Full of holes

Good morning. It’s Wednesday. The day the music died.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow yesterday so I wouldn’t put away that winter gear quite yet.

Valentine’s Day is coming and that means heart-shaped doughnuts. The most popular doughnut in Massachusetts, according to an analysis of google search results, is the chocolate frosted. But after dinner another favorite rules. I wonder why no one has invented a strawberry shortcake doughnut.

Residents are reporting problems in those new super tall and thin residential skyscrapers in New York. Pipes are leaking, walls are creaking and elevators are stuck. Who says you can never be too tall or thin?

Our own Tom Brady is becoming a mythical character. (We’ll see just how mythical on Sunday.)

And a couple of years ago people were actually complaining that there were too many quality TV shows to watch. The pandemic took care of that. Peak TV is now trough TV. But we do have more episodes of City on a Hill to look forward to.

Let the meter run

Good day, Saturday. The word of the day is grandiloquence.

If you have an Apple TV you already know how bad the remote is. It’s a disaster. Now cable companies, who are also notorious for bad remotes, are offering a slightly better one for the Apple TV. Or, you can do as I did, and just get one of these.

How much of a surcharge should the state tack onto Uber and Lift fares and who should bear the brunt, the rider or the ride-share service? Flat fee or structured? And really, is this the right time to be adding surcharges to a struggling industry? Adam Vaccaro reports that the Legislature and the Governor are all over the map on these questions.

Bus maintenance costs at the MBTA are more than double the national average. So before cutting service, the T should look hard at cutting operating costs. Charles Chieppo and Jim Stergios make the argument in Commonwealth Magazine.

Bill de Blasio’s reviews as mayor of New York are, at best, mixed. With contenders lining up to replace him, the Times notes that, “Several candidates have worked in the de Blasio administration, yet the mayor’s residual unpopularity has given rise to an unusual trend: Most mayoral hopefuls are not necessarily running to the left or right of him, but just far, far away.” Smart.

And this commercial will make you feel GREAT! Also, a little disturbed. (From Turnpike Films.)

Stuck in the middle

It’s Wednesday, Nov 18. The day, in 1978, when the Kool-Aid came out.

It’s that time again. Here are the worst popular passwords of 2020.

The landlord at Quincy Market, Ashkenazy, was over two million dollars behind in payments to the city and had been given notice to pack up and leave. Coleman Herman reports that they’ve paid up and the city is dialing back the threat. But the landlord is still not collecting rent from hard-hit merchants and hasn’t done so since April when the pandemic hit. So something still has to give.

It really is disappointing that free or low-cost testing is not more readily available in Massachusetts at this point. The Governor blames federal constraints but this is a failure all around.

Ryan Bray writes about Roxbury’s own Apache Studios, a hole in the wall on Norfolk Street that helped define the sound of 1980’s.

And speaking of the 80’s, remember this classic update to Who’s On First courtesy of Frank Drebin? “Who fired twice? Once.”

One big nothing burger

Friday arrives. 18 days until the election. Libra clashes with Jupiter.

Curb your Enthusiasm is 20 years old this week. Pretty, pretty good.

It was billed in May as the ‘Greatest political crime in the history of our country.’ But, as it turned out, it wasn’t. But never mind. Americans have a short memory when it comes to bullshit. So how about something more recent like last night’s town meeting? The FBI says QAnon is a terrorist group. But the president, who the FBI reports to and who gets briefed by the FBI, said last night that he knows nothing about them and won’t condemn the group. Ouch. I think I’ve strained my credulity.

One doctor thinks trick or treating is safe. Let the kids have their candy, he says. They’ve had a tough year. I couldn’t agree more.

We knew it was coming but it’s still going to be confusing. MassDOT is beginning to re-number the highway exits to comply with federal milepost numbering standards.

And local morning news anchor Alaina Pinto lost her job because of a cameo as a newscaster in the new Adam Sandler movie. Things might have turned out better if she was able to plug her employer in the movie. But the fictional channel she appeared on was different from the one she worked at.

Lights, camera… action

It’s Monday. Columbus Day.

Michael O’Sullivan thinks Robert De Niro has gone from a raging bull to an aging tool. I guess he must need the money.

Danny McDonald reviews Marty Walsh’s ‘nonrhotic‘ performance in Frederick Wiseman’s four and a half hour documentary on City Hall. Sounds like it would have made a great Netflix series if it had been broken into shorter segments. But I can’t wait to see it.

Veena Dharmaraj and Staci Rubin make the case for more public investment in electric car charging stations in Massachusetts. And speaking of electric cars, a vehicle engineering revolution is underway. Think big skateboard.

75 year old Ian Gillan, lead singer for Deep Purple, is still touring. He estimates that he’s sung ‘Smoke on the Water,’ 2500 times. That sounds low to me. I’ve probably heard it on the radio more times than that.

And a sitcom character walked into a bar. Right away they knew her name.

The next chapter

It’s Thursday, September 3rd. There will be no cake for Whitey Bulger today.

Pour one out for the Pour House, another Covid-related restaurant loss.

Dr. Facui is warning that case numbers are higher than he thinks they should be going into the Labor Day weekend. But his opinion doesn’t seem to have the weight it once did for the White House. The Times breaks down two potential vaccines that could soon be available and how they might be distributed. The Post looks at whether the FDA should use its emergency powers to speed up the process and history warns us why that might be a bad idea.

The President wants you to vote early and often. Literally, and presumably for him.

What’s my traffic? Several pilots approaching LAX recently had to contend with a man wearing a jetpack flying alongside them.

And Carole Baskin is going to be a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. Of course she is.

For no apparent reason

Wednesday. Halfway up the ladder of the week. Happy Birthday Billy Preston.

Fargo is back later this month with season 4. Here’s the trailer. Another great cast.

Joan Vennochi is prone to nitpicking our local political leaders but she likes the fact that Charlie Baker activated the National Guard for no apparent reason. Go figure.

Canadians not only have fast internet speeds, they’re also quick witted.

You can buy a circuit board with LEDs that show where MBTA trains are (HT to Reddit). I wouldn’t exactly call it “visually stunning” but it is pretty cool, in a nerdy sort of way. Get yours today.

And a new scientific study has determined that cyclists are better walkers than walkers are.

…but I play one on TV

A very nice Saturday morning. Get out and enjoy.

Here we go again.

In an effort to get to the bottom of a how police officers feel about what’s going on and how they see their role in today’s society, one author went to the source: TV cops. This happened.

Devin Nunes has hit a dead end in the search for his cow.

The pollen this season is unrelenting. You could actually see clouds of it hanging over the South Shore earlier this week.

And a City Council sponsored online forum on the over-the-top fireworks in Boston this year ended with a consensus that fireworks this year in Boston are indeed over-the-top and that someone, somehow, should do something about it.

Knee deep in the big muddy

Whew. Friday. Today is Festival of Popular Delusions Day.

Brooks Brothers is facing tough times. The company is considering closing factories, one of which is located in Massachusetts. It would be a shame if they went under.

In 1968, as the country was bogged down in Vietnam, Walter Cronkite gave his dire assessment of the war effort to the American people on the evening news. Shortly afterward Lyndon Johnson decided not to seek reelection. “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America,” he was reported to have said. No one watches the evening news anymore. But if there is a comparable bell-weather these days it might be The Rock. And it looks like Trump has lost The Rock.

Condoleezza Rice is speaking out.

More on police unions from Ed Davis and Frank Hartmann. Brianne Fitzgerald is a nurse who works with Boston Police and she has some thoughts about the department. Patrick Skinner is a cop in Savannah and he wrote an op-ed describing his version of community policing. A local councillor in Minneapolis wants to abolish the police department in the city. And Alex Vitale, author of The End of Policing, discusses reform, noting that changing how the police operate, and reducing the scope of their responsibilities, will be complex and politically charged.

Qualified immunity is also on the table. People on both / sides of the ideological gap have questioned the legality and fairness of the practice and now the Supreme Court is considering taking a case to address the issue. That would be a game changer.

And even cop shows on TV are a hot-button issue. Reruns of Barney Miller may be just what the country needs.

Complete domination

It’s a nice Wednesday morning. Another sleepy, dusty delta day.

If you like cheese, now is the time to buy from New England cheesemakers. Their sales have been hit hard by the pandemic. France is having the same problem and has declared it a patriotic duty to eat cheese. I’m on board with that.

Policing, and especially using coercive force, requires hard-earned legitimacy and local knowledge. The feds don’t have that, nor does the military. The TSA certainly doesn’t. Chuck Wexler is right, this overuse of federal assets is a recipe for chaos.

In a Globe Ideas piece, a couple of “old guys” with policing experience dating back to the 70’s write about the problems with policing today. And in the Wall Street Journal another op-ed takes the view that there are no problems in policing today. Maybe that’s the problem.

Thomas Friedman is not optimistic that leaders in government can keep the country together and functional through the next election. Everyone seems to have a vested interest in division, except, maybe, business leaders. But not the ones who run social networks. For them, division is where the money is.

And in what might be the last chapter in the Tiger King saga, Carole Baskin has been awarded ownership of Joe Exotic’s zoo. Well, rustle my mullet.