Ahead on impulse power

Thursday, New Year’s Eve. Whoopee!

Bruce Mohl lists all the things legislators still have to do on Beacon Hill before they adjourn.

Operation Warp Speed promised 20 million vaccinations by the end of the year. With one day to go they’ve delivered 2 million. Better get some more dilithium crystals to speed things up.

From Dig Boston: “Mass Action Against Police Brutality is demanding the persecution of police.” A typo, no doubt. Possibly. Maybe.

Are you one of those two spaces at the end of a sentence people? Then you’ll be happy to read this study that suggests that using two spaces increases your brain’s ability to process text. But you won’t be happy that the study itself uses only one space after each sentence because, of course, that’s the proper and correct method.

And, sadly, Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island, has died of Covid. That leaves Ginger as the only remaining castaway.

Not with a bang but a whimper

Wednesday, Dec 30th. Rasputin and Saddam Hussein both met their end on this date.

There will be no fireworks in Boston on this New Year’s Eve. And just as well.

As a long time user of Penn Station I’ve become adjusted to the changes over the years. And a big change is coming. A new high-ceiling train hall will be opening in January for riders waiting for trains on the Long Island and Amtrak lines, which is what I take. The new hall is across 8th Ave in the old post office building. I can’t wait to see how they handle the rush when tracks are announced.

More than 40% of workers are still working remotely. It turns out that many are more productive at home and some experts say they should be paid more. And, remote workers take less sick days.

Homicides are up 41% in New York City, with 447 recorded so far in 2020. Boston has seen a similar increase, from 37 in 2019 to 47 this year.

And remember, NO PICKING!

Free movement

Today is Tuesday. Jon Voight‘s birthday. Happy birthday.

2020 may be remembered as the year of the great bucatini shortage. Rachel Handler tells us more than we wanted to know about the mighty pasta industrial complex.

William Booth has a Q&A on what BREXIT means for the average Briton. No more pet passports, for one thing.

NBC 10 has posted 41 of Mark Garfinkel‘s best photos from the year. Some serious technical chops at work there.

Everyone from podcasters to vloggers to journalists are moving to a monthly subscription model. Even Dan Kennedy is trying out a $5 a month model. Good luck to him.

And Air travel is up as covid is spreading. On top of that, the 737 Max is back in the air, taking passengers between Miami and LaGuardia. What could possibly go wrong?

Tables turned

Monday. The last one in 2020. We’re in the home stretch.

At the last minute the president signed the stimulus bill, barely averting an economic catastrophe. Guess he was just keeping us in suspense.

Portland is/was a great restaurant town. Brian McQuarrie looks at what the virus has done to it. Boston is also seeing more eateries close. And Frank Bruni mourns the loss of restaurant culture in New York.

A number of people, including Tyler Cowen, believe that the roaring twenties of technology-driven innovation is about to take off. I certainly hope so.

There’s more on the guy from the Nashville bombing. Downtown by Petula Clark was playing over the loudspeaker before the explosion. Nothing yet on motive. Already the conspiracy nuts are out and trying to connect the explosion to the election.

And Scotty was finally beamed up.

The agony and the ecstasy

Sunday morning. RIP Dave Henderson, who died in 2015.

Most years it’s a treat to read Dave Barry‘s year in review. This year it’s a chore. It’s not badly written, per se, or unfunny, but maybe it’s just a little too soon.

Bitcoin is heading to $30,000. Will it go to $300,000 in the next year? It’s possible says Citibank analyst Tom Fitzpatrick. He says we can expect “unthinkable rallies followed by painful corrections.” Now that’s encouraging.

We saw this one coming: Xiaomi, which ridiculed Apple for not including a charging brick with the iPhone 12 has announced that, for environmental reasons, it will not include a charger with its new phones.

On top of The Guardian’s list of bets podcasts of the year, you can add another 50 from The Atlantic. Too many!

And apparently we need more germs in the workplace.

London calling

Today is Saturday, December 26th. Boxing Day.

We’ve been deprecated! Boston is no longer in the top ten largest metro areas.

The BREXIT trade deal is (almost) done. It could have gone much worse for the UK, which didn’t hold many cards. The agreement gives Britain special status as a trade partner with the EU, which will benefit both sides. Northern Ireland will be considered part of the EU customs area so there will be no hard border reinstated. But fishing could be an issue as quotas are still being worked out “fish by fish”.

Maybe we have the Neanderthals to blame for Covid.

It’s still up in the air whether the president will sign the stimulus relief bill. Here’s what happens if he doesn’t. Not a good situation.

And if you’re looking for a new podcast, The Guardian rates twenty good ones from 2020.

Yin and yang

Thursday, Christmas Eve. Let the airing of grievances begin.

Lauren Daley (NR) provides a link-filled love fest for all things Julia Child in an article about the French Chef marathon airing on WGBH the day after Christmas.

Earlier in the week the state announced additional restrictions on restaurants that would go into effect after Christmas. But yesterday the governor also announced a half-billion dollar grant program to help restaurants and other small businesses. So that’s something.

Time and date stamps are kind of important in a system meant to document who was where, when. The state police are right to suspend their ALPR system until this glitch is fixed. A refund from the vendor?

And Lila MacLellan looks into why bitcoin is rising. Easy. Supply and demand.

The Castle

Wednesday. Happy birthday to Bill Rogers.

That Solarwinds hack gets more interesting. A second, unrelated compromise was found within the software, presumably put there by a second actor. Customers must be thrilled.

I recently watched the episode of The Crown where Margaret Thatcher is ousted after former allies turned against her. Then I was rewatching the first season of Borgen as Birgitte Nyborg became Prime Minister of Denmark after a Machiavellian shakeup. In light of all that, Ron Mariano‘s rise to Speaker of the Massachusetts House turned out to be quite a snore.

If I were a cynic, I’d say this is very swamp-like behavior.

When Joe Biden takes over he’ll get access to the @POTUS Twitter account but not the followers, as Trump did when he took it over from Obama. Apparently Twitter has changed its policy and the incoming POTUS will have to start from scratch. That doesn’t seem fair.

And the next time you find yourself snacking on some Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, remember the story of Richard Montañez, the janitor at Frito Lay who invented them and made the company a fortune.


It’s a Tuesday in winter. But spring is just around the corner.

Those old, Flash-based National Weather Service weather radar displays were frustratingly archaic. But at least they worked.

Tighter restrictions are coming to Ireland as bars and restaurants will be shuttered on Christmas Eve. It’s thought that the British mutation has already made its way there.

Peter Jackson and his crew did an amazing job with old bits of World War One footage, restoring and weaving them into a well researched, moving film. Now he’s been let loose in the vault for The Beatles’ Get Back movie project where there’s more than 60 hours of previously unseen film. The virus has slowed things down but work is picking back up. In the meantime, Jackson has released a sneak peak.

There’s more talk about an Apple car. This report says it may come within five years. Let’s just say I’m dubious.

And it turns out that dead people did vote in the election. For Trump.