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