Gordian knot

It’s Wednesday, the 190th day of 2020. Just 176 more to go.

Why is Stella mad? Wait and she’ll tell you.

A list of prominent writers and artists have come together to write a letter in Harpers on the importance of, and need for, freedom of expression. Pretty clear cut, right? But another writer is apoplectic because the authors, in writing the letter, did in fact express themselves, making the premiss of the letter false. And others are speaking out against speaking up. It’s a controversy that encapsulates these times pretty well.

It looks like The Swamp is actually getting deeper.

Adam Gaffin reports on the slow trickle of museum openings, including the Gardner, Aquarium and Museum of Science.

And it’s officially hurricane season and it looks like it’s going to be a busy one. Of course it does.

A common understanding

Monday once again. What is it about Monday?

Ennio Morricone has died. He made some amazing and very memorable music. Peter Bradshaw recounts his accomplishments.

In the Columbia Journalism Review, Jack Herrera writes about confusion over what the slogan defund the police really means. He thinks journalists are watering it down because they aren’t familiar with the purist interpretation or because they’re afraid of the political implications of promoting the actual elimination of police departments. But isn’t that how slogans work? No one owns them. They’re just memes open to interpretation. They take on meaning as they spread. The less we know about what they actually mean the quicker they catch on.

Murders are up in cities nationwide but crime is down. OK. Experts chalk this up to it just being a weird year.

Britons have a dilemma as things are opening up. Where should they go first, the hairdresser or the pub?

And with a shortage of live sports, ESPN is bringing us The Eagles pre-recorded. The ones from Los Angeles, not Philadelphia. A concert from 2018.

Slow motion disappearing act

It’s Thursday. Surely it could not have been 40 years since Ted Stryker landed the plane.

Here’s the inside scoop on Boston Pizza Wars.

Sarah Betancourt reports that there are 6 less staffers at the Herald this morning after another round of layoffs. One of the people leaving noted that it was “the beginning of the end for the Herald.” I used to worry about Boston not being a two-paper town, especially for local coverage. But the truth is that, for some time now, we’ve barely been a one-paper town since the Globe is regularly scooped on local news by online sites and social media.

Juneteenth is one step closer to becoming a Massachusetts state holiday.

Pfizer is seeing encouraging results from a vaccine under development, with immunity-producing antibodies similar to those seen in people who have recovered from the virus. Next, testing will determine if the cure is worse than the disease. If it turns out to be safe, pricing and distribution challenges need to be worked out. Then we’re back to normal, right?

From over-touristed to no tourists, Venice and other cities are rethinking their identities.

And Brian Chen has advice for making your tech devices last longer.

Part of the solution

Wednesday. RIP Carl Reiner.

Yesterday was a good day in Massachusetts. The first good day since March 20th. Nobody died from the virus.

The Globe runs a remarkably simplistic story about diversity in the Boston Police Department. Events from more than thirty years ago are dredged up to illustrate the department’s “enduring reputation as a racist institution.” A forgone conclusion erasing years of hard-won progress by a reporter in the city for less than a year. The article is unfortunate because hiring a more diverse force is an important issue that should be the subject of a real public discussion. The BPD and the mayor are on record as wanting to change the breakdown of the department, but there are actual legal, political and bureaucratic obstacles to doing that, not to mention the recruiting challenges in the current atmosphere. That’s what the discussion should be about, not tired old cliches about foot dragging.

The merger of two long-established Dorchester parishes, St. Ann and St. Brendan, has been approved. The archdiocese is now asking for input on a name for the newly consolidated parish.

Daniel Mulhall, Irish Ambassador to the US, is interviewed by the Washington Post. He talks about tweeting poetry, diplomacy during a pandemic and working with the current US administration. On the last point he was characteristically diplomatic.

And according to AnandTech, 400 terabyte drives are around the corner. It’s due to new technology for higher data density tape. That’s right, tape. What’s old is new again. File under: cold storage.

Getting from here to there

Lazy Sunday. RIP Arnie, ‘Old Aching Adenoids, Woo Woo (for you, you)’ Ginsburg.

Rounding down old age: Thanks to coronavirus, 60 is the new 65. Now about those elderly discounts.

Ed Markey and Ayanna Pressley have filed a bill to fund free transit rides to the tune of $5 billion dollars. I like the idea of making public transit cheaper and easier to use but the funds will have to come from somewhere. And now, since the administration has run up a gazillion, bazillion dollar deficit, why not get the money from the feds. Who, other than future generations, will even notice.

Less people are flying but more are complaining about the airlines. And, happily, the end may be near for in-flight food service. The food is horrible (and the servings are so small) and it’s not worth the disruption in the cabin.

The folks from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation recommend these 20 2020 albums. So far.

And last week it was pets left behind when owners contracted Covid. This week it’s the office plants. They miss their people. That’s some hard hitting journalism happening right there. What about that yogurt left in the fridge? Stay tuned.