January 2019

Cabin Fever.

After 52 hours of being in the house, I had to get outside. It’s still quite cold but not awful. It’s currently -3°F with a wind chill of -10°F.

My lungs hurt for the first few moments of my walk. I have ice eye upon my return. But at least I got outside.

Tomorrow it’s going to be 22°F! I hope the Regal Beagle opens up the patio.


Venus and Jupiter join The Moon in the predawn sky over Chicago. Taken today at 0640 CST. Embiggen to get a better peek.


It is -15ºF with a wind chill of -37ºF during my lunch hour here in Chicago. The wind is out of the west at 15 MPH and there is zero cloud cover. I don’t need a fancy hashtag or scary sounding names like “Polar Vortex” (though I did enjoy one of those at a fast food place a couple of years ago) to relay the information that it’s cold outside. It’s very cold outside. As beautiful as the sky looks, I’m going to refrain from going for a walk today simply because it would not be enjoyable.

I like to enjoy my walks.

The CTA Brown Line is passing by our building with scheduled regularity. Folks at the CTA are working hard to keep Chicago moving. Their Twitter feed shows they’re addressing issues as they arise. CNN likes showing images of train tracks being set on fire to unfreeze frozen switches. Fire gets the attention when you’re browsing a website. It creates more web clicks.

The news outlets have been telling us about these bitterly cold temperatures for a week, so I’m sure most reasonable folks were prepared. Earl made sure we had what we needed in the cupboards and fridge. He’s good like that.

It’s cold out. It’s very cold out. But the sunshine still brings warmth and tomorrow is another day.

Don’t be hysterical. Just keep calm and carry on.

It Has Begun.

Kamala Harris at the CNN Town Hall, Monday, January 28, 2019.

Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris kicked off “town hall” season last night in Des Moines, Iowa last night. The event was broadcast on CNN. Last night’s showing drew record ratings, earning the largest numbers for a single candidate town hall in the history of the network news channel.

It was refreshing to hear someone speaking in a presidential manner on a cable news channel. This type of discussion, where she touched on policy points around immigration, health care, border security, and many other subjects, has not happened in the last two years. It was great to take a step away from the constant chaos from the idiot currently in the White House.

She made me feel hopeful. Remember what ‘hopeful’ feels like?

I like what I know about Kamala Harris. I love her confidence, I’m comfortable with the way she presents herself, and I found her ways of expressing herself to be compatible with the way I think. I’m still reading up on her ideology and where she stands on key policy points, but I was 95% with her on what she discussed during last night’s broadcast.

I’m looking forward to learning about the other candidates putting their hats in the ring. It’s important to read data from reputable sources and to learn as much as we can about our leaders. I want to feel good about them, yes, but I also want to know where they stand and how they plan to achieve the goals they have for leading the country.

The 2020 election cycle has begun. Are you ready for the ride?

John Chancellor: Peril and Promise.

I ran across this interview on YouTube today and ended up watching the entire 10 or so minutes in its entirety. I’m guessing this interview as from around 1990, as George H.W. Bush was president at the time.

John Chancellor, former anchorman for NBC Nightly News, talks about what was plaguing the U.S. at the time. I couldn’t help but think how prophetic some of his insights were, especially when it comes to campaign financing, PACs and SuperPACs, and the state of American education.

I miss hearing the optimism he has in his voice in today’s “journalists” on the cable news channels.


I went for my morning walk this morning. There was a couple of inches of snow on the ground and my legs got quite a workout.

Exercise is good.


So the family went to the Museum of Contemporary Art today. Jamie wanted to check out a limited run exhibit for a grad school project and we came along for the fun. I’m a big fan of the art museums in our fine city. This was my first visit to MOCA.

Whenever I go to an art museum I feel inspired to take a mundane photo in an artsy way in an attempt to embrace my inner geek. I’ve taken photos of washing machines in a laundromat, random shots on the ‘L’, etc. Today I took a photo at a nearby by M Burger.

I called this one “Jaunty”.


Truman is starting to enjoy his new home and cat condo. It’s time for an obligatory “posing for animal crackers” photo.


Earl and I have been talking about having a cat move in with us here in Chicago. It’s a conversation we’ve been having for the past month or so. I’ve missed having a feline companion since Tom passed away five and a half years ago.

I was a little worried about inviting another cat to live with us since in early 2014 we brought Scooter into our home and he wasn’t really happy. Looking back, Scooter was a barn cat that we moved into a suburban house and honestly, it just wasn’t the right fir for him. I’m happy we were able to find him a place to live where he’d be happier.

So we’ve been talking about finding an indoor cat that needed a good home here in Chicago. We’ve been looking online for the past couple of weeks and today we visited PAWS Chicago. It was there that we met Truman.

There was another couple considering adopting Truman when we first got there. He was super friendly in the room he was sharing with four other cats. The back half of the right side of his body, one of his paws, and under his chin is currently shaved. The Chicago Animal Control folks found him in an alley with a large cut on his right side. They stitched him up, made sure he was doing OK, gave him all his medications, and the brought him to PAWS Chicago for adoption. He was neutered, chipped, and his stitches were removed on Thursday.

The couple that was interested in adopting him decided to go look at dogs instead, so we visited with him for a bit, visited with some other cats as well, and then decided that Truman needed to come home with us.

The records were reviewed, the paperwork was signed, we made a stop at the PETCO across the street to pick up supplies and then we brought Truman home.

We were advised to introduce him slowly to the home but if he felt comfortable just let him do his thing. As soon as we let him out of his box and started calmly walking around the condo mapping out every nook and cranny in his head. He then went back around and did it again.

He helped me put together a five foot high cat condo perch arrangement thing so he has a nice view of the city. He’s plopped himself on both our laps and various times during the night and he’s run around this place at 100 MPH. He’s very curious about every noise he hears but he never runs and hides. He’s very inquisitive.

He also loves chasing the laser pointer light.

The thing that strikes me most about him is he feels very grateful. He’s already showing off a big personality and I like that. I wonder what brought him to that alley to end up with a big cut the runs up his side.

I hope he’s as happy to be here as we are to have him here. Earlier today I had a brief “impression” of our old cat Tom rubbing up against my leg, like it was OK for us to help another have a happy life .

Welcome to the Truman show.


So, is there anything going on in the news today? I hear Ann Coulter is not happy because Trump did not heed her words. She spat a spite tweet and tried to garner more notoriety for herself. Her brand is notoriety.

Earl and I are watching The Rachel Maddow Show this evening. Earl’s been watching the news all day today. During my workday I monitored the slowing down of the nation’s airspace due to staffing issues at key Air Traffic Control Centers in Jacksonville and Boston. Once air traffic in and out of the New York airports started happening, it was only a matter of time before Trump finally caved and realized he isn’t going to get money for his stupid wall.

I unfriended a few Facebook “friends” this evening. They were going on and on about illegal immigrants spreading disease. I think they were thinking the illegal immigrants were coming into their town from Mexico, New York. There’s no way these “friends” had traveled any farther south than the New York-Pennsylvania border. I’m pretty sure illegal immigrants aren’t flocking to Oswego, New York to rip NASCAR opportunities away from the natives. A couple of these “friends” may have been related by blood. I just hit delete delete delete.

When I was younger I never realized the stark differences in political beliefs between my paternal and maternal sides of the family. There’s a reason I’m little bit country and little bit rock ‘n roll.

Apparently Bernie Sanders is announcing his intent to run for the presidency again. Someone needs to tell Bernie that his services are not required. He won’t make the spotlight this time around.

It’s way too early to decide who I like for presidential candidates for next year’s election. It’s interesting to see how the field is starting to fill up. I have pretty middle of the road standards for presidential candidates. Despite my rantings and ravings during this miserable, failed hissy fit of an administration, I am solidly in the political center. Since it’s going to be cold this weekend I’ll probably write more; perhaps I’ll share an updated bullet list of my political beliefs.

It makes for fun reading.