Here is the state of things as we go into the second half of 2023:
- The government-owned but independently-edited newspaper Wiener Zeitung published its last daily paper issue today after being in continuous publication since 8 August 1703. Today's headline: "320 years, 12 presidents, 10 emperors, 2 republics, 1 newspaper."
- Paula Froelich blames Harry Windsor's and Megan Markle's declining popularity on a simple truth: "Not just because they were revealed as lazy, entitled dilettantes, but because they inadvertently showed themselves for who they really are: snobs. And Americans really, really don’t like snobs."
- Starting tomorrow, Amtrak can take you from Chicago to St Louis (480 km) in 4:45, at speeds up to (gasp!) 175 km/h. Still not really a high-speed train but at least it's a 30-minute and 50 km/h improvement since 2010. (A source at Amtrak told me the problem is simple: grade crossings. They can't go 225 km/h over a grade crossing because, in a crash, F=ma, and a would be very high.)
- The Federal Trade Commission will start fining websites up to $10,000 for each fake review it publishes. "No-gos include reviews that misrepresent someone’s experience with a product and that claim to be written by someone who doesn’t exist. Reviews also can’t be written by insiders like company employees without clear disclosures."
- A humorous thought problem involving how many pews an 80-year-old church can have explains the idiocy behind parking minimums.
- Chicago bike share Divvy turned 10 on Wednesday. You can now get one in any of Chicago's 50 wards, plus a few suburbs.
- Actor Alan Arkin, one of my personal favorites for his deadpan hilarity, died yesterday at age 89.
And finally, the Chicago Tribune's food critic Nick Kindelsperger tried 21 Chicago hot dogs so you don't have to to find the best in the city.