Opportunity knocks

Today is Thursday. It’s a birthday for Aretha Franklin, Elton John and Howard Cosell.

Jack Nicholson hasn’t made a movie in 11 years. That’s too bad. A whole generation of very good actors are pushing into their eighties, as Ty Burr points out in his remembrance of George Segal.

Charlie Baker‘s approval rating slump is cited in an article at Politico by Stephanie Murray. She blames it on the absence of Trump, which I don’t buy. This is local politics mostly related to vaccine distribution. In any case, the governor’s dropping poll numbers are encouraging challengers, particularly Maura Healey. We’ll see. There are almost two years before the election and I’ll bet Baker’s numbers go back up before then.

This just in: Researchers have found that the media tend to emphasize bad news over good news. Apparently bad news keeps people engaged – they just keep coming back for more. (I think most of us have seen enough storm coverage to have figured this out for ourselves.)

It’s still too early to know if the large events scheduled for this summer on the South Shore will go on as planned. The Marshfield Fair is held towards the end of August and it’s probably safe. But the Levitate Music Festival is scheduled for early July. That one is going to be close.

And Florida woman is the new Florida man. The super-glued boxing glove was a nice touch.

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.

Get out the red pen

Friday, December 11th. Happy National App Day.

Biotech giveth and biotech taketh away.

Charlie Baker has sent the Massachusetts police reform bill back to the legislature with some changes. Matt Murphy breaks it down.

When Roger Ebert hated a movie, he hated, hated, hated, hated it. Here are 50 movies he hated, and here’s how he artfully described one of them: “This movie doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.”

Still no stimulus. A complete dereliction of duty.

And the knives are out for Cam Newton as the Pats chances to make the playoffs pretty much dissolve after last night’s loss.

Valuable advice

Welcome to the weekend. Saturday, December 5, 2020 edition.

No more small horses, peacocks, platypuses, turkeys or bearded dragons on airplanes. And that’s fine by me.

The MBTA advisory board says, ‘not so fast‘ on the agency’s plan to cut service. The board thinks the T should reshuffle its priorities to maintain service levels by delaying expensive projects and cutting fat in other areas. I couldn’t agree more.

This study is being billed as a breakthrough in potentially reversing age-related cognitive decline.

Kara Swisher weighs in on Warner Brothers‘ plan to release films in theaters and streaming at the same time. This looks like the future.

And the state budget was finally passed. Not bad. Only five months late.

Return on investment

It’s Wednesday. Halfway there.

No-Shave November is over. You can shave your beard now and, as a bonus, you get a free McRib sandwich.

Some Massachusetts politicians win elections the old fashioned way, by spending lots of money. Bruce Mohl has the deets.

In what may be a sign of optimism, cities are investing in convention centers, hoping to woo organizers once the pandemic ends. In the meantime, they can always be used as field hospitals.

Apple’s best apps of the year list is out and it reflects the year we’ve been through. Zoom, meditation and home exercise, remote learning and games top the list.

And the first best movies of 2020 list is out. This one is from the New Yorker.