Lockdown Sucks But Little Things Can Make A Big Difference

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last few months. I’m very adaptable and I can find a silver lining in just about anything. I also learned it takes only a few little tweaks to my daily routine to make life way more fun, interesting, and meaningful.

Three things I will definitely keep doing post-lockdown:
  1. Video chats with friends all over the country. How I’ve not done this before is baffling.
  2. Cooking and eating at home. Dinner parties will definitely be front and center going forward.
  3. Virtual workouts. Over the last two months, I have gotten fitter, stronger, and healthier – all due to the trainers and exercise routines I found online.
scroll down for 10 of this week’s top discoveries, recommendations (and irritations)
1. Daily scheduled FaceTimes

Communicating and socializing and keeping up with friends is crucial for good mental health, and maintaining a positive outlook. A highlight of each and every day for me.

2. Sunday/Fundays at Morgenstern’s (88 W. Houston)
  • My friend, Nick Morgenstern, has reconfigured his flagship ice cream parlor for our socially-distanced present. He has smartly made scoops available from his ice cream cart but you can also order ice cream pies, cakes, and pints for pick-up. And he has a new flavor collaboration with one of my favorite restaurants, Uncle Boons.
  • This past Sunday I met up with Spark Pretty’s Amanda Dolan for ice cream and a much-needed catch-up. It was the most fun day I’ve had in weeks.
  • Morgenstern’s will become my hangout for the summer! Join me!
3. Cocktails with a curator (Fridays at 5:00 pm ET)
  • The Frick has been doing this series of talks since April.
  • I caught it for the first time this past week.
  • Chief Curator, Xavier F. Salomon, hosted the cocktail hour with an in-depth exploration of Turner’s painting, “Harbor of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile.”
  • A complementary cocktail is recommended for each week’s artwork. Last week it was the Widow’s Kiss, a French drink traditionally given to women who had lost their husbands at sea.
  • It’s a brilliant idea and kudos to the Frick and their curators for executing it to perfection. It’s the best online art experience from any of the museums or galleries I’ve checked out so far.
  • I’ll be watching today (May 15) as the Chief Curator discusses Boucher’s “Lady on Her Day Bed.” The recommended cocktail? The French “75.”
4. WATCH THIS documentary about Biosphere 2

Fascinating documentary just released and available for streaming on Vudu among other sites. So many amazing characters connected to this counter-culture commune that somehow got it together to build a $150 million biosphere 2 (the earth being biosphere 1). Eight of the group went into isolation for two years for this environmental experiment back in 1991.

Another documentary I’ve wanted to see but had no luck tracking down is “Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art”

As some of you know I traveled to Utah last year specifically to see Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. I’m a huge fan of these specific land artists. Troublemakers is apparently available on Kanopy but only if you have a library card or if you’re a student, professor, or librarian. Bummer.

5. This week’s best Blinkist read: “make your bed”
  • Make Your Bed (2017) by William McRaven (a retired four-star US Navy SEAL admiral) is a collection of ten of his most valuable personal experiences during his 37 years of service.
  • Each is a simple yet priceless piece of advice that will have a positive influence on your life. Highly recommend.
6. The Coronavirus Economy: It’s booming
I’m starting to spend money again – and it feels good!

Since this whole thing went down in late March, I’ve only shopped for food. But now, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve “splurged” on Morgenstern’s ice cream pie ($52), movie rentals, the NY Times online crossword, and most indulgent of all, $35 for a tube of KERA-42 footcare cream!

Here are some of the categories seeing a major coronavirus spike:
  • Pajama sales up 143% (Source: Adobe’s Digital Economy Index)
  • Plexiglass sales are booming with many manufacturers running 4 shifts around the clock. Plexiglass retailers report sales up over 200%. (Source: Marker)
  • Global vitamin C market expected to grow 63% to US$1.6 billion in 2025 from 2018. In Hong Kong, vitamin C first-quarter sales jumped 40-fold. (Source: ResearchAndMarkets)
  • Vitamin D? Keep an eye on this – lots of “studies” linking vitamin D to a low coronavirus death rate. (Source: MedicalXpress)
  • Instacart turned a profit for the first time with sales in April up 450% over December 2019. They’re hiring an additional 250,0000 shoppers over the next two months in the US and Canada. (Source: TechCrunch)
  • Fitness Equipment sales up 170% (Source: ResearchAndMarkets)
but e-commerce is key, don’t get left behind.

“Everyone now has a 2020 quality software in a basically 2030 world. Everyone’s software just got 10 years worse, given the requirements and the needs of customers.

Tobi Lutke, Shopify CEO (Source: NewsInfoPark)
7. Follow Prodriverdale on Instagram

Want to know more about the supply chain and how food gets to your local grocery store? Especially during the pandemic? I suggest you follow Iowan trucker, Dale Ricks, as he drives his big rig from coast-to-coast. Great insights on how our food makes it from there to here.

Plus, he has an amazing new Peterbilt custom truck. It’s pimped out like no other and truck drivers all over the country are posting about him when they spot him “left-laning” it around the country. He also has an interesting playlist – seems to be big on Post Malone at the moment. And his hashtags provide a great insight into trucker life and life in America as we deal with this pandemic. A few of my favorites: #producepimpin, #supplychain, #largecarsmafia #essential

But I’m not the only one fascinated by the trucker life.

Photojournalist Sean Smith just did an amazing photo series for the Guardian of his travels with long-haul drivers delivering essential goods during the UK lockdown. Check it out here.

8. Sweden Update

Not much new to report. However, I have noticed that an unseemly number of reporters from lockdown countries can’t wait for Sweden to fail. But they may be out of luck. We’re increasingly hearing that the virus will be with us for years which makes the decision to remain shut down until “there’s a cure,” a less viable option.

Lockdowns are simply not sustainable for the amount of time that it will likely take to develop a vaccine. Letting up will reduce economic, social, and political pressures. It may also allow populations to build an immunity that will end up being the least bad way of fighting COVID-19 in the long run.

As the pain of national lockdowns grows intolerable and countries realize that managing—rather than defeating—the pandemic is the only realistic option, more and more of them will begin to open up.

Foreign Affairs May/June 2020

The jury is still out but the Swedish approach may yet turn out to be the most sustainable. Especially when we are now being told the virus will be with us for the foreseeable future and we can’t just “flatten” our way out of it.

9. Facts and Stats from Montreal: the latest COViD hot spot

Montreal has 20,000 cases and more than 2,000 deaths. It ranks as the seventh deadliest place in the world for daily coronavirus deaths. (Source: The Guardian)

  • 82% of the dead lived in seniors’ residences.
  • Of the total 2,003 dead in Montreal, 74% of them were over 80; 97% of them were over 60.
10. CORONA RANT: When did “flattening the curve” turn into finding the cure?

After I saw this headline (below) of Garcetti’s shocking GMA interview on Wednesday morning, and after listening to one too many of Cuomo’s pressers, I’m over it. I refuse to be kept in lockdown “until there’s a cure”.

I stand with Dave Portnoy:

BEWARE: Do not listen to this if you get easily offended by salty language OR if you firmly believe in staying the course – no matter what – until there is a cure. Otherwise, give it a listen.

Bottom Line.

Expect a shift in strategy. Within the next month, as more people lose their jobs and as city and state coffers run dry, look for a shift in tone and direction. Governors and mayors will increasingly shift to a “we have to learn to live with this virus” position.

LA’s mayor already changed his tune after that calamitous “never open” GMA interview:

“I think we have to all recognize that we’re not moving beyond COVID-19, we’re learning to live with it.”

L.A. Mayor Garcetti – Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Have a good weekend everyone!

And maybe I’ll see some of you at the ice cream parlor – the weather is going to be good this weekend.

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