A strong foundation

Good Saturday morning. It’s Isaac Asimov‘s birthday.

Drive-through weddings are still happening in Vegas. A welcome sign of strange normality.

The Walsh team, like the Menino team before them, is pretty good at managing the city budget. Boston closed the year with a budget surplus, marking the 35th year the city has done so. Meg McIntyre reports that while many other cities are laying off workers and cutting services as a result of the pandemic, Boston has actually added jobs.

Just in time for the new year, Kafka’s The Trial has entered public domain. Here are some other works opened up this year.

Mitt Romney‘s claim to fame was rising to the logistics challenge of the 2002 Winter Olympics. (There’s also the Big Dig, but we won’t dwell too much on that.) These days he’s watching the logistic challenge of vaccine distribution play out and he has some concerns.

And this is something I hadn’t previously considered: If you’re an astronaut on the International Space Station and you turn your smartphone sideways, it won’t go into landscape mode because there’s no gravity. Also GPS and time zones would be a mess. Hey Siri, what’s the weather at my current location? …Siri?

Let no crisis go to waste

Monday. Big week.

Usually a computer comes with a keyboard. This keyboard comes with a computer.

Restaurant investors are continuing to buy up local chains under stress in the pandemic. First Dunkins, then Legal and now Friendly’s.

The International Space Station is 20 years old today. It was launched in a spirt of international scientific cooperation that hasn’t lasted nearly as long.

If you’re buying books, check out Bookshop.org. It’s a way to support local bookstores. It’s not quite as comprehensive or full featured as Amazon but it’s getting there. And, I think it’s worth the small extra effort to support a good cause.

And taking a dog for a walk when you’re in a hurry can be frustrating. They have to stop to smell every inch of the path. But, says Ellen Furlong, be patient. It’s what dogs love to do.

Off the charts

It’s a gloomy Friday. But it’s also National Candy Corn Day.

Don’t hate the winter. Embrace it by going outside like the Norwegians.

Over 88 thousand cases yesterday in the US. The charts speak for themselves.

The federal government can, and does, run a deficit. But most states don’t have that luxury. And many of those states are now in a cash crunch, waiting and hoping for federal relief that hasn’t arrived.

The Strand bookstore rallied its supporters when the going got tough. Other independent bookstores also need your help.

And hospitals, already under stress, are now being attacked by hackers, mostly from Eastern Europe, in a wave of ransomware hacks. There’s a special place in hell for these folks.

Doubling time

Happy Sunday. We lost an hour. Don’t forget to set your clocks.

Sleeping as entertainment. It’s the Truman Show. Once again life imitates art.

In Massachusetts, health insurance will now cover the full costs of testing and treatment of coronavirus per instructions from the state Division of Insurance. Handshakes and hugs are on hold. A Malaysian news site reported that the Vatican confirmed Pope Francis had tested positive. Not true. But the numbers continue to grow in Italy as the entire region of Lombardy is going into lockdown. How effective it will be is yet to be seen. In MA there are now 13 cases of over 400 confirmed in the US. To project into the future Liz Specht ran the numbers, which are doubling every 6-10 days or so -and it looks pretty grim. This is especially true for hospitals, as this leaked slide shows.

Last week South Carolina was make-or-break for Joe Biden. This week Michigan is that for Sanders.

Those liberals and their fancy coffee. Ben Adler reviews a book by Kristin B. Tate that has a weird premise. Tate, he says, believes people are fleeing thriving blue cities like Boston and New York because of failed liberal policies. And, she complains, they’re moving to less-desirable red cities and bringing their wacky liberal ways with them, making those cites less less-desirable. Huh? I know correlation doesn’t always equal causation but the pattern of ‘thriving blue cities’ and ‘less desirable red cities’ is what stands out for me.

And the Globe ran a story about a fatal crash in Wales MA. Had to look it up. As a lifelong resident of the state I had never heard of the town of Wales. I guess it must be a nice quiet place.