The privilege of incumbency

A cool, cloudy early July Saturday. Today’s word is inimical.

Is it hurricane season already? Apparently it is. Say hello to Elsa.

Acting Mayor and candidate Kim Janey is taking full advantage of the position she was put into. At least one of the other candidate isn’t very happy with that.

There’s been another supply-chain ransomware attack. This one targeted Kaseya’s VSA. Seems to be pretty widespread. Meanwhile, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has released a new ransomware assessment module for its Cyber Security Assessment Tool. Or, in federal speak, CISA has released RRA to supplement CSET to help organizations protect IT, OT, or ICS assets. I can’t imagine why people find this stuff confusing.

Shakespeare in the Park (Central) is coming back. But one of my favorite parts of the experience, getting a coffee and waiting in on line for tickets on the morning of the show, has been scrapped. That’s too bad.

And after 20 years, the US military is finally out of Afghanistan. We left a lot of stuff behind, including a bunch of abandoned Pokemon GO characters, now left to wander aimlessly around the Bagram Air Base.

Vox populi

Thursday, July 1st. It must be summer.

The City Council finally passed the budgetyesterday afternoon. It takes effect today. That was close. Lydia Edwards had the best line going into the process. “I think this budget will pass—like a kidney stone.”

Joan Vennochi looked a little deeper at that Globe/Suffolk poll. The Globe has been pillorying the police department and Marty Walsh but voters still like Walsh and approve of the job police are doing. That’s not to say that there wasn’t a mishandling of the commissioner transition or that there weren’t serious incidents of corruption in the department over the last decade. But as voters seem to understand, it’s a matter of proportion. Of all the issues on voters minds, the poll shows that police reform is at the very bottom. As Vennochi puts it, “These poll results […] may also say something about the media not seeing the political forest for the scandalous trees.”

After an international manhunt they finally nabbed the Tour de France sign holder. They should give her a very stern talking to.

There were some crazy clouds last evening as the heat wave broke. Of course John Tlumacki captured an amazing image. Speaking of Tlumacki and heat waves, check this great image from 1985 with a recounting of how he caught it.

And Fortune favors the online fortune tellers. I have to assume that they saw this coming.

Survey SAYS

Happy Wednesday. A birthday for Mike Tyson and Dave Van Ronk.

It’s hot. It’s too hot. Another record breaking day. There may be some big thunderstorms this afternoon as well.

A majority of likely voters of all races think the police in Boston are doing a good job. The Globe and Suffolk University commissioned the survey. Faced with the results, the Globe questioned the methodology of its own poll and downplayed the implications. Sounds like some serious cognitive dissonance going on there.

There’s a narrative going around that resturants can’t get help because government stimulus checks are disincentivizing workers, not because employers were offering too little in wages. Missouri decided to remove the disincentive to see if that would bring workers back. So far it hasn’t.

In this recorded call, JFK was a little angry with the General. Send that furniture back to Jordan Marsh!

And since Trump left office, web traffic and general viewership is down for both right and left leaning media. Twitter is probably having a slump as well. It’s bad news for media bean counters but I’ll take the peace and quiet any day. Totally worth it.

Too hot to handle

Tuesday. A chance to restart the week.

The NWS is forecasting a ‘Max Apparent Temperature’ of 101 on the south shore today. That’s hot. You can always use a bucket of cold water to cool off.

ArtNews reported that a Picasso, stolen almost a decade ago in Athens, might still be in the country. It was cut out of its frame in a heist at the National Art Gallery. Sources said the painting went on the black market but it was too high profile for underworld buyers. Then, yesterday, police recovered it from a crypt in a Greek town. Good ending. Makes you wonder if those Gardner paintings will ever turn up.

The 41 year-old owner of a billion dollars worth of bitcoin drowned in Costa Rica. If he has a will – and has provided a password to his wallet – someone will get the coin. If not, it just ceases to exist, except in the ledger.

The New York Times features the recipe for Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins. Just looking at the photo brings back memories of how good they tasted.

And Facebook is worth a trillion dollars after this Supreme Court decision. What is it again that they sell? Oh, that’s right.

Generation gap

It’s Superbowl Sunday.

A local filmmaker is doing a documentary on our free-range turkeys. Pass the cranberry sauce.

Well, today is the day that Tom Brady gets to prove himself – again. The old, established QB is being challenged by a talented young upstart. It seems like only yesterday that Tom was that upstart.

Naturally produced antibodies may not be enough protection from mutated versions of the coronavirus. But the vaccines, so far, still seem to be effective.

The great bucatini crisis of 2020 is over. It should be coming back to supermarket shelves. The head of pasta company De Cecco breaks his silence on what happened. He doesn’t want to name names but he does say, “It’s always a good thing to know who your enemies are.”

And here’s another entry into the record books for 2020: A lot less lightening.

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.

Good cheap fast

It’s a stormy Monday. February is upon us. But not for long, happily.

Sawing someone in half is still one of the most popular tricks a magician can do, even after a century of performances. I don’t know how it’s done and I don’t want to know.

The software developed for the CDC by Deloitte to schedule vaccinations seems to have a problem or two. A no-bid $40 million contract to a consultant with a spotty history to develop a large-scale, critical system in the midst of a pandemic. Who could have seen this fail coming? Usually on a project like this you get to choose two out of three: Good, cheap or fast. All we got was fast. And it wasn’t all that fast. One more example of the problems with government software projects.

A Kansas City Chiefs’ lineman with a medical degree opted out of the season because of the coronavirus. Instead of playing he worked on a hospital ward caring for covid patients. Now his team is going to the SuperBowl. Should he get a ring if they win on Sunday? It would be nice if he did.

Leica lenses are not cheap but their value ages well. If you bought a Noctilux for $1200 thirty five years ago you could sell it today for about the same price, if not much more. In fact, that old design is being refreshed by the company and is now selling new for $7,695! A little too rich for my blood, though.

And on a day expected to bring a few, here is a very nice photo of a snowflake.

All things to all people

Tuesday. Who could hang a name on you.

Good for Bill Belichick.

Michael Jonas explores the pros and (mostly) cons of a Willie Gross run for mayor. But I wouldn’t underestimate his advantages. A sometimes conservative police chief with high name recognition and deep roots in the Black community, Gross could be in a unique position to pick off voters from across the spectrum.

The Consumer Electronics Show is virtual this year, as expected. Here’s coverage by Cnet, The Verge and the WaPo.

Texas and Louisiana are blanketed in snow. Madrid is digging out from almost two feet. And in Boston? Bare ground and no snow in sight. This is my kind of winter.

And don’t forget to buy those lottery tickets this week. Big money!


It’s a Tuesday in winter. But spring is just around the corner.

Those old, Flash-based National Weather Service weather radar displays were frustratingly archaic. But at least they worked.

Tighter restrictions are coming to Ireland as bars and restaurants will be shuttered on Christmas Eve. It’s thought that the British mutation has already made its way there.

Peter Jackson and his crew did an amazing job with old bits of World War One footage, restoring and weaving them into a well researched, moving film. Now he’s been let loose in the vault for The Beatles’ Get Back movie project where there’s more than 60 hours of previously unseen film. The virus has slowed things down but work is picking back up. In the meantime, Jackson has released a sneak peak.

There’s more talk about an Apple car. This report says it may come within five years. Let’s just say I’m dubious.

And it turns out that dead people did vote in the election. For Trump.

Imagine that

Today is Wednesday. 343 days down and 22 days to go.

The online Christmas shopping season is in full tilt. Payment transactions are what allows it to happen. Here’s how they work.

40 years ago last evening, Howard Cosell had some news he wanted to get out during a Patriots-Dolphins game. He didn’t want to intrude on the the game but Frank Gifford pushed him to break in. And he did. “An unspeakable tragedy, confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous perhaps of all of the Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival.” A sad night.

A million here, a million there. $234 million for a high school tells me that things are going well in the town of Arlington.

Everyone has a favorite weather forecaster. John Wolfson likes Dave Epstein. My guy is Mike Wankum, a fellow South Shore resident. Shelby Scott was great in her time getting blasted by waves on the seawall in Situate. And then there’s Stu Soroka. He was the underground weatherman on WBCN before moving to one of the Boston television stations. He lived somewhere along the water in Marshfield in the 70’s. It was cool to see him on TV. Local hippie makes good.

And the chief scientist in charge of Operation Warp Speed, the administrations’s effort to facilitate vaccine development, has no idea what the president’s Warp Speed executive order is about. “Frankly, I don’t know, and frankly, I’m staying out of this. I can’t comment, I literally don’t know.” OK, then.