Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Wednesday 12 December 2012

All right, all right. It's 12-12-12 everyone! Happy?

Save time; call it 12³.

Wednesday 12 December 2012 08:18:42 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Tuesday 11 December 2012

Possibly in mourning, as the last Hostess Twinkies hit the shelves in Chicago today:

Jewel-Osco said Monday that the final shipment of Hostess Brands baked goods, including Twinkies, will be delivered and sold at Chicago area Jewel stores Tuesday morning.

About 20,000 boxes of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and other Hostess products will be placed on store shelves at different times of day at different stores. Jewel lists the store locations and estimated times of delivery on Facebook, facebook.com/JewelOsco.

All is not lost, of course. The Sun-Times notes, "Hundreds of potential buyers, including at least five major retailers, have expressed interest in Hostess’ brands, recipes and some of its factories." But if you wanted to get one, last Twinkie, hurry to da Jools right now.

Tuesday 11 December 2012 12:10:09 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Kitchen Sink#
Monday 10 December 2012

Chicago has had no measurable snowfall since March 4th, 281 days ago, which is the longest such period in Chicago history:

If no measurable snow falls at O'Hare today [it didn't—DB], we could go on to shatter the previous record by at least another 4 days. The forecast is dry after today through the end of the week. The graphics [on WGN's blog post] show the total snowfall accumulation forecast for the next 10 days ending early next Thursday morning. The GFS model (on top) shows a potential of 33 mm during the period while the European model (on bottom) shows a potential for up to 102 mm. Hang in there snow lovers!

A snow-free environment from March 4th to December 14th is more normal for Raleigh, N.C., not for Chicago. Or anyway, it used to be.

Monday 10 December 2012 17:23:08 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Raleigh | Weather#

The Cranky Flier has some inside dish on the possible airline merger that I mentioned Friday:

US Airways is still trying to convince American that its plan is better. Maybe American management will get a big enough payout to go along. Or maybe AA’s management will see the writing on the wall depending upon how this offer unfolds and just decide it can’t win. Or maybe it can actually come up with something that will keep American independent, but I’d say that the chances of that are slim.

As we head toward the holidays, everything starts to slow down. We might not hear anything about a merger until the new year, but I wouldn’t expect that we’d be waiting much longer than that. The time to decide which way this airline is going is here. Now we just have to sit and wait to see what happens. I’m still expecting that a merger will happen, but I’m really curious to see how it all unfolds.

This comes on the heels of American's pilots reaching agreement with management on a labor contract, which helps fix the value of the combined airline.

Monday 10 December 2012 16:40:59 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation#
Sunday 9 December 2012

This morning, Transport for London opened a new branch of the London Overground, creating a circular line connecting many of London's less-affluent neighborhoods in a giant circle:

Until recently, substantial parts of London (notably the South and East) had limited subway access, relying instead on poorly integrated, less reliable commuter rail lines run by national train companies. Some of these worked okay and some were terrible – the notoriously unreliable one near where I grew up used to be called the Cinderella Line, presumably because while you were waiting eternally for some grand carriage to arrive, all you saw on the line were mice.

The Overground has taken these old lines and knitted them together with newly constructed underground trackways and new stations (mainly in the under-served South and East). A number of these stations also have subway connections, so this once separate network is now a fully integrated extension to the subway rather than a shoddy, second-tier alternative.

The Overground’s rolling stock is also a huge improvement. While London’s subway trains are constrained by narrow tunnels, the Overground’s single carriage trains are wider and higher, with space for bikes outside rush hour and air conditioning.

(The new London Overground, as of today.)

Sunday 9 December 2012 09:21:52 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | London | Travel#
Saturday 8 December 2012

Well, my cousin and I did it. We put down our deposit for two season tickets to Wrigley Field. Even though we both prefer the first-base side, we found better seats right by the press box on the third-base side:

Specifically, these seats:

With this view:

Now we just have to pay for them and go to a lot of games. Otherwise, it's back to the end of the line, which now has nearly 120,000 people in it.

Saturday 8 December 2012 13:26:24 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Cubs#
Friday 7 December 2012

Finally! Reuters reported about 90 minutes ago that US Airways has made an offere to buy bankrupt American Airlines, which would create an $8.5 bn airline:

Under the all-stock proposal US Airways made in mid-November at a meeting with AMR's unsecured creditors committee, the bankrupt airline's creditors would own 70 percent of the merged company and US Airways shareholders 30 percent, the person said.

US Airways and AMR are negotiating toward a potential merger agreement that could come as soon as January, the person added, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.

When the public-quiet period began back at the end of August, I thought it would take close to a year for the airlines to reach a deal. To me, an elite frequent flier on American, the merger is the best possible outcome, because it's the one in which I'm most likely to keep my banked miles and elite status. To American's pilots, mechanics, and flight attendants, it's the best possible outcome because they get to keep their jobs (mostly). And with American's unions supporting the deal, it will likely go smoothly.

January, huh? That would be fantastic.

Friday 7 December 2012 16:35:02 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation#

That's what LinkedIn's career expert says:

Back when I started working with LinkedIn, we released our very first ranking of the most overused profile buzzwords. I remember thinking how important it was to steer clear of “extensive experience” (the number one overused term in 2010) if you wanted to shine among the 85 million professionals who were touting their years in the trenches as their defining characteristic.

Well, it’s three years later and with over 100 million MORE professionals on LinkedIn, the stakes to stand out from this year’s very “creative” (this year’s most oft used adjective) crowd are even higher. Here are a few tips for saying what you mean with words that will get you noticed.

LinkedIn lists these as the most buzzy:

  • Analytical
  • Creative
  • Effective
  • Experimental
  • Motivated
  • Multinational
  • Responsible
  • Specialized

Just try writing a résumé without them...go on...

Friday 7 December 2012 15:55:00 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Business#
Thursday 6 December 2012

Via AVWeb: Boeing has put up a 787 Dreamliner simulator that allows you to (virtually) sit in the cockpit. You can check out any of the instruments, look out the windows, and listen to the cockpit crew.

Someday you might even fly in a real one.

Thursday 6 December 2012 08:48:32 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation#
Wednesday 5 December 2012

It's finally happened.

After 13 years, my cousin has gotten to the top of the Cubs season ticket waiting list. Only a year ago, he was 10,000 away from the top, but for some reason the list got radically shorter this season.

He and I long ago made a pact to go in together. And today, we found out what that means. We have an appointment at Wrigley Field at 9am Saturday to pick seats. And to pay for them.

We can skip the appointment, of course, but that means going to the back of the line—which now has 115,000 names on it. In 12 years my cousin moved up 4,000 places; that makes the list something like 300 years long.

What to do, what to do. I'm not sure the Cubs will have a better season next year than they did this year, and I'm not sure I want to part with all that money. Oh, we'll probably have to put most of them on StubHub, of course, but that doesn't mean we'll sell them. Moreover, we're not doing this to sell the tickets, we're doing this to go to Wrigley Field a lot.

We thought we'd get there in 2015, 2020, even 2025. A couple of older guys, hanging out at Wrigley, watching baseball, you know?

Time to create a decision model...

(Here are the FAQs about Wrigley season tickets. And fortunately I don't have to cough up the money all at once: "Your first payment, due at the time of your seat selection to secure your seats, is based on 10% of the post-tax total for the seats that you select. The first payment is non-refundable.")

Wednesday 5 December 2012 15:35:01 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Cubs#
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David Braverman is a software developer in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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