Do your jobs

The Wednesday hump. Birthdays, today, for Bobby Sherman and George Clinton.

We’re all struggling to interpret the constantly shifting data on Covid-19 spread. Journalist are too. ProPublica has some tips. Meanwhile, the WSJ runs through the numbers to try to nail down fatality rates.

Everyone’s talking about the police reform bill but there’s also the small matter of passing a budget for the fiscal year that has already started. Come on, Legislature. You know what Belichick would say.

The Australian version of The Onion is called The Shovel and they take a well-aimed shot at the NRA.

Steve McQueen’s Mustang, from the movie Bullitt, sold for $3.7 million dollars earlier this year, setting a record. That record has been left in the dust by another recent auction of a Mustang, the one once driven by Ken Miles and Carroll Shelby of Ford vs. Ferrari fame.

Elon Musk wants to get into your brain.

And if you’ve ever wondered how Apple became such a hugely successful company, this example of long-term thinking may enlighten you.

An American story arc

Today is Tuesday, July 21st, 2020. It’s the anniversary of both the first moonwalk and the last Space Shuttle mission.

No summer blockbusters this year, only re-runs of Jaws at the drive in. And, maybe that’s a good thing.

Fifty one years ago an American walked on the moon. Today we’re struggling with the not very complex problem of whether to wear a mask. Delta is doubling down on requiring them on flights while Winn Dixie says, come on in without one. (Update – they changed their mind and now require a mask). The governor of Texas is taking heat from local counties for his statewide mask-wearing mandate while the governor of Georgia is going out of his way to prevent local municipalities from implementing mask mandates. And the president, who was against masks, is now for masks. I can’t wait to see how we handle vaccine distribution.

The AG’s office in Massachusetts doesn’t do many criminal investigations. And from what I’ve seen, there’s a political angle to what investigations they do take on and how they approach them. So designating them to be point for deadly force investigations is either a cynical or a clueless decision by legislators.

When the Democratic National Convention came to Boston in 2004, planning started more than a year in advance. Same thing for the RNC in New York that same year and the DNC in Denver in 2008. There are a lot of moving parts. So I don’t envy the Sheriff in Jacksonville who’s trying to put together a security plan for the RNC in less than two months. Not to mention current government disfunction, today’s unrest and all the precautions needed for social distancing. That’s a triple-decker shit sandwich.

And now, here are some cute penguin photos to cool you off on a hot day.

A hasty pudding

Now comes Tuesday. It’s Ringo Starr‘s 80th birthday.

Only about forty percent of students will be returning to Harvard this fall for in-person classes. MIT is in the same boat. Not good for the Cambridge economy but probably a solid public health decision.

The Massachusetts Senate would like to have a police reform bill ready for a vote by Thursday. Included are certification and force de-escalation requirements along with a statewide ban on facial recognition. It also contains the State Police reform measures proposed by the governor, like removing the requirement that the colonel be promoted from within. The House apparently has something else going on. Getting a bill passed by both chambers and to the governor by the end of the session on July 31 would be quite a feat, especially during the summer.

Both the Ayn Rand Institute and an organization run by Grover Norquist apparently took government business relief money. I guess the end justifies the means even if it’s at odds with it.

Today is the anniversary of the 2016 shooting of 14 police officers in Dallas, five of whom died.

I had heard about the Pixii camera when it was announced a couple of years ago but then nothing happened. Now it’s here and available to buy. A novel take on photography, the Pixii is a rangefinder that accepts manual focus Leica M-mount lenses. It has no display and no memory card. Photos are stored in internal memory and transferred wirelessly to your phone. It uses an APS-C sensor and costs over $3000. I’m interested to see how it’s reviewed but I’m pretty sure I’ll pass.

And here’s Boston from the movies, rated only for wicked smarht audiences.

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.

Long strange trip

Sunday, July 5. National Bikini Day.

Juliet Pennington checks in with James Montgomery (of the blues band) to talk about travel.

Kayne West announced a 2020 presidential run. “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States,” he wrote in a strikingly articulate tweet without inappropriate capitalization, made-up words or grammatical errors.

Before Google Maps and turn by turn directions there were cassette tapes and mile-o-meters. A steampunk version of GPS. Ingenious.

The 747 production line is shutting down. Or at least it will when it finishes its outstanding orders, which will take about two years. I’ve only flown on one once, a decade or so ago, from Hong Kong to Singapore, upstairs in front. It was very nice.

And if you need something to get the adrenaline going on this Sunday morning after a holiday, check out these classic car chases.