I Got The Jabs!

2nd Jab Done!

Following up on an earlier lament, I was able to get my Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine last month, and I am past the “immortality” moment of full immunity.1

Yayyy!!

A photographer friend pointed me to vaccinespotter.org and I successfully booked an appointment at Mariano’s/Kroger in Lombard. 

I Got the Pfizer-Biontech COVID-19 Vaccine Today

I drove out to Lombard twice, the second time stopping to smell the flowers at Lilacia Park, literally and figuratively. Lilacs only bloom for a short span of time each year; inhaling their delicious springtime aroma is one of the bonuses of living on this planet.

Lilac In Bloom

Footnotes:
  1. 2 weeks past the second dose []

It Is NOT against HIPAA to ask about covid vaccinations

HIPAA is woefully misunderstood, and I’ve encountered much wrong information about it during this pandemic. 

Eventually

winter birds, Cook County Forest Preserve

The Washington Post explains

Is it against HIPAA to ask about covid vaccinations? – The Washington Post:

HIPAA, also known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and its subsequently added Privacy Rule include provisions to protect a person’s identifying health information from being shared without their knowledge or consent. The law, though, only applies to specific health-related entities, such as insurance providers, health-care clearinghouses, health-care providers and their business associates.
That means that even if your friend, favorite restaurant or grocery store were to publicly share private details about your health, they would not be in violation of HIPAA because they aren’t one of the “covered entities,” Gatter said.

There are other federal and state confidentiality laws that may require employers and schools to protect your privacy. And, experts emphasized, there is nothing in HIPAA that bars asking people about their health — including vaccination status — or requiring proof that the information is accurate.
“It’s not really a prohibition on asking, it’s a prohibition against sharing,” said Kayte Spector-Bagdady, an associate director at the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine at the University of Michigan. The law, she added, “doesn’t mean you never have to tell anyone about your health information.”

HIPAA has become one of the “most misunderstood statutes in existence,” said Glenn Cohen, a Harvard Law School professor who is an expert on health law and bioethics. “People think it does a lot more than it’s actually doing.”

The misconceptions about the law likely stem from people widely using it in conversation as a “shorthand for privacy,” said Joshua Sharfstein, a public health professor at Johns Hopkins University. If someone is asked a question about their health that they view as intrusive, he said, they might say, “I can’t tell you because of HIPAA,” when what they actually mean is that they consider the information private.

Many people also seem to have a problem spelling HIPAA properly, and as one Twitter aficionado opined, perhaps this is a sign of long-haul COVID-19?

A Desperate Plan

 A Desperate Plan

…click to embiggen

There is a short story waiting to be written about this moment in time. The dog walker’s expression is one of surprised guilt, but why? Is the smoker following him? His bodyguard? Or an innocent bystander?

Alleys are the beating heart of a city.

I took this photo on on March 2, 2018, and processed it in my digital darkroom on March 11, 2021.

ƒ/4.8
60.0 mm
1/125

Rock Docu Reviews – Lowell George – Feats First

Music Library

I realized last night that I have watched hundreds of music documentaries. I place them in three broad categories, not including actual concert movies, a related but different genre, nor including fictionalized BioPics about real or nearly-real musicians. 

1. The quality ones, which are fairly rare. These documentaries often have a well known director, have licensed the actual music from the musicians involved, and if they are still alive, even interview some of them. Like Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home, for instance. Or Muscle Shoals, about the music studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, and which includes some great footage of Aretha Franklin belting out, I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You). If you haven’t watched the first 2 seasons of Mike Judge Presents: Tales From The Tour Bus, you should.

2. A second tier style that does include some of the musicians, but usually not the ones who played on the albums in question. There always seems to be a few rock journalists who once wrote for Rolling Stone Magazine, or similar, who are interviewed in front of their shelves of CDs/vinyl, and interviews with contemporaries or studio partners, usually interviewed with studio equipment in the background. Sometimes these docs have enough of a budget to license some of the music or snippets of live performance. Frequent usage of the so-called Ken Burns Effect.

3. Documentaries that focus on a single album, track by track, and inevitably have multiple interviews with a sound engineer at a mixing console who slides the mixing panel controls to isolate vocals or drums or bass or all of these. Eddie Kramer, of Jimi Hendrix fame, seems to be in half of these for some reason. Some of these don’t license music from the original artists, so they can only have snippets, or video from television broadcasts or in a few cases, muzak-inspired studio versions. Yikes. A few of these are interesting, many of the documentaries I’ve watched in this category are for hard-core fans only, everyone else would be bored to tears. Very frequent usage of the so-called Ken Burns Effect.

The better documentaries also don’t shy away from controversy, drugs and sex are not skipped over. To be honest, the juicy bits are often the most fun, which is why tell all books about Led Zeppelin or Keith Richards are fun to read, and popular.

Feats First falls into tier 2 – a solid B in my estimation. Lowell George and Little Feat made 2 great LPs, a couple more really good LPs, and maybe a few other good tracks.1

He died young, probably due to his drug habits. The Feats First doc didn’t even mention that Lowell George was a cocaine-heroin speedball aficionado. Seems like this should have been relevant to the discussion, but nope. Whatever, still an enjoyable look at a great talent. I learned a few new-to-me facts, such as that Lowell George was a Frank Zappa protégé and hung out with Zappa and the other Freaks in LA. Or that George used a Sears Craftman 11/16th socket because it was easy to replace by going to a hardware store, and that it created a fairly unique sound, especially when George tuned his guitar up a step, instead of tuning down like so many other slide guitarists. 

Footnotes:
  1. Dixie Chicken, Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, Little Feat, Sailin’ Shoes, respectively… []

Scoring Vaccine Appointments Should Not Be Like Getting Tickets To A Popular Touring Act

No upcoming COVID-19 vaccine appointments available

No appointments available. Again.

I realize I am not the only resident of America still in need of a COVID-19 vaccine shot, but I wish it wasn’t so frustrating and tedious to get an actual appointment to do so. I mean, if I could book out the appointment 6 weeks from now, I’d be ok with that, at least I’d have a target date to look forward to.

Zocdoc.com, Walgreens.com and Albertsons.com all offer vaccine appointments within 25 miles, but they all require a lot of hoop-jumping for each check. Why can’t they keep track of me so I don’t have to click all the damn radio buttons each time?

Also, why is ZocDoc.com having such technical problems? Last night in the wee hours, I was able to book an appointment for Sunday afternoon at the city’s mass-vax FEMA-run site at United Center. This morning, I woke to the appointment being cancelled.

ZocDoc Failure “Your Appointment Could Not Be Scheduled"

Damn it!

COVID-19 Vaccinations

I have not yet been successful in getting an appointment to receive my Covid vax, not for lack of trying, but because there are not1 enough appointments available. I assume as more doses are made available due to President Biden’s team pushing, I’ll get one in a month or so.

The Moment Passed

Last weekend, the City contracted ZocDoc.com to handle the appointments available at a FEMA run site at United Center. It did not go smoothly. One would think ZocDoc would have scaled up their infrastructure in anticipation, but you would be wrong. 110,000 people were able to get appointments, but many were not, including me.

For me, I was able to select a time, date and could see the magic button that said, “Book appointment”, but there was a last part, required by ZocDoc.com, where they needed to verify my phone number by sending me a PIN. I was stuck on this last step for about 30 minutes, waiting for a PIN that never came. After a moment, ZocDoc.com would give an error code, and I would re-enter my cell number, and so on and so on. After 30 minutes, I accidentally typed the wrong area code, and went to the final step, but of course, I didn’t get the PIN, someone in Detroit did. I then thought to use my Google Voice number that has a different area code, and this worked, but it was too late. I lost my appointment. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I have confidence that I’ll be able to book an appointment, eventually, before the spring is over.

Footnotes:
  1. yet []

Shoutout to Join Together by the great Doug Adams

The great AppleScript iTunes master, Doug Adams, created an app a while ago that allows me to join together LP sides so they play in the sequence as originally released on vinyl.

For me, I use this to emulate listening to an LP in iTunes. Sometimes I only want to hear a particular side of an LP that I’m familiar with. I don’t want to shuffle it, I don’t want to hear the whole thing, perhaps I’m listening on my headphones while on my treadmill, or walking around avoiding carjackers or whatever.

In the pre-digital days, you put an album on your turntable, and only one side played. If you wanted to hear the other side, you had to get up and flip it. Or you could listen to something else. 

Producers or artists sequenced their albums accordingly. There were many heated discussions about which track came first on a side, which track closed the side, yadda yadda.

Of course, you can choose which tracks to listen to in whatever order you choose, even on a vinyl record, but it takes more effort.

The genius of Join Together is that once you create the music file, you can just queue that one file.

Here is my procedure, which works in iTunes1

1. Select the files which constitute a side of an LP. For instance, today, I used Glass Eye’s Hello Young Lovers2 – looked up the track order at Discogs.com, and copied the tracks that were on side A to Join Together.

Glass Eye - Hello Young Lovers

2. In Join Together, entered in the “Name” field, “Hello Young Lovers – Side 1”, and also added the phrase “JoinedTogether” to the Grouping field.

3. I personally make every digital file as large as possible so they sound better, so I chose 320kbps as the export.

4. After the merged AAC file is completed, it is added to my iTunes library. 

5. I use the Grouping field so that I can add all of these album sides to a Smart Playlist3, and also exclude it from certain Smart Playlists4

6. Then duplicate this procedure to create Side 2. Voilà!

Double LPs take longer, or triple LPs like Sandinista! give 6 files, or maybe even less

There are some LPs that I always skipped a certain song, this can be recreated in Join Together. For another favorite album of mine, Meat Puppets II, when I used to play it in my college years, I always skipped Side 1 track one, and started on the second song. Sometimes I would play the 1st track later at the end, but I felt strongly that the first song, Split Myself In Two – a punk thrash song – didn’t fit with the mood of the rest of songs. Later on, after some other songs played, it was ok to hear, but not as the first song. So when I created this LP in Join Together, I simply put Split Myself In Two at the end of Side 1. Perfect!

Same with some LPs that the CD version added new songs. They don’t always “fit”, so why play them? For instance, the LP of Sonic Youth’s Sister has less songs than the CD version. Skip ‘em! I felt they changed the mood, so why include them?  

Anyway, Join Together is well worth the $5 Doug Adams charges.

Footnotes:

  1. I haven’t upgraded to a Mac that requires the new version called Music, yet []
  2. which I had on vinyl when I lived in Austin and now own on CD []
  3. I have 10 sides that sync to my iDevices, based on not hearing them in the last few weeks []
  4. specifically, New Rips, i.e., songs that I’ve only listened to less than 5 times []

Late-1800s flour mill coming down in Fulton Market

A real shame, actually. Sterling Bay could have kept some of this structure at least.

Late-1800s flour mill coming down in Fulton Market – Chicago Tribune:

Sterling Bay is demolishing a former Archer Daniels Midland flour mill in the Fulton Market district, after preservationists unsuccessfully urged the Chicago developer to preserve the buildings.

Demolition of the more-than-century-old property at 1300 W. Carroll Ave. began Thursday. The work will last about three months as the developer eyes a mixed-use development of the site, Sterling Bay managing principal Keating Crown said.

The nonprofit Preservation Chicago has pushed Sterling Bay to keep at least portions of the structure, a patchwork of silos and brick buildings built over time. The mill opened in the late 1800s, and ADM closed it in 2019.

“It’s very disappointing that a first-rate developer in Chicago isn’t able to save an important Chicago building,” said Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago. “This is one of those buildings we felt was important to have saved because of its architectural pedigree, and because it’s one of the oldest mills and food production facilities in the Fulton-Randolph landmark district.”

So much of Chicago’s architectural history has been razed in the last ten years.

I Doubt That Is True

Fleeting Moments of Silence

Reliable, ADM In afternoon light

Ogden Avenue - 1923

Industrial Devolution

Storing Wheat - Agfa Scala 200

Majestic Corn Silo- Kodak Ultra Color 100UC

ADM butt-crack

Trump Is Guilty of Insurrection

Despite how the majority of Republicans looked the other way, Trump is still guilty of inciting insurrection. His role in encouraging terrorists to storm the Capitol building will be remembered by history.

These Senators are all traitors to America:

  • Bill Hagerty (TN)
  • Charles Grassley (IA)
  • Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS)
  • Cynthia Lummis (WY)
  • Dan Sullivan (AK)
  • Deb Fischer (NE)
  • James Lankford (OK)
  • James Risch (ID)
  • Jerry Moran (KS)
  • Jim Inhofe (OK)
  • John Barrasso (WY)
  • John Boozman (AR)
  • John Cornyn (TX)
  • John Hoeven (ND)
  • John Kennedy (LA)
  • John Thune (SD)
  • Joni Ernst (IA)
  • Josh Hawley (MO)
  • Kevin Cramer (ND)
  • Lindsey Graham (SC)
  • Marco Rubio (FL)
  • Marsha Blackburn (TN)
  • Mike Braun (IN)
  • Mike Crapo (ID)
  • Mike Lee (UT)
  • Mike Rounds (SD)
  • Mitch McConnell (KY)

 

Mitch McConnell is the worst of these traitors, trying to have it both ways:

The top Senate Republican gave his most damning condemnation of Donald Trump, but said the Senate had no power to convict an ex-president. He had refused to try Mr. Trump while he remained in office.

Senator Mitch McConnell said he believed that Donald J. Trump was undeniably guilty of a “disgraceful dereliction of duty” on Jan. 6, when he incited and then failed to do anything to halt a deadly assault on the Capitol.

“There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” Mr. McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, declared Saturday afternoon in an anti-Trump diatribe so scathing that it could have been delivered by any of the nine House prosecutors seeking a conviction.

But minutes before he spoke, when it came time for the most powerful Republican in Washington to hold Mr. Trump to account on the charge of causing the riot, Mr. McConnell said his hands were tied. It could not be done, he argued. He voted to acquit.

“We have no power to convict and disqualify a former officeholder who is now a private citizen,” Mr. McConnell, who said he reached that conclusion after “intense reflection,” said as he delivered a lawyerly explanation on the limits of Senate power.

Offering his most damning condemnation of Mr. Trump to date, Mr. McConnell accused the former president of spreading lies about a stolen election that he knew would stoke dangerous acts by his followers — though the senator said little about his own refusal for weeks to recognize President Biden’s victory, which helped create the conditions for Mr. Trump’s claims to continue to spread, unchallenged by top Republicans.

(click here to continue reading McConnell, Denouncing Trump After Voting to Acquit, Says His Hands Were Tied – The New York Times.)

What a coward.

1984 Business Computer Prop – Commodore PET

Watched the new D.C. comic superhero film, Wonder Woman 1984 last night, and in a tiny scene with an actor without a speaking part, there was this shot of an office, complete with a computer that made me giggle.

A Commodore Pet1, complete with a built in cassette deck, presumedly for programs as the floppy disk technology wasn’t advanced enough. The computing power in my old iPhone is leaps and bounds more powerful than that desktop. I wonder if this prop was working, or if the green text on it was just printed directly on the screen. Who would know?

By the way, my quick, pointless review of Wonder Woman 1984: meh. Gal Gadot is beautiful2, but superhero films are empty calories. I watch many of them, but I agree with Martin Scorsese that the genre is not great art. Also, the golden suit of armor complete with angel wings was eye-rolly. Graded on a curve, Wonder Woman 1984 was a solid B. Better than Shazam!, the last superhero film I sat through, but that’s not high praise…

Footnotes:
  1. probably []
  2. I kept imagining what she was like as a soldier in the Israeli Defense Force []

Odds And Sods

For over 25 years, I have saved various bits of the web on my local computer. Vintage ads, cool graphics, first edition book covers, images of paintings by the old masters and of sculptures, funny cartoons, comic book covers, pulp novel covers, photographs of famous musicians. A version of Pinterest, I guess, but for my own visual education, not the world’s.

For the most part, I have moved all these files into a folder called Odds And Sods, and I use it as the basis for my desktop image on a randomized basis. In the MacOS, one can point the system to a folder full of images, and every 15 minutes (or some other time frame), the desktop image will change to something else in that folder.

However, the files themselves are named haphazardly. Many of them are named something like 2004-1–20-14.38.jpg

Chicago Has Everything

This means the image is hard to search for. On my Family Sunday Zoom™, someone suggested using Reverse Image Search, and while that is an excellent suggestion, I feel it is unpractical for the thousands of images in my Odds and Sods folder.

I wonder if there is an automated solution? A software that does the hard work of uploading and renaming images? Especially since when I tried to reverse image search the above poster from the Fraser Label Company, my browser crashed.

Reverse Image Search crashes my browser

Merits further investigation…

By the way, this is the image that I used on my Family Sunday Zoom™, named on my computer: Screen Shot 2020-09-18 at 5.06.18 PM.png

art history

After I switched browsers1 I was able to use the Google Reverse Image tool on this painting – turns out to be painted by Pieter Bruegel The Elder and is called “The Battle Between Carnival and Lent,” ca 1559. I had read an article in the Smithsonian about him recently, I think because I was looking for images about the plague in the European Middle Ages.

I still want to be able to do this for all the poorly or obscurely named images saved on my computer.

Footnotes:
  1. from Safari to Brave []

Trump Is A Loser

These opening sentences in a NYT article by Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt made me laugh:

With four weeks left in President Trump’s term, he is at perhaps his most unleashed — and, as events of the last few days have demonstrated, at the most unpredictable point in his presidency. He remains the most powerful person in the world, yet he is focused on the one area in which he is powerless to get what he wants: a way to avoid leaving office as a loser.

Get Out Trump

A Loser. That is how Trump will be remembered.

He has been a loser for most of his life, but managed to fool some people, some of the time.

I cannot wait for 2021, probably won’t be until spring, but sometime in 2021, Trump won’t be in the news every goddamn day. Glorious silence.

He hasn’t been doing the job of president for most of his term, his lack of work ethic has gotten more noticeable recently:

He is almost entirely disengaged from leading the nation even as Americans are being felled by the coronavirus at record rates. Faced with an aggressive cyberassault almost surely carried out by Russia, his response, to the degree that he has had one, has been to downplay the damage and to contradict his own top officials by suggesting that the culprit might actually have been China. He played almost no role in negotiating the stimulus bill that just passed Congress before working to disrupt it at the last minute. It is not clear that Mr. Trump’s latest behavior is anything other than a temper tantrum, attention-seeking or a form of therapy for the man who controls a nuclear arsenal

A Loser by circumstance, and a Loser by deeds. In other words, Trump is for ever and ever a Loser!

Above Ground Sounds

Above Ground Sounds was taken on January 7, 2016, and processed in my digital darkroom December 22nd, 2020 at 4 AM when I couldn’t sleep.

Above Ground Sounds

Click here to embiggen. You probably should.

Approaching Northwestern University campus from the south, in Evanston one sunny winter day, I liked how the over-turned dumpster echoes the buildings in the background. Everything1 is technically wrong with this photo, but I like it nonetheless. The cropping is weird, the angle is a little off, who cares. I think it would make a great album cover – there is even some empty space for lettering.

Footnotes:
  1. well, many things at least []

DoorDash adds $1.50 Vulture Capital Fee in response to Chicago’s cap on Delivery Fees

Corned Beef from Manny's Deli

Phil Vettel, Chicago Tribune reports:

A little more than two weeks ago, the Chicago City Council took a bite at third-party delivery-service fees, imposing a 15% cap on fees that sometimes reached 30% previously.

Tuesday… DoorDash announced the imposition of a “Chicago fee,” a $1.50 charge added to all orders placed at city restaurants.

The new fee is charged to customers, not restaurants, so is not affected by the Chicago ordinance.
Customers ordering through DoorDash saw a $1.50 “Chicago fee” added to their orders. By clicking on that fee, the following explanation appeared:

Chicago has temporarily capped the fees that we may charge local restaurants. To continue to offer you convenient delivery while ensuring that Dashers are active and earning, you will now see a charge added to Chicago orders.”

(click here to continue reading DoorDash adds $1.50 ‘Chicago fee’ in response to city’s cap – Chicago Tribune.)

A kind of fcku you to Chicago diners, I would say.

Chicago Alderman Scott Waguespack agrees with me:

“This disgraceful fee is an outright attempt to pass this IPO of $3 billion,” he said. “Just pile on more fees and pass their IPO; that’s the only thing I can think of.”

Calling it a Chicago fee might also cause customers to think the charge is a city charge, Waguespack said.

“They might think it’s the city dinging them for an extra $1.50,” Waguespack said. “It doesn’t say ‘DoorDash fee,’ it says ‘Chicago fee.’ I think that’s their intention — to stick it to the city.

“It’s that kind of vulture capitalism mentality — we can do it, so we’re going to do it,” Waguespack said. “The billions of dollars (via the IPO, if successful) isn’t enough; they have to take this too.”

Not Even Wondering

Especially in light of:

The sudden onset of the pandemic in March sent the restaurant industry into a death spiral. Working in a notoriously low-margin business, many couldn’t withstand weeks of limited or no indoor dining. As a result, about one in six restaurants nationwide has closed permanently, and as of September nearly three million restaurant workers had lost their jobs.

Under pressure to pay rent and retain workers, some restaurants turned more of their attention to delivery, particularly from app-based companies like DoorDash, UberEats and Grubhub. Few restaurants that hadn’t done delivery in the past had the time or money to create their own delivery service, which typically brings in less money than dining rooms, where customers are more apt to order more profitable items like appetizers, desserts or a second round of drinks.

These restaurants have quickly found that the apps, with their high fees and strong-arm tactics, may be a temporary lifeline, but not a savior. Fees of 30 percent or higher per order cut eateries’ razor-thin margins to the bone. And a stimulus package that would bolster the industry has stalled in Congress, even as states and municipalities enact new limits on both indoor and outdoor dining.

…the fees are also funding a consolidation among the four largest players that together represent an estimated 99 percent of delivery market share and which will give them greater pricing power.

Though still unprofitable, Uber this month completed its acquisition of Postmates in a $2.7 billion deal. And DoorDash, also a money loser, is going public this week with hopes of raising more than $3 billion from investors. DoorDash’s I.P.O. will net already wealthy investors billions in profits, particularly galling as restaurants wither.

Dan Raskin, an owner of Manny’s Deli in Chicago, said his greatest frustration was the companies’ unwillingness to share customer information with him. That means he cannot verify their claims that they are bringing him new customers. Worse, they appear to be using that data to create competing virtual restaurants — which have no dining rooms, offer multiple cuisines from one location and operate only on the apps.

(click here to continue reading Greg Bensinger | Apps Are Helping to Gut the Restaurant Industry – The New York Times.)

WordPress and the Block Editor

Still A Virgin?

WordPress is really pressing their new-style editor, called the Block Editor. I can’t say I’m very enamored with it, at least in its current iteration. I find the Block Editor gets in my way more often than it is actually useful in creating a post.

Maybe I’m just used to using a 3rd party blogging software (namely, MarsEdit)? Maybe I need to use Block Editor more?

We’ll see.

God is a verb.

— Buckminster Fuller