Cognitive dissonance on crime

Wednesday. The top o’ the week.

Paul Krugman wonders where all the grownups have gone.

The Globe is reporting that Boston is bucking the trend in rising crime. For more than two years the paper has been painting the Boston Police department with one brush, ignoring the hard work and innovation going on. Even the new mayor seems to be keeping the department at arms length, unsure of how to embrace the good work that’s happening there. It’s not a healthy situation.

Marc Hurwitz reports that Guy Fieri is opening a restaurant tomorrow. Can’t wait to hear how good the food is.

Dianne Wilkerson is signaling that she may run again for state senate. Really? She should let someone younger—and untainted by the past—have a shot.

And poor Roger Ebert. Even in death he’s being second guessed. Screen Rant looks at the bad movies he liked and Far Out Magazine brings up the good ones he hated. Just can’t win.

Can’t get there from here

Mid week. Wednesday. Coffee Day.

What a way to win a marathon. When the frontrunners took a wrong turn, the guy trailing them stayed true to course – and won the medal.

The MBTA is getting dangerous. Crashes, derailments, bloody escalator incidents. And that’s just this week! There seems to be something systemically wrong. Filling the vacancies on the Board of Directors would help, as would better day-to-day management and financial control. The mayoral candidates also chimed in on the apparent chaos, according the the Globe, calling for more investment. Which might be hard to do if you’re also calling for cutting revenue. Every dollar counts.

The critics seem to like the new Bond movie. But he really should get a better phone from Q.

Why are supply chain bottlenecks so persistent? It’s complicated but Michael Cembalest of J.P. Morgan breaks it down to supply, demand and shipping costs. Apparently it’s more profitable for Chinese shipping companies to return containers empty than it is for them to refill them with all the stuff on the dock waiting to be exported.

And I always enjoy reading those clickbaity science headlines. Something ‘is happening and experts don’t know why.’ Sounds mysterious and a little scary. In this case, it turns out that the reason we don’t know why is because we don’t have any data to compare against. No mystery after all. But they did get me to read the article.

Goldilocks health care

Happy Thursday. Stay cool.

Joan Vennochi asks, “Will the Tom Menino model work for Kim Janey?Vennochi doesn’t believe it will. I think it already has.

Paul Hattis parses the latest Mass General Brigham press release on its quarterly financial report. Apparently they’re doing well. But not too well. Not badly. Not great. Somewhere in that zone where they can be making lots of money but keep government regulators at bay while still needing massive Covid relief funds.

Inflation seems to be easing with prices up ‘only’ 5.4% in July over last year. The Council of Economic Advisors tweeted… “One month does not make a trend (monthly inflation slowed in May before rebounding in June), and we know supply constraints persist in various sectors. However, July’s deceleration is encouraging.” Bears watching.

Scorsese’s next movie, Killers of the Flower Moon, will be for Apple TV. He’s already lined up some acting talent. John Lithgow, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Brendan Fraser and Jesse Plemons, for starters. Hopefully he’ll forgo the CGI this time around.

And I would imagine that this would be a red hot item on Cameo. A customized message from Rudy.

The big screen

Sunday, 7/11. Slurpee Day.

It’s time for city employees to go back to work. Some, anyway.

The Coolidge Corner Theater is back. That’s good. Being ‘engulfed by the screen’ is nice. But the Coolidge was always an outlier in the theater business. Kara Swisher isn’t so optimistic about the rest of the industry. Streaming is now where it’s at, she says. Being engulfed by your iPhone screen is the new moviegoing experience.

Google Maps or Apple Maps? I always prefered the former but privacy concerns may cause me to revisit that.

Two criminologist try to figure out why crime is rising. Lots of possibilities, but really, no one knows.

And, I know it’s only July, but it’s never too early to think about having fried chicken for Christmas.

Pixel imperfect

A lazy start to Saturday.

Worcester is the new Hollywood.

When it came to Nikon vs. Canon, I was always a Nikon guy. A lot has changed in the camera world since those days. Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic and even Leica are competing with the big brands. Nikon has struggled to stay relevant. Their recent product roadmap probably won’t help.

Bitcoin mining tended to be done in places where there were weird rules around electric use, often in third world countries. Texas now joins that list.

Tree House beer is legendary. It’s a destination beverage. They’re now the largest brewery in the state, outside of Boston. Previously you had to drive all the way to Charlton to sample one of their brews but now you can pick up some cans at their soon to open taproom in Sandwich.

And if you insist on arguing about politics on social media, do it on something like WhatsApp. You’ll never win on Facebook.

Paying homage

Friday on my mind.

It was only right to over-tip when restaurants were hurting. But now, as things are getting back to normal, what should the new normal be for tipping? I’d say, if you can afford it, just keep on over-tipping.

Coleman Herman delves into some legislative budget language to find an old-fashioned snub war going on between lawmakers and UMass trustees. My bet is on the guys on Beacon Hill who control the money.

A government report on UFOs is expected sometime this month. Here’s a spoiler from the New York Times: We still don’t have a clue.

F. Lee Bailey has died. He used to be a neighbor. His was the only house on the street with a helicopter garage.

And remember that long Twin Peaks scene of a man sweeping the floor? Over two minutes long. Only David Lynch could get away with that (well, maybe Tarantino). Apparently Lynch does not suffer advice gladly, on how long a scene should be.

Five year plan

It’s a Monday and it’s beginning to feel like summer.

A remake of A Christmas Carol set in the Braintree Mall? Bah, humbug.

Adrian Walker writes that the crisis in the Boston Police Department reflects terribly on Walsh and his closest aids. He also takes Kim Janey to task. But I would cut Janey some slack. She was handed a mess and too-quick decision making can have huge legal and financial implications. I think she’s correct in her measured approach. Her next big decision is who to appoint as commissioner. Will it be an insider or someone from the outside? I hope she’s thinking strategically rather than going for the quick fix.

Gene Weingarten is a kluger. I can relate.

The Washington Post ran a long article on the recent wave of ransomware attacks. Takeway: “Many [companies] are failing to deploy even basic best practices, such as requiring multifactor authentication for employees logging onto systems, patching vulnerabilities promptly, segmenting networks, keeping backups off line and testing them periodically to ensure they work.” This is one of those rare instances where it is appropriate to blame the victims.

And another modern myth is shattered. The man who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos maybe really didn’t. The”facts do not support the urban legend,” say people involved. Devastating.

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.