In for the long haul

Tuesday. It was 53 years ago today, Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play.

Which country is responsible for the most metal albums per capita? This is a fascinating visualization. I have questions.

One of the benefits of having a few years under your belt is that you get a little bit of perspective. The Washington Post is reporting that, because of the virus outbreak, people may start leaving New York for good. This is the same New York that, just in my memory, survived bankruptcy, garbage and transit strikes, urban blight, blackouts, crime waves and terror attacks. Not to mention alligators in the sewers. New York will be fine.

Drummer Jimmy Cobb, who played on Kind of Blue, has died.

So what happens when the president steps over the line and seriously violates the terms of service on Twitter? Would they kick him off? Could they? Kara Swisher weighs in. This could get interesting and very messy.

And you know you can’t afford a car when the sunroof option is an extra $20,000 and the sticker price is more than some small jets.

Slow and steady

Monday, May 18. Today’s word is Exiguous.

Good preliminary results on vaccine development from Moderna. Fingers crossed.

Governor Baker is expected to announce the details of the first phase of the economic reopening sometime today. Leaked information indicates that big retailers will be allowed to open first, which some are saying is unfair to the small guys. But we’ll know more later in the day. Then we can gripe.

Getting married is complicated in these times. Zoom officiated weddings aren’t legal but you can still pull off a ceremony if you check all the right boxes. Boston Magazine walks us through the process.

Running the engines and rotating the tires is just one part of the maintenance plan for a $375 million dollar depreciating asset. Kent German looks into how airlines are keeping their grounded fleets airworthy.

And Astrid Kirchherr, who photographed the Beatles in the early days and was reported to have designed their mop-top haircuts, has died at 81. Pete Best sent his condolences in a tweet. (Yes, Pete Best is still around -and tweeting.)

An onslaught of second-guessing

A sunny Saturday. The leaves are coming out.

A barber in New York who had been illicitly cutting hair now has Covid. Contact tracing of neatly trimmed neighbors is now underway.

In Massachusetts there’s suspense in the air as the governor keeps his cards close on the details of Monday’s reopening. One thing is clear. No matter what he does he’s going to get slammed by both sides. Some are calling for a broad economic reopening while others are demanding that he extend the stay at home order. Baker has been smart about this so far and I think he’ll do the right thing, which will, of course, piss everyone off.

Speaking of Bay State governors dealing with pandemics, Emily Sweeney talks to the folks from the Coolidge Foundation who are hosting a webinar about how Calvin Coolidge handled the 1918 flu outbreak. There were penalties for coughing, spitting and kissing out in public. And you could be fined for being a ‘big talker.’ I’m all in favor of bringing that last one back.

When it comes to defending Apple, John Gruber tends to have a hair trigger. But in this case he’s right on every point. That Washington Post story on the Apple/Google contract tracing software is wrong in all the ways he says it is. Glaringly wrong.

And Steve Earle has a new album, Ghosts of West Virginia, coming out next week. He can’t do promotion for it but this story in the Times won’t hurt.

‘Neath the streets of Boston

Good morning. It’s Tuesday. In 1973 on this date, Dark Side of the Moon went to number 1 and stayed there for 14 years.

Musings from Dorchester that don’t have much to do with coronavirus.

On another non-coronavirus topic, the Globe reports that the MBTA is finalizing a contract for an updated system-wide fare collection system. The cost is almost a billion dollars, which sounds a little high to me. Actually it’s $600 million for the system and another $300 million for ongoing system maintenance for the next few years. Still a lot of money. There was mention in the story about the ability to do surge pricing but nothing about using contactless payment methods like other big city systems do. I hope that’s in the contract.

To make contact tracing work there are a few things that need to be done right. Patrick Howell O’Neill elaborates. Stefan Volk underscores.

Poorly managed blue states? It turns out that Kentucky, Mitch McConnell’s home state, gets way more net funding from the federal government than those blue states do -and a lot more than it contributes.

And, I used to hate it, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve warmed up to opera. If you’d like an introduction, here are some good selections recommended by a few well known people. And I’ll even add my own, the Strophes prologue from Berlioz’ Romeo and Juliet.

The sounds of silence

Wednesday. Mid-week stretch. And it’s Earth Day.

A lot of people are growing pandemic beards. Probably not a good idea, say medical experts.

This summer’s concert season is a bust. Lots of tour cancellations. I’m watching for word about our local music festival, Levitate. Nothing solid yet on a cancellation but I can’t imagine it will go forward as scheduled in early July. At best it may have to be postponed.

Governor Baker describes where we are in Massachusetts with the coronavirus by using football terms. We’re ahead… but the game isn’t over yet. It’s only the third or fourth quarter. And around here we know it isn’t over until it’s over, right?

Speaking of that, there’s this. The Gronk show is picked up for another season.

Photojournalists are out there covering the news. There’s no working from home for them.

And if you want to get people to stop smoking, send in the smoking kids.