Saturday, October 1, 2022

Odds & Ends

Car Museums

I took a little road trip in September. My first stop was the Cadillac Fall Festival at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan. It was a beautiful, cool fall day -- perfect for wandering around outdoors and looking at cars. The museum is really nice, displaying more than Cadillacs. It houses a great collection of American cars. If you've followed me at all on Facebook (which I'm no longer on), you know I have a thing for 60s vintage Cadillacs. 

After spending a few hours looking at Cadillacs I headed south to Auburn, Indiana. I visited the Auburn / Cord / Duesenberg Museum. This museum is stunning. It's housed in the former administrative building for Auburn Motors. There is another museum behind it that occupies some of the manufacturing and R&D facilities. I'm not a huge fan of cars from the 1930s, but I enjoyed the museum anyway. I really liked the Cord 812 - the second front-wheel drive car produced in America.

Illinois Waterway

I took a drive to Ottawa, IL and visited the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center. It has a so-so display about the waterway, but it has an excellent viewing area to watch boats and barges move through the lock there. I first saw pleasure boats headed downriver to the Mississippi. There were quite a few in the lock. The boat nearest me was a sailboat and the couple aboard told us they had sailed all the way across the Atlantic from Sweden! They had been on the boat for over a year and weren't sure how much longer they would be sailing. They were headed south down the Mississippi - and that seemed the extent of their future planning. After the pleasure boats went through a tug pushing a barge headed up the river, toward Chicago. 

Today's Train Pictures

I went out this morning to Sunset Park in Geneva and encountered 3 trains: one eastbound Metra commuter, one eastbound and one westbound freight.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Saturday Train Pictures

Eastbound Freight at Sunset Park in Geneva, IL

Westbound Metra commuter at Sunset Park in Geneva, IL

Eastbound freight at Rochelle Train Park in Rochelle, IL 

Eastbound freight at Rochelle Train Park in Rochelle, IL.

Eastbound freight at Rochelle Train Park in Rochelle, IL.


Friday, September 16, 2022

No Train Strike Today

I saw some activity today at Sunset Park in Geneva, IL. I hope the union votes for no strike; a rail strike would really cause problems we don't need right now.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022


I spent about an hour at Sunset Park in Geneva, IL. I saw two Metra commuters. Where are all the freight trains? Maybe we are in a recession! I always thought train traffic was an early warning system for the economy. 

Friday, August 5, 2022

Book Review: The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth

The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of TruthThe Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth by Jonathan Rauch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book made an impression on me. Rauch starts by describing the problems. He points out the importance of institutions and gatekeepers -- while far from perfect they did set up rules, guidelines and standards for publishing news. I also liked his explanation of why the internet and social media, as currently configured, is perfectly set up to spread misinformation as opposed to fact-checked news. Social media is all about what's popular, what can go viral. The more shocking, the more emotional posts get spread. Fact-based reality is boring by comparison and doesn't generate near the click and likes.

Rauch spends a chapter each on trolls (those who make up and distribute misinformation) and cancelers (those who limit free speech). I had some inkling of cancel culture, mostly through the lens of publishing and screenwriting, but I learned it's far worse in academia.

My only criticism concerns the final chapter. The final chapter is about how to fight back, and Rauch spends 95% of the chapter discussing how to resist cancel culture and not near enough time about combatting the scourge of trolls.

View all my reviews

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Recession: What's In A Name?

The latest Fox News talking point is that the Democrats have redefined the word "recession" and refuse to declare that our current economy is in one. I'm shocked! The party currently in power doesn't want to advertise we're in a recession. Scandal! 

Technically we are in a recession. GDP has dropped 2 quarters in a row. You wouldn't know it on my street though. People are remodeling homes, upgrading landscaping, taking delivery of new cars (2 new Teslas on our street in the last month or so!). Everyone I know is still employed. 

What would you do different if Biden held a press conference and declared we are in a recession? I wouldn't change anything in my life. I maintain it wouldn't change most people's daily behavior. The people who care the most are in the political class. The right-wing political geeks would react with glee. Their ads in the midterm elections are going to be about the "Biden recession" anyway, but a formal announcement would make that even sweeter. (Have you seen the term "Bidenflation" yet? Ridiculous. I wonder if they call it that in the UK and Europe and everywhere else on the globe inflation is running high?)

It's all political BS that gives the media something to use in the 24/7 news cycle. It's a fight to control the narrative. The side with the most compelling (not truthful or in the interest of our country) narrative wins the game. That's how things work now.