Moneybags

Saturday. The Weekend.

Paleontology, politics and dairy all came together in 1802 when the good folks from Cheshire, MA sent a ‘mammoth’ block of cheese to Thomas Jefferson. Not to be outdone, upstate New Yorkers sent an even bigger block to Andrew Jackson, sparking a literal feeding frenzy in the White House. Ah, the good old days.

Coleman Herman reports that non-union employees at the MBTA received a $1000 bonus for working through the pandemic. Huh? Some people in the private sector were lucky enough to have been compensated for continuing to come into work, but not many. How did anyone in management at the T think that was a good idea at an agency struggling to control costs. Just the optics alone should have taken this off the table.

Alan Levinovitz responds to John McWhorter’s article about wokeness being like a religion. And in France, they’re just confused about the whole thing.

Mayor-elect Wu is still taking the T to work. She told WBUR that she will continue to do so as mayor. I guess that’s a good thing. The city can save a few bucks on a driver and when the T goes free, she will save as well.

And if you’re in the market for a new bike and you want to stand out from the crowd you should consider this gold Giant Defy. It’s only $288,125. Cash for flash.

Throw money

Wednesday, October 6th. There’s still baseball happening.

Two endorsements: Markey for Wu and Trump for Diehl. The former may have some effect but the latter is just a curiosity in these parts.

The MBTA safety team has doubled in size, according to General Manager Steve Poftak, and the agency is spending three times what it had in previous years on capital projects. And yet safety issues are still regularly occurring and projects are lagging. So what’s the solution?

Following the lead of the Boston Public Library, the New York Public Library is eliminating all late fees. Bad news for Bookman.

The trillion-dollar coin is still a possibility. Fascinating. It would be minted in West Point and flown by helicopter to New York, where it would be deposited in the Federal Reserve Bank… assuming the guy carrying it doesn’t have any holes in his pockets.

And I didn’t know Muhammed Ali was an artist outside of the ring. He was.

The levers of power

Thursday. Its a birthday for Saul Bellow, Howlin’ Wolf and Bill Burr.

Neither Ralph Mellish, nor any other person in the US this year, has been killed by a lightning strike. It’s like a no-hitter. (Oops.)

In the past, the Boston City Council was ornery and blustery, but mostly all talk. This group is, well… different. Kim Janey and next elected mayor will have their hands full. And on the search for a new police commissioner, Bill Forry has some thoughts on Councilwoman, and mayoral candidate, Wu’s obstructionism.

We have a new ocean. Pretty cool.

Who’s driving the train? The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board has been dissolved and the Governor and legislature have dueling proposals for a new oversight board.

And there’s a bear afoot on the South Shore. Last sighting was on the eastern side of Wompatuck. Better hide those pic-a-nic baskets.

Coming down the tracks

Tuesday. Van Gogh was born on this day in 1853.

Is Volkswagen changing its name to Voltswagen? As in Volt? That would be weird.

The Orange Line derailment from last month looks like it was caused by an old switch rather than a new train. With stimulus money expected to hit the books soon, the MBTA is preparing to improve maintenance and restore service levels. But long lead times for staffing and training are frustrating some of these efforts, managers told the Control Board. And what happens when the stimulus money runs out? It’s an open question. “The T that exists today cannot continue to exist in fiscal 2024 and fiscal 2025,” one Control Board member remarked. Indeed.

Andy Warhol may have been borrowing from Marshall Mcluhan when he said “art is anything you can get away with.” But he didn’t get away with anything this time.

More Walsh loyalists are leaving City Hall. Not unexpected, but the city will be fine. Operations will go on just as efficiently under Dion Irish and financial management of the city will be in good hands with Justin Skerrit.

And a team for the billionaire funded Space X ride has been selected. All regular people. Fast Company interviews one of the crew, Sian Procter, a community college professor who says, “Strap me in—I’m ready to go.”

Here comes the pain train

A happy, spring-like Tuesday.

We used to burn draft cards and bras, and blow up disco records. Now we burn masks.

Less riders. Less funding. The post-pandemic future will be difficult for the MBTA. Capital projects may be suspended and maintenance deferred, potentially leading to more unreliable service, leading to less riders and even less funding. A death spiral. But what if the riders miraculously reappear? Well, that might be a problem too.

It was the Day of the Triffids in northern Vermont. And in England, a rare carbonaceous chondrite meteor landed in a driveway in the town of Winchcombe not far from Stonehenge. Many a Creature Feature started out just like this.

One in ten jobs worldwide is dependent on tourism. That’s averaged out. In some places it’s much higher. These NYT charts show just how hard the pandemic has hit the people dependent on tourism.

And there’s been a report of aggressive, out of control, threatening behaviour in the White House. But this time it wasn’t a high-level official. It was just the dog.