Doomed to repeat

Saturday morning. Clouds giving way to sun. A heliacal day.

San Francisco has taken a laissez faire attitude towards shoplifting, both legally and socially. Can you guess how that might be working out?

Today is the anniversary of a “breakdown of reasoned discourse” that left a Massachusetts Senator on death’s door and accelerated the polarization of the country leading into civil war. Imagine politicians acting in such a way.

Stephen Diehl believes that cryptocurrency is to blame for the ransomware wave because it can be untraceable. I think that was supposed to be a feature, not a bug.

Jellyfish in Walden Pond? Thoreau would have been grossed-out.

And Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are racing each other to become the biggest, best billionaire space baron that money can buy. Just like Cosmo Spacely and W.C. Cogswell. Life imitates cartoons.

Cinematic endeavors

Today is Wednesday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Budweiser has announced that it is forgoing advertising for the Superbowl and donating the money it would have spent to help fund covid vaccination efforts, an advertisement itself, but a virtuous one.

For me, 2020 was mostly about catching up on TV shows. Since watching David Ehrlich’s brilliantly edited short video showcasing the 25 best movies of last year, I now have a lot of movies to catch up on. (And, yes, I got the ‘Directed by Robert Zemeckis‘ reference.)

As the coronavirus variant from the UK is spreading throughout Europe, people in the Netherlands are upset about new lockdowns and curfews. The otherwise boring, civilized and polite populace is boiling over into riots. Crazy.

Historian Jessica Boyall helps us get to know the Nantucket whalers (not the high school football team) through the records and art that they left behind.

And Larry DiCara has forgotten more about Boston politics than most of us ever knew. Here’s wishing him a speedy recovery.

Belt and suspenders

Another Monday. It’s a birthday for both G. Gordon Liddy and Abbie Hoffman.

Ireland has become an importer of potatoes, getting the majority of its supply from the UK. New Brexit restrictions may threaten that supply. But in today’s Ireland, potatoes are less about subsistence and more about tasty fries.

Moderna will apply for emergency use of its vaccine today, just behind Pfizer, who applied about a week ago. People in the highest risk categories could have their first shots before Christmas.

The Baltimore County school system went completely to remote learning. Now they’re completely shut down because of a ransomware attack.

The oldest houses in Washington DC were built in the 1700’s. But they weren’t built in Washington. Both originally came from Massachusetts (one from Waltham and the other from Ipswich.)

And 71 year old Manson cult member Leslie Van Houten’s parole request was denied by California Governor Gavin Newson, who reversed a board decision that would have freed her. So, no Dancing with the Stars for her, I guess.

Lining up the shot

Friday. It’s a birthday for Joe Biden, Robert Kennedy and James Michael Curley.

Flash was everywhere on the internet at one point but soon it will be history. Which is why the Internet Archive has decided to turn it on. (h/t Rob Beschizza.)

Pfizer plans to submit its vaccine for approval today. Moderna won’t be far behind. And people in high-risk groups could be receiving it within weeks. That’s big news. Here are some details about the process.

Spencer Buell reports on a brouhaha at an exclusive golf club in Mashpee where rumors are circulating that the club may be sold and turned into a dog park – or worse… a yoga retreat.

Apple is moving forward with App Tracking Transparency, despite some companies objections. The public will benefit when advertisers can’t track you across devices, but apps like Facebook, that profit by collecting your data, are against it. Which is why I’m for it.

And researchers are exploring the smells of history. Apparently Napoleon never went into battle without splashing on his favorite cologne.