comparison between my Garmin Venu and Fitbit Ionic later today. Meanwhile:
And finally, because our Covid-19 numbers have started creeping up, indoor bar service will halt on Friday.