An embarrassment of riches

Today is Saturday. That’s good.

Spencer Buell has had it with QR codes. They came. They went. And then, dammit, they came back again.

Massachusetts keeps beating revenue projections. New tax revenue is over $2 billion dollars higher than last year, well above budget projections. And that’s before taking in all those billions in federal relief money. As Bruce Mohl reports, the folks in the State House are having difficulty figuring out how to spend all this money. We should end up with the best roads and bridges on the planet. Or even better, the best state and local IT infrastructure.

Charlie Baker is still here and the governor for another year. But that didn’t stop Lizzy Guyton from writing a nice obit.

Ashley Wong investigates the great cream cheese drought affecting New York bagel shops. Turns out that the problem is not the supply chain or a shortage of cream cheese. It’s that suppliers can’t keep up with demand, which is up more than 35%. I blame Biden.

And it’s snowing in Hawaii. Blizzard conditions. Apparently somebody didn’t hit the button.

Up is down, down is up

Monday. Here we go.

Mac Jones looked good. It wasn’t a win but this season just might work out.

According to Third Way, via NBC News, crime in red state Massachusetts is way up. But in Boston, part one crime is down 17%. Something is out of whack. Maybe it’s Cambridge pushing the numbers up for the state.

Video game maker Epic sued Apple. Apple won. Kind of. They also lost. And Epic kind of won. No matter, Epic is going to appeal.

Cressida Dick is a reasonable person but I think she’s on the wrong side of this issue. Fighting terrorism and child sexual abuse are important but there are no easy solutions without compromising privacy for the average person. Not to mention the potential for abuse. Consider this. And this.

And A&W tried to ‘one up’ the McDonalds’ Quarter Pounder with their own Third Pounder. It didn’t catch on because people thought a third of a pound was smaller than a quarter of a pound. And you wonder why our vaccination rate is so low.

Shuffling the deck

Sunday. Today is the 55th anniversary of the last show of the Beatles final tour.

It’s still August but the Farmer’s Almanac is forecasting a snowy January and a “winter whopper” in late February. Now there’s something to look forward to.

A new poll in the mayor’s race shakes things up a bit. But most people are still undecided.

From today’s Globe: “Police investigating two homicides; city shuts down nightclub from shooting.” Usually when The Boston Globe publishes a headline reading that way, the city it would be referring to would be Boston, right? This one is about Providence, a city in an entirely different state. Baffelling. But that’s OK. The Dorchester Reporter has the Boston news covered.

Kathy Ryan took black and white photos of the covid-abandoned New York Times offices. Beautiful work.

And MSG has gotten a bad rap. It’s a good source of umami and is perfectly safe. Actually it can have health benefits, as it allows you to cut down on salt. I’m in.

Peak pandemic

Thursday. Dog day.

What’s more important, the climate or the view from a beach house? Bruce Mohl reports on Cape Wind redux on Nantucket.

Remember ‘Don’t Fauci my Florida‘? Ha, Covid. Big joke. I can only imagine what Dr. Fauci thinks about Florida (and DeSantis) these days as it leads the nation in new infections and bodies stack up in funeral parlors while folks wonder how all this could have happened.

With the preliminary election for mayor just around the corner, Bill Walczak has a message for Bostonians: Get out and vote.

Are you tired of clicking through those cookie warnings and looking at all those ugly ads on websites? Frank Groeneveld has a solution. It’s been under your nose all this time.

And there’s a near infinite variety of pizzas in southern Italy. And not a pineapple among them.

Transparent as mud

Sunday morning. Hurricane Henri rolls in. (Thats on-ree’ for all you French speakers.)

Here’s a little more on that Facebook Transparency report. First, they tried to cherry pick which information to transparently release. Then, after some criticism, they transparently released the original material. What an ‘orrible company.

Gene Weingarten has some incorrect opinions on food. Apparently balsamic vinegar is “the mark of the devil.” The taste of curry “could knock a vulture off a meat wagon” and cooked green peppers “overwhelms everything with its nasty, rancid presence.” On the other hand, he’s absolutely right about more than two toppings on a pizza, hazelnut in coffee and sweet pickles.

One good thing the pandemic brought us was an upgrade in restaurant tech.

And it was supposed to be a big concert featuring Springsteen, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Paul Simon and others. But they only got as far as Barry Manilow. Then came on-ree’ to shut it all down.

Breaking it down

A rainy Thursday. Rain is good.

Here’s what the judge said when sentencing a January 6 rioter: “You called yourself and the others patriots, but that’s not patriotism. Patriotism is loyalty to country, loyalty to the Constitution, not loyalty to a single head of state. That’s the tyranny we rejected on July 4th of 1776.”

I’ve been out of the country for the past week or so and upon return it looks like covid is back in the news. The administration is considering requiring vaccination for all international travelers. Good idea. Louisiana is reeling. Florida is out of control. Locally, Barnstable, Plymouth and and Nantucket are hotspots. And just when we thought it was over. In England, their recent surge collapsed just they were reopening. Hopefully that happens here as well.

Running an airline is hard. Too hard, apparently, for Spirit.

Some people thought machine learning and AI could predict the path of covid spread and allow for preventative interventions. That didn’t happen. Bad data in, bad information out.

And how about a tomato sandwich for lunch today? Bread, tomato, mayo, salt and pepper. Nothing more, nothing less. Well, maybe a slice of bacon.

Calm before the storm

Tuesday. It’s the anniversary of Apollo 11 landing in the Sea of Tranquility.

Say you’re in an airliner flying at 30,000 feet and realize that everyone on the plane has been incapacitated, including the pilots. (Maybe they all had the fish). Can you land the plane? Actually, it’s doable.

Shirley Leung reports that the MBTA has restored service to pre-pandemic levels. But despite an expensive marketing campaign, riders haven’t returned. Come fall, when more workers return to the office, this could be a problem, traffic-wise.

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin flight into ‘space’ this morning was a success. After reaching apogee, the passenger module floated back to earth on parachutes at about 15 mph, until just inches above the ground, when a blast of air, like an airbag deployment, cushioned its touchdown. The rocket booster had previously separated and returned to earth, landing just like a rocket in a 1950’s sci-fi illustration. It was quite an impressive technological accomplishment.

After 50 people were shot over the weekend, Chicago police are trying something they say is “new and unique.” They’re going to tackle illegal gun trafficking. Imagine that.

And there are thick burgers and there are thin burgers. Thick burgers are juicy and tasty, but a disaster when you try to eat them. Thin burgers fit well in the bun but are too easy to overcook. What if science could help us to have the best of both worlds? Count me in!

The big screen

Sunday, 7/11. Slurpee Day.

It’s time for city employees to go back to work. Some, anyway.

The Coolidge Corner Theater is back. That’s good. Being ‘engulfed by the screen’ is nice. But the Coolidge was always an outlier in the theater business. Kara Swisher isn’t so optimistic about the rest of the industry. Streaming is now where it’s at, she says. Being engulfed by your iPhone screen is the new moviegoing experience.

Google Maps or Apple Maps? I always prefered the former but privacy concerns may cause me to revisit that.

Two criminologist try to figure out why crime is rising. Lots of possibilities, but really, no one knows.

And, I know it’s only July, but it’s never too early to think about having fried chicken for Christmas.

A one-way mirror

Friday. Let’s just call it a week.

Travel site Matador writes about how great the North End is. But from an alternate reality. They insist on calling it Boston’s Little Italy. Very annoying.

The Legislature continues to mask its committee votes. Members insist that the normal sausage making requires it. They worry that how they vote on issues in committee might be misconstrued. Maybe, but aren’t these also the people that made the rules that require the official actions of all of the other public employees in the state be open for review – misconstrue or not? What’s good for the goose, right?

There are two sides to every story. But in this situation, only one side passes the smell test for Christopher Muther.

Bill Forry, editor of the Dorchester Reporter, has some thoughts about the current governing situation in the city.

And Heinz wants to know why buying hotdogs and buns always ends up in a mismatch. (I want to know why people think putting ketchup on a hot dog is an acceptable thing in a civilized society.)

Amature hour

A beautiful sunny Monday. And a quiet news day.

Subscribe to a car? Welcome to transportation as a service.

Wall Street Journal reporter Mike Bender’s new book details a blow up between Trump and General Milley. The more we learn the scarier our recent history was.

The story of Sriracha sauce. Interesting and inspiring. I always have a bottle of in the kitchen.

Now it’s Republicans who are defunding the police -and just to get back at Democrats.

And yes, they’re baack. Close the beaches. Cancel Fourth of July festivities. We’ll also need to get a bigger boat.