Nearing a new normal

Today is Tuesday and that’s totally tremendous.

Voyager 1, which launched back in 1977, is phoning home from 14 billion miles away with information about plasma waves in interstellar space. That’s just crazy.

England, Northern Ireland and Scotland recorded no Covid deaths in the latest reporting period. (Wales is still catching up, reporting 3 deaths.) Closer to home, Massachusetts had 14 deaths but only 446 new cases. Just a few months ago we were looking at over 6000 new cases a day, so we’re certainly moving in the right direction. By August 1st the worst may be over.

Airline workers were on the front lines in the mask wars. Retail workers too. It’s amazing how selfish and petty people can be. These workers need a raise.

Remember all that rhetoric about blue state bailouts? We were told that states like California shouldn’t get pandemic relief because they couldn’t manage their own budgets? Flash forward: California has a $75.7B budget surplus. Sounds pretty well-managed to me.

And Donovan Leitch, who once had an incredible string of hit songs in the 1960’s, has now teamed up with David Lynch for a music video. There are no talking monkeys but it’s still very Lynchian.

The power of commitment

Friday. The week concludes with sunshine.

Murder rates jumped back up in the US as the pandemic receded. And it wasn’t only here that that happened.

This year’s Mother’s Day Walk for Peace, on May 9th, will be a virtual one. Tina Chéry is doing the organizing, as she has for the last 25 years.

Restaurants are reopening at the same time as the pool of available workers is shrinking. Bad news for diners – but maybe good news for service workers, who are now in a better position to demand higher pay and improved benefits.

Many colleges and universities are requiring vaccines for returning students. Duh.

And the original artwork for the band Boston’s second album, Don’t Look Back, is up for auction. The big flying saucer/guitar illustration was going for just over $13 thousand bucks, last time I looked. (Why do I think it will end up in Ernie Boch Jr.‘s man cave.)

Fixing potholes

Monday, April 5th. Kurt Cobain, Alan Ginsburg and Saul Bellow all died on this date.

Airlines and hotels have reduced their capacities. Post-pandemic demand for travel is about to surge. Supply, meet demand. Travellers should prepare for higher prices.

Kim Janey is out in the street, attending events and making appearances as the acting mayor. Danny McDonald interviewed a bunch of political insiders and they all agree that if she does run for the job (which, of course she will) that this visibility will give her an edge over the other candidates. They point to the similar situation that Tom Menino was in as acting mayor when Ray Flynn left to take a job in the Clinton Administration. But Tom Menino had a hook. He was the urban mechanic and he used his time as acting mayor to demonstrate that he could be effective in that role. It was what differentiated him from the other candidates. Janey will need more than just higher visibility. She’ll need a hook to make her stand out from the crowd.

Still no inspection stickers. Applus is quiet. The RMV is deflecting. Not a good situation.

Its original name was Harbor Lights. The list of artists that performed there includes Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, Radiohead and Billie Eilish. Later, the name of the place was changed to Bank of Boston Pavilion. Then BankBoston Pavilion. Then Fleet Bank Pavilion. Then Bank of America Pavilion… Blue Hills Bank Pavilion… Rockland Trust Pavilion. Now it has a new name, the Leader Bank Pavilion. Maybe we should just call it the increasingly more obscure financial institution music venue. IMOFIMV. It would be easier to remember.

And how long would it take to walk all the way around the moon? Of course someone has done the calculations.

You can get there from here

Happy Easter. How’s your keaster?

Food and Wine Magazine found the best 50 chocolate makers in the US. It sounds like a lot of dreary research went into putting the list together. Anyway, 4 of the best are here in Massachusetts: Goodnow Farms in Sudbury, EH Chocolatier in Cambridge, Taza in Somerville and Chequessett on the Cape.

One of the things Amtrak included in its plans for expansion under the infrastructure bill is to extend Downeaster train service to Rockland Maine, something that hasn’t been in place since 1959. It would be a nice ride up from Boston.

Facebook was hacked. Lots of personal information was compromised. (Check your email or password to see if it’s out there.)

It’s time to take St. Matthew Passion off the playlist. Michael Brodeur offers some alternatives for spring listening.

And a pioneering woman mariner from Egypt is making the best of an unfortunate case of mistaken identity. Just make sure you spell her name right.

How can we miss you if you won’t go away?

Friday. Today, the film Fargo is 25 years old.

If all goes according to plan, July 4th will be one hell of a celebration this year.

Kim Janey is drumming her fingers waiting for Marty Walsh to leave even as senior staff head for the door. Meanwhile, Larry DiCara is worried about the financial state of the city. And he’s right. There’s uncertainty around the post-pandemic economy in Boston and a mayoral change only adds to the uncertainty. The last two administrations, over more than twenty years, have managed the budget very conservatively and it’s in pretty good shape today with most obligations fully funded. Hopefully this will continue.

Squeeze’ Chris Difford has written a memoir of his time as the group’s lyricist. Here are some excerpts.

Baker told the teachers union that a plan for in-school vaccinations, administered by firefighters, is not going to happen. Teachers are getting vaccinated but they have to take the time to schedule a shot and drive to the vaccination site. Sounds reasonable to me. It’s better than what the grocery store workers are getting.

And Kia has a new minivan that will turn heads. Is that John Travolta behind the wheel?