Kodak announced today that it is sell­ing its East­man Gela­tine plant in Peabody, Mass. Could this be the begin­ning of a big sell-off?

At the time of a fan­tas­tic 1999 Wall Street Jour­nal arti­cle (which I can now find online only here), East­man was pro­cess­ing 80 mil­lion pounds of bovine skele­tal remains a year to keep up with the world demand for pho­to­graph­ic film. (And sell­ing the rejects to make Jell-O, which appar­ent­ly does not neces­si­tate the same lev­el of puri­ty as the pho­to indus­try.)

December 22, 2011 May 15, 2012 in-the-news by Scott No Comments

I try my best to ignore elec­tion-relat­ed news cov­er­age in non-elec­tion years such as this one. It’s dis­tract­ing and coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. But it can be hard to tune out—especially when the list of appar­ent­ly viable con­tenders for the Repub­li­can tick­et include such, um, bril­liant minds as Her­man Cain and Michelle Bach­man.

There are two phe­nom­e­na at play that I have trou­ble under­stand­ing. First, who would ral­ly behind a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date that lacks a top-notch knowl­edge of law, pol­i­cy­mak­ing, for­eign pol­i­cy issues, and eco­nom­ics? (Isn’t this sup­posed to be the hard­est job in the world?) Sec­ond­ly, why does the Repub­li­can vet­ting sys­tem seem to revolve around pub­licly ques­tion­ing the can­di­dates on whether they are con­ser­v­a­tive enough? (Can there be no room for com­pro­mise in a func­tion­ing two-par­ty sys­tem?)

For­tu­nate­ly, some­one has writ­ten a fun­ny and inter­est­ing essay explor­ing both top­ics: “Why Repub­li­cans Embrace Sim­ple­tons and How it Hurts Amer­i­ca.”

December 4, 2011 December 4, 2011 politics by Scott No Comments

Peaks Island

Spent the week after Am and Paul’s July wed­ding “on island time” in Maine. Pho­tos are here!

December 4, 2011 December 4, 2011 photos by Scott 2 Comments

Andy Rooney died today. I’ve always felt a strange sort of con­nec­tion with the guy. In my TV-watch­ing days, I would reg­u­lar­ly tune in for his 60 Min­utes com­men­tary. I have read most of his books.

The pop­u­lar opin­ion has pro­nounced him the arche­type of the grumpy old man, but those who look more care­ful­ly will find that his voice—his writer’s voice, that is—was some­thing quite dif­fer­ent. Rooney was a keen observ­er of the world around him. He wasn’t just cur­mud­geon­ly in his pieces—he was inci­sive and wit­ty and clever. He was also a seri­ous wood­work­er with a deep appre­ci­a­tion for crafts­man­ship.

His best book, My War, is one of my favorites. It offers a deeply per­son­al and com­plete­ly fresh per­spec­tive of life in World War II. Go out and read it!

November 5, 2011 November 5, 2011 in-the-news by Scott No Comments

F told me about a new protest tech­nique hatched by the Occu­py Wall Street types: using the pre-paid return evel­opes enclosed with cred­it card offers to send mes­sages back to big banks. I have decid­ed to do this, although I har­bor no illu­sions of chang­ing the finan­cial sys­tem. My dream: a mail­box with few­er cred­it card offers in it.

If I can help to keep the US Postal Ser­vice sol­vent on some­one else’s dime, that’s not a bad out­come either.

November 5, 2011 May 15, 2012 politics by Scott 1 Comment

Well, as far as urban Boston was con­cerned: so much for the hur­ri­cane. It sure was fun to head out to the beach and watch the kitesurfers though.

I’m sit­ting at a fac­to­ry in Chi­na, wait­ing for some boards to come off the pro­duc­tion line. Due to the defi­cien­cy of the elec­tric grid here, this region is hav­ing a pow­er-sav­ing day. Because they get only 24 hours of notice from the elec­tric author­i­ties, busi­ness has to pro­ceed nor­mal­ly. So air con­di­tion­ing has been cut back to a min­i­mum to allow the entire cam­pus to be pow­ered from diesel gen­er­a­tors. This place is not a sweatshop—but it sure feels like it in these hall­ways!

September 2, 2011 September 2, 2011 travel by Scott 1 Comment

Here in Boston, we’re anx­ious­ly await­ing Hur­ri­canemaged­don 2011! So far everything—the air­port, the sub­way ser­vice, malls, movie the­atres, and restaurants—have announced their inten­tion to shut down on Sun­day. Par­ty on!

August 27, 2011 August 27, 2011 weather by Scott No Comments

And you thought this site was dead!

Sum­mer has been busy with Am’s wed­ding week in Maine and lots and lots of work. Final­ly, time for a week in France! When I return: some new pho­tos, and per­haps some more blog­ging.

July 31, 2011 July 31, 2011 travel by Scott 1 Comment