Friday, June 12, 2020

Notes and things from the Covid crisis and George Floyd protests, March 12 to June 12


The Bakery begins offering free food to anyone who is food insecure.

We will be smart, we will be vigilant, but we will not be cowed by this.

Social distance is pushing us apart perhaps to bring us together.

The Bakery begins offering curbside service.

well today was the day everyone officially lost their job.

I'm thankful that we have work.

Bluebird Meadows starts the delivery model:


We move to carry-out and call-ahead and order-ahead only.

We begin offering emergency cash loans and emergency food for our employees that need it.

Suddenly the working poor has a face and it is essential workers like my staff, food industry workers, servers, and bartenders.



Driving into the bakery this morning, I feel I can see a vision of the light at the end of this tunnel. We are going to be so happy and grateful to get back to the mundane parts of living, the traffic, work, school, living in an open society that aspires to (and sometimes achieves) equity, equality, and justice.

Dave Chang on Covid:

"We have to open the pocketbook of the United States Treasury and spend whatever we need to in order to put a proper public-health response in place at once. The cost of such an effort—perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars nationally—is small compared with the costs of hunkering down, waiting, and hoping for a miracle to happen." - Jim Kim


This is the new normal.



In just a week, our whole world has been flipped upside down   The fear, blame, and guilt surrounding the coronavirus is intense.  When you look to countries like s Korea, I wonder how we fell so far behind, why our implementations look so sluggish by comparison.   

Trump hopes to reopen the economy and churches "by Easter":

Service workers are on the front lines:

Stay at home order goes into effect for Durham


Don't let the Bakery go dark (pics by SM):

We begin offering free lunch and bread for laid off service workers.

Stay at home order goes into effect for North Carolina.

It gets real for restaurant owners:


The NY Covid doctor:



whether doubling every 3 days or every 6, exponential growth is still crippling:

Shame on us:

I don't have any appetite, and when i do, I want to eat slightly off (slightly rotten) things that will make me a little nauseous so that i don't have to stop and eat anything.

The top story on CNN was how to sew your own mask.

Ironically, Covid is a virus built on stratification. The first people to transmit and fall victim to Covid and transmit it internationally were the folks that have the income to travel by plane regionally and internationally: NBA stars, movie stars, health ministry officials, international soccer players and coaches, for example. The next tier of people to get it were those bourgeois who fly in planes, go to bars, restaurants, clubs, concerts.  A lack of discretionary income to be in places where people gather for leisure meant that the poor and the working class, the 3rd world, were both the last to get it, and also the least prepared to perform behaviors like social distancing or to get adequate health care or health information. At Wholefoods, only 25 people at a time can be in the store. At Compare Foods, there are no limits and people confusedly negotiate and ignore the blue taped Xes on the ground near checkout meant to indicate appropriate social distance.

Dave Chang and Corey lee talk about the the future of restaurants.

Food banks are overrun by the poor and the newly unemployed.

Andrew Ullom of Union Special call it like he sees it:

Bakeries in France continue to produce:

The virus hits South America:

A Zabar's counterman tells his story:

Workers are too poor to stop working; the straification of social isolation:

I bought chickens on sale at a local supermarket for Passover; they were 5 chickens for $5. Something is very very wrong with factory farming that it could be so cheap. I couldn't eat everything and a good bit of the soup I made rotted and had to be pitched. It felt like a Passover sacrifice of sufficient guilt as I tossed the soup.


A restaurant tries to operate amid a general shutdown:

Tragic theme song of the covid.


Rampant inequities in stimulus funding is typical:
The loans are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, an approach that has favored businesses that have existing relationships with lenders and the resources to navigate the government application process.

I want to figure out what to do in the next two weeks. I’d rather rely on myself and my team to feed people and do what we do creatively than rely on lawyers and Congress.

Where are the contact tracers in North Carolina? This is not rocket science.

And then there is that time we delivered wine.

Disparities are stark in Africa:


Food insecurity ravages the globe:

New tees

our president is mentally unsound.  or maybe he's never cleaned anything himself in his life. i suppose it is something to be so rich as to be a grown ass man and never touched a bottle of clorox.

I feel like with all the pivots and changes I've been opening a new restaurant every week for the last five weeks.

Gabrielle Hamilton details the closing of her venerated restaurant, Prune. She describes the luxury of so many restaurants saturated into such a small geographic footprint:

there is very little guidance on gloves and masks for restaurants, says Dave Chang. people do not have enough to rewash cloth masks every night. if you don't rewash, it's like putting on dirty underwear. if you spray with santizer, it's like breathing in bleach. where is the guidance for restaurants, keeping staff and customers safe? Who is doing this?

At the Food Lion where I shop, they ran out of gloves for the cashiers. About half of the customers were not wearing masks. They did have disinfectant wipes at the entrance.

Eddie Huang on Taipei, Taiwan, and taking Codeine to get through Covid: "If I am a go out, I’m a go out with the mango Fanta"

A call for help in Durham:

The Latinx community is the hardest hit, and has the least resources:

And then this happened:

“Hi Mom, please send toilet paper.”

Workers have to decide between their health benefits and unemployment money:

Steve Schewel believes we’ll be hugging each other before long?

There are apparently world leaders more ignorant of Covid than Trump:

The Nordic model:

unofficial stages of covid:

suicidal thoughts

the new hookup sitch:

Jim Kim sets us straight:

"I’m never gonna fuckin' leave our goddamn employees this fuckin' exposed ever fuckin' again. At least we’re gonna try to move heaven and earth to make sure that doesn’t happen." - Dave Chang   

When cooks and chefs are doing the work of speaking truth to power (and not politicians or musicians), you know the world has been turned on its head:

Harlem's Seafood Queen:


The day the bars died:

An incalculable loss:


Realization in the last 2 weeks that it really isn’t going away and could last for more than a year without tracing and testing that would result in containment and very low infection counts.   

(As a result of wearing masks,) we have now become a nation of mouth breathers.

This is an unmitigated disaster that states are opening up giving people the impression that they are safe. This "2nd crest of the first wave" could be more deadly now that the virus has infected and taken hold in virtually all communities regardless of class or race.

The question now in the last two weeks is survival, even for established businesses, not just a hit to owners' bottom lines.

We did the social distancing thing, and the masks, and the infection rate went down, or flattened somewhat, but we never made the community-wide investment in testing and tracing like Asian countries did to bring infections down to near zero. Because the pathogen is so easily communicable, without going that final mile, Covid is sure to hang around for months, or years until we devise a public health plan to sweep it out entirely. Our community health, and our economy hangs in the balance.

What began as a virus affecting Tom Hanks and international soccer players has worked it way down the socioeconomic ladder to those with the least resources, infomation, and ability to stay home:

Small Business Covid Recovery Rountable:

Protest, looting and vandalism scar Raleigh.

Downtown business owners sit all night in front of their businesses with baseball bats to protect their property.

Ppl are scared. George Floyd protests erupt across the nation, setting a flame to a tinderbox.

What can you do to re-distribute your privilege today, this week, this month, this year?

As The magnolias bloom, our nation is set on fire and ordinary families are left reeling.

The Bible Photo Op:

With a defund the police protest scheduled for the evening, Downtown business owners begin boarding up.

That Trump walks free while this child died is abominable to me:

Protest at DPD, 10pm

Last night I marshaled at the George Floyd protests in Durham.  Many businesses have boarded up their windows. We took all our furniture inside but didn't board up. The protest ended up being peaceful, with the exception of some graffiti on storefronts and on the Durham Police headquarters.

Boarding up continues among almost businesses in the Five Points area.  NSB does not board up. It seems business owners take cues from each other and no one was to be the last one exposed to vandalism.

My hot take:

It burns my heart to say this, but it strikes me as hypocritical that the companies that are sending out #blacklivesmatter spam to their listservs and grams are the same ones that are boarding up their businesses. Poverty in Durham didn't start with George Floyd. If we cared more about solving endemic poverty, especially child poverty in Durham, we would not have built all those shitty condos. Perhaps before an axe-throwing bar, we would have invested more in our schools, or in bi-lingual education or all-access health care. The forces of capitalism run deep, and corrupt even the most diligent progressives. As fucked up as it is, I hope this time can change some people to begin to listen, to learn that silence is a deadly weapon, and that community investment shouldn't be about dollars, it should be about humans.

Where Trump ran his 2016 campaign on a Great Wall with Mexico, now he has fenced himself in at the White House. His insular world of scapegoating and hate will be over before we know it, and we will be left to pick up the pieces.

Whither global leadership?

Y2K didn't kill us, and the 2012 Mayan Doomsday didn't kill us, but Covid and George Floyd might just send the world into tatters.

We are allowed to do dine-in service. Still doing takeout only as infections and hospitalizations are on the rise in NC. We may open up the patio at some point depending on how safe it feels. With Downtown closed for business and beneath board (except for us), it seems like an opportunity to have a conversation about Downtown public space, car restrictions, etc.

For a moment there, it felt like all white people and businesses were trying to "out-woke" each other like it was a competition.

Dave Chang on kids to parents everywhere: "Do you ever want to see me again? Take out your checkbooks and write a fucking giant fucking donation to this charity or that charity or this organization. Whether you believe it or not, you’re going to feel it, in the pocketbook." 

I finally brought myself to watch the full George flood video. It is one of those things that once you watch, you will never unwatch. When he calls out "mama" pinned down by both his neck and his chest, it was too horrible to even conceive of. All of us have called out in pain at one point maybe for our family, our friends, our partner, our child. All of us are inside that desperate scream, anyone can relate to that pain that was silenced. RIP George Floyd.

Black Lives Matter Plaza:

"More than 2,000 people in #Durham County have tested positive for #COVID19 and 71% are Hispanic or Latinx."

Rapoport is out at Bon Appetit:

Dave Chang pods with Paul Carmichael:

Van Nolintha at Bhavana is cancelled:

Vernetta Alston speaks via zoom to the Housing for New Hope Coffee and Conversation Benefit. We supply the stencilled loaves (with HNH logo). Vernetta brought up the city's failures at MacDougald Terrace, lest we forget that housing shambles that erupted before Covid struck.

Jeffrey Billman outed as EIC at Indyweek over Brewery Bhavana scandal.

New tees

The blood of tens of thousands of Americans is on your hands, Mr Trump.

Dave Chapelle lays it on the line:


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