Smooth descent

Today is Saturday. The word of the day is nonchalant.

For Gretchen Whitmer, success is the best revenge.

There were less than 2000 new cases reported yesterday, down from a precipice of almost 30,000 a little over a month ago. Boston is lifting its vaccine mandate. Good news all around.

Space junk is starting to become a real problem.

Mike Allen reports on more calls for Democrats to shift towards the center to forestall a potential Republican sweep. If it’s not too late.

And although it was 60 degrees this week, we’re in high winter. Matt Dinan reflects on the season and Jessica Wapner searches for strategies to stay warm, or even hibernate through to spring.

Paying the bills

Monday morning. The Superbowl is over. Spring is on the horizon.

Yesterday was a very snowy day. It was unexpected. Dave Epstein admits he got the forecast wrong. And that’s why he loves meteorology.

The game was way better than the commercials. As Maura Judkis and Sonia Rao write, this was a collection of ads pandering to millennials, who are now old enough for that honor. The references ran from The Cable Guy to The Sopranos. There was a floating QR code for Coinbase. Lots of big money celebrity cameos from the likes of Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Lindsay Lohan. And the obligatory Alexa as Hal commercial from Amazon. Overall they all seemed to try just a little too hard. But, of course, that’s coming from someone not in the target demo.

Michael Lopp on remote work. This is one of the best things I’ve read recently.

Anne Applebaum channels Churchill in writing about how to deal with Stalin Putin.

And on this Valentines Day, nothing says ‘I love you’ like a bottle of meat juice. Especially if you have a deranged stomach.


Sunday. The morning after the Great Moderately Heavy Snow Storm of 2022.

The New York Times instructs us in the proper way to walk in the snow. Just in time.

The Globe has a list of snowfall totals by town. (It would have been nice to have been able to sort it by total, but that’s ok.) Looks like Sharon and Stoughton hit the jackpot with 30 or more inches. Not sure what happened in Hingham, with one station reporting 5 inches while three others logged over 20.

The Boston Yeti made an appearance for the big storm. Or a tweet, at least.

Adam Gaffin wrapped up more than twelve hours of breathless, end of the world, TV news storm coverage. I have to admit, Eric Fisher’s enthusiasm seemed to be waning by about 5 PM.

And at one point in the storm, Cambridge completely disappeared. Hopefully it’ll reappear today.

Reducing the attack surface

Happy Friday. Today’s word is myopic.

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a big storm on the way. Bombogenesis!

It turns out that the federal government’s new zero trust cybersecurity paper is substantive and aggressive in its approach. That’s a good thing, especially as we gear up for conflict with Russia, one of the biggest threats in the space. Sharon Goldberg read the paper and highlights some of the main points.

Despite all the gloom and worry about inflation and supply chain problems the economy is doing pretty well. Neil Irwin: “Personal consumption expenditures rose at a 3.3% annual rate, and spending started to rebalance, with services spending (+4.7%) rising much faster than durable goods spending (+0.5%).” Also, even with supply constraints Apple had one of its best quarters ever.

Licensing Board news: There will be wine in South Bay but no tacos at 4 AM in Allston.

Geoff Diehl might have an opponent in the Republican primary for the governor’s race. Chris Doughty is more Baker-like than Diehl, who channels Trump. It will be interesting to see where the Republican party in Massachusetts stands these days relative to the rest of the country.

And there are some new emojis on the way. Melting face will have its uses.

Collateral damage

Friday has arrived. Seems like it was a long week.

La Niña is back. The forecast is for a cold, snowy winter.

There’s some good news on the Covid-adjacent front: the flu has been squeezed out during the pandemic. Masks, social distancing, etc. have caused some influenza varieties to become extinct, which could make development of the flu shot more effective in the future.

David Zucker writes that comedy is in an dire state and it needs to be resuscitated, hopefully before the 50th anniversary of Airplane!. It’s a few years away but he seems to want to get ahead of it.

According to Dominic Cummings, the UK never intended to abide by the terms of BREXIT regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol. Now, right on schedule

And it looks like police are going on strike in Chicago. I thought that was illegal.

Shuffling the deck

Sunday. Today is the 55th anniversary of the last show of the Beatles final tour.

It’s still August but the Farmer’s Almanac is forecasting a snowy January and a “winter whopper” in late February. Now there’s something to look forward to.

A new poll in the mayor’s race shakes things up a bit. But most people are still undecided.

From today’s Globe: “Police investigating two homicides; city shuts down nightclub from shooting.” Usually when The Boston Globe publishes a headline reading that way, the city it would be referring to would be Boston, right? This one is about Providence, a city in an entirely different state. Baffelling. But that’s OK. The Dorchester Reporter has the Boston news covered.

Kathy Ryan took black and white photos of the covid-abandoned New York Times offices. Beautiful work.

And MSG has gotten a bad rap. It’s a good source of umami and is perfectly safe. Actually it can have health benefits, as it allows you to cut down on salt. I’m in.

One throat to choke

Saturday. A day to drink red wine and eat crackers over your keyboard.

A major Christian organization has fired its spokesman for encouraging people to consider vaccination. In other religion news, Harvard, in a “milestone of inclusion,” has installed an atheist as its head chaplain. Modern America in a nutshell here.

The Globe Editorial Board comes down on the side of an appointed school committee. They’re right on that. In principle, an elected committee seems more sensible for purposes of accountability and representation. But in reality, and historically as the authors point out, that isn’t the way things actually happen. The elected school committee was a disaster in Boston. The best approach is the current one. Let the Mayor be responsible for selecting the committee members and be then be accountable to voters for the results.

Squatting is big business in Barcelona. Removing squatters is also a big business.

Matthew Gilbert goes out on a limb to pick the best episodes of TV series from the 2000s, the heyday of quality television. I agree with most of his picks. I loved that first episode of Lost. But I was wondering why he didn’t pick the final episode of Mad Men – until I realized that it aired in 2015. Duh.

And Hurricane Ida is heading towards New Orleans, expected to make landfall as a Cat 4 on the anniversary of Katrina. Batten down the hatches.

Transparent as mud

Sunday morning. Hurricane Henri rolls in. (Thats on-ree’ for all you French speakers.)

Here’s a little more on that Facebook Transparency report. First, they tried to cherry pick which information to transparently release. Then, after some criticism, they transparently released the original material. What an ‘orrible company.

Gene Weingarten has some incorrect opinions on food. Apparently balsamic vinegar is “the mark of the devil.” The taste of curry “could knock a vulture off a meat wagon” and cooked green peppers “overwhelms everything with its nasty, rancid presence.” On the other hand, he’s absolutely right about more than two toppings on a pizza, hazelnut in coffee and sweet pickles.

One good thing the pandemic brought us was an upgrade in restaurant tech.

And it was supposed to be a big concert featuring Springsteen, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Paul Simon and others. But they only got as far as Barry Manilow. Then came on-ree’ to shut it all down.

When we was fab

Mid-week. It’s Wednesday. Raspberry Bombe Day.

More heat and humidity coming in the next few days. And pretty soon we’ll be complaining about the cold.

Globe headline: “Senate passes Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget in latest win for Biden.” I’m sure there was partisan bickering going on behind the scenes but this kind of ‘our side wins, ha ha‘ coverage is a big reason why politics is so dysfunctional these days. I would have preferred that the Globe frame it as a win for the country. That might make it easier for the opposition to get on board for the common good.

Michael Shellenberger didn’t leave the progressives. The progressives left him.

The fiftieth anniversary remixed version of George Harrison‘s All Things Must Pass has been released. It was his declaration of independence from The Beatles and it still sounds great. I’ve been listening lately to another Harrison solo album, the Jeff Lynne produced Cloud Nine, released in 1987. This one, I think, is Harrison at his post-Beatles best.

And according to Insurance Journal, younger people are stepping away from the driver’s seat. Insurance, car payments, driver’s ed? Why bother… just call an Uber.

Hands out

It’s a beautiful sunny Wednesday.

Discussions about crime in San Francisco are getting nasty.

Now that legislators are holding on to federal stimulus money to disperse as they see fit, they will have to deal with the special interests lining up for their slice of the pie. And they all want a big slice. Meanwhile, the governor has been allocated only about 5% of the money to apply to strategic initiatives like housing. That’s a shame, says the Globe Editorial Board. I agree.

Rank-choice voting has been dealt a setback after election officials in New York screwed up their vote tallying process. The screw up may not have had anything to do with rank choice but the unfortunate association is now in place. Eric Adams is projected to win the primary but a hand count will be required.

The Apple fitness and watch apps track active calories, exercise and standing as the primary health metrics. Steps are not one of the big three. I always wondered about that as I walked in circles in the living room trying to get my 10,000 steps each day. Now, it looks like Apple knew something I didn’t. 10,000 steps is not really that big of a deal.

And Alexandra Petri considers what a Fox weather channel might look like. Dark clouds, indeed.